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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

Articles in Category: Certification Bodies

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #231: A Lightapalooza Special

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Ron sat down to discuss event logistics including vendors, attendees and trainings offered for the upcoming Lightapalooza show.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #231: A Lightapalooza Special

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Tom Doherty, Michael Libman and David Warfel. Recorded live on Thursday, December 15th, 2022, at 2:00 pm. EST.

About Lightapalooza

Lightapalooza 2023 is the 2nd Annual Lighting Conference exclusively for the Custom Integration Industry. This special show will include Lighting Fundamentals Training, Lighting Design Workshops, Expert Panel Discussions and Manufacturer Training Sessions.

It will also provide a unique opportunity for the top Custom Integrators and Lighting segment manufacturers to gather and engage over three days with the subject and conversations strictly around the emerging lighting category. Lightapalooza will provide the perfect launch for your company's success and growth in the lighting category in 2023.

Interview Recap

  • The history behind Lightapalooza 
  • Event logistics including vendors, attendees and trainings offered
  • The growing importance of lighting in the custom integration industry

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #230: An Industry Q&A with Sarah Dresher

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Sarah Dresher, Owner and Director of Business Development at Luxury Integrated Technologies shares her point of view between ageism and sexism in the AV industry.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #230: An Industry Q&A with Sarah Dresher

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Sarah Dresher. Recorded live on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Sarah Dresher

Sarah Dresher founded Luxury Integrated Technologies, in early 2022, as a service and consulting agency for the southeast, representing best-in-category brands. Upon completing her electrical engineering degree in 2016 and later earning a MBA from Rutgers Business School, she worked for Lutron and Sonnen. Sarah also gained experience working directly for a Lutron rep agency in the Carolinas, prior to taking the plunge and founding Luxury Integrated Technologies.

Interview Recap

  • Sarah’s journey leading up to her becoming an entrepreneur
  • Ageism vs Sexism in the AV industry
  • Sarah’s perspective on the role of reps vs a direct sales force in the CEDIA space

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #229: An Industry Q&A with Dan Ferrisi

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Dan Ferrisi, Editor-In-Chief at Commercial Integrator shares his background in AV journalism and his trajectory that led him to being Editor-In-Chief at Commercial Integrator.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #229: An Industry Q&A with Dan Ferrisi

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Dan Ferrisi. Recorded live on Wednesday, November 16th, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Dan Ferrisi

Dan is a veteran technology journalist who has been covering commercial AV technologies, applications, trends and business practices since 2004. He started his career at Sound & Communications where he eventually rose through the editorial ranks and became editor in 2017. 

In November 2021, Dan joined Commercial Integrator, the first publication dedicated to address the business needs of professional integrators. At Commercial Integrator, he assumed the role of editor-in-chief. His passion lies in helping integrators run their businesses better by informing them of emerging opportunities, strategic pivots and the need to continually evolve.

Interview Recap

  • Dan´s background in AV journalism and his trajectory that led him to being Editor-In-Chief at Commercial Integrator
  • The differences between residential and commercial integrators 
  • Dan’s input on strategies and actions for integration businesses to be able to face supply chain challenges

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #222: An Industry Q&A with Josh Christian

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Josh Christian, CEO of Home Technology Association shares how HTA has advanced since Josh’s last appearance in this show 3 years ago.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #222: An Industry Q&A with Josh Christian

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Mark Bolduc. Recorded live on Wednesday, Wednesday August 31st, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Josh Christian

Josh entered the home technology industry in 1995 when he began working at a locally owned audio/video retailer. Three years later, he moved to a custom technology integration company, where he helped the firm grow into one of the largest custom AV integration companies in the industry. In 2015, Josh joined a low-voltage technology consulting firm specializing in designing and engineering home technology systems, where he stayed until co-founding the Home Technology Association (HTA) in 2017.

Interview Recap

  • Why HTA certification matters
  • How HTA has advanced since Josh’s last appearance in this show 3 years ago.
  • The importance of building and leveraging relationships with the different trades involved in the luxury residential construction market

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #202: An Industry Q&A with Keith Esterly

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Keith Esterly , Chief Learning Architect at HTSA shares HTSA’s mission and commitment to the ongoing education of their member dealers.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #202: An Industry Q&A with Keith Esterly

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Keith Esterly. Recorded live on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Keith Esterly

Keith Esterly has over twenty years of experience as a salesperson, trainer and senior learning & development leader in the CE/CI industry. He started as a part-time stereo salesman at Bryn Mawr Stereo in 1987, sold some "custom" in California when CI was in its infancy, and went on to find his calling in the training and development world, spending ten years with the Tweeter Home Entertainment Group and another ten with Walmart. He’s a Penn State graduate, a compulsive landscaper and the world’s least intimidating (as he considers himself) lifelong martial arts student and Bruce Lee fan. He resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the Philly suburbs meet the farms and wilderness.

Interview Recap

  • HTSA’s mission and commitment to the ongoing education of their member dealers
  • Different resources provided by HTSA, including Keith’s Relationship Science Program
  • Different strategies and tactics used by a successful salesperson

Home Automation Podcast Episode #17 and #18: An Industry Q&A With Josh Christian

Forming clear standards for the AV and automation industry

Home Automation Podcast Episode #17 and #18: An Industry Q&A With Josh Christian

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Josh Christian. Recorded live on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Josh Christian

Josh has been a technology enthusiast since a young boy, working hard to earn straight A's as a 6th-grade student so he could get the loudspeakers and turntable he wanted so badly. Straight A's were earned, the new stereo was earned, and he has never looked back!

Josh's first job in the electronics industry was as a salesperson at what was then called Wilshire TV & Stereo, now called Wilshire Media Systems in Thousand Oaks, CA in 1995. Josh joined the custom installation company DSI Entertainment Systems in late 1998, where he helped the firm grow into one of the largest custom AV installation, home theater, and home automation companies until it was folded into VIA International in 2013. In May 2015 Josh joined Axiom Design, a low-voltage technology consultant specializing in the design and engineering of home technology systems.

Josh is an experienced educator, teaching at the annual CEDIA Expo from 2002 to 2006 and delivering several dozen industry outreach presentations to some of the top architects, general contractors, and interior designers in the USA. In serving in several different roles, as a technology salesperson, a marketing specialist to the design & build trades, an industry outreach liaison, and as a technology consultant, Josh brings years of experience and perspective to the Home Technology Association. Josh's goal has always been to deliver exceptional technology experiences to clients, and in his role as Director of Certification for the HTA, he gets to expand on that goal as he identifies the top home technology installation firms and brings them the recognition they so badly deserve.


Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Josh:

  • The response to HTA's public launch
  • The big names on HTA's board of advisors
  • The value of HTA to integrators, manufacturers, homeowners, and trade professionals
  • Details on the HTA certification process and requirements