This includes the decision to make both Kevin McLoughlin and Deborah Jones Directors of the group and getting volunteers in each location to form local 'steering committees', some of whom would then also participate on a non Exec board to work with Ellis, McLoughlin and Jones on strategy and governance.
These volunteer roles are for a 2-3 year tenure, although some of the first committee members may be asked to serve longer to create some overlap so completely new committees don't need to be put together every 2-3 years.
See new structure below:
AV User Group Board
Owen Ellis - Chairman/CEO
Kevin McLoughlin - Director
Deborah Jones - Director
London Steering Committee
Gary Keene - Google (non Exec Board representative)
Dave Patten - Science Museum
Stuart Mitchell - European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts
Jason King - WeWork
Duncan Gunn-Russell - Harper Adams University
New York Steering Committee
Mike Janis - Met Life (non Exec Board representative)
Haydn Miller - Aetna
Erich Baker - JP Morgan Chase
John Hoyt - BlackRock
John O'Brien - Montclair State University
Hong Kong Steering Committee
Marc Elliott - JP Morgan Chase (non Exec Board representative)
Wilson Kwok - University of Hong Kong
CW Yuen - HK Academy for Performing Arts
Ben Goldsworthy - Wynn Palace Macau
Ellis become the AV User Group's first full time paid employee in November of last year, having held the position since 2010 on a voluntary basis.
The latest changes mark a new wave in the group's evolution under Ellis. Under his leadership the AVUG has evolved from being little more than a (with respect) social club for the AV community, to a now professionally managed, structured and highly respected professional international organisation with four meetings hosted each year in each of its territories.
Each meeting would (and does) include sponsorship opportunities for AV manufacturers – with each paying for a 40-minute slot to stand up and speak/present to members. Typically, meetings include three sessions, with two or three presentations in each.
Growth has been exponential, with membership numbers have risen significantly, up from 70 in 2010 to more than 700 today. Notably, 300 of those members are based overseas, having expanded the AVUG into New York (2012) and Hong Kong (2016) – two projects spearheaded almost entirely by Owen (which we discuss shortly).
“The opportunities and potential for the AVUG are enormous,” said Owen. "My ambition is to carry on growing the AVUG as far as we possibly can."
Owen told AVTE he is keen on bolstering the level of benefits offered by the AV User Group to members in the UK to those internationally – benefits such as hosted trips to events like ISE in Amsterdam. The new Steering Committee will also help ensure The AV User Group works more closely with end users and manufacturers internationally, ensuring they adapt to any market changes unique to the market and provide the level of quality (such as presentations) they desire.
In addition, Owen is also keen on providing valuable published insight for members – research and information on best practice across different areas of AV to its members and the end user community as a whole. Early discussions have already begun with several unnamed industry personnel around producing content, which would be vetted, approved and given the stamp of approval by AVUG members.
The financial model and finer details are yet to be realised – but Owen is confident of getting something off the ground this year.
“I personally want to use the group to help educate and benefit our industry,” he explained. “I believe if we issued something around best practice, it would be something that’s taken very seriously and respected.”