This year marks the end of a CEDIA era, with Don Gilpin, its COO and executive director, stepping down as the organisation’s leader after 17 years of service that have seen CEDIA EXPO grow to be a top 100 tradeshow in America.
“When I look back to the first ISE in Geneva, when some three and a half thousand visitors showed up and we wondered if they’d all come back the following year, it all seems somewhat surreal,” smiled Gilpin. “To have seen the show grow as it has done – starting from scratch in Europe – has been one of the most satisfying parts of my career in the industry. And then I think of the number of people we’ve helped educate: it has truly been an amazing journey.”
“Even better, ISE has succeeded and prospered despite the global economy, bucking the trend,” he continued. “And I see that growth continuing – I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in double digits in the coming years.”
Gilpin and executive director Wendy Griffiths take great pride in how CEDIA membership has continued to grow, with over 600 new members added in 2014 in the Americas alone – a record number, according to Gilpin – while EMEA members now come from 41 different countries.
The official date for Gilpin’s departure from CEDIA is 31 December: so, what does he hope to achieve between now and then?
“My personal goal is that we’ll uncover a large number of excellent candidates who can give CEDIA what it deserves,” said Gilpin. “What CEDIA has given to me, I’d like to give back – and I feel I can do that by helping to ensure that the transition to my successor is smooth and flawless.”
Whoever is chosen to follow in Gilpin’s footsteps will have a hard act to follow.