Total Tech Summit Creates Stronger Relationships

The hundreds of hosted integrator guests and sponsoring companies were set up to establish deep connections with each other.

The 2018 Total Tech Summit, taking place from Nov. 7-9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, brought together more of the top custom, commercial and security integrators and industry manufacturers than in any of the 11 years before. It included 390 guests from across the CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration audiences and 144 vendor companies.

The theme of this year’s event was “Connect With Purpose” which encouraged both guests and sponsors to squeeze every bit of value they could from it. That was set up through pre-event communication and on-site facilitation.

For guests, the structured format of the event allowed them to create bonds with both new and familiar companies.

“I had a great experience here,” says CI Summit guest and ICVi VP of business development Daniel Abrams. “It was my first time, so I came in with an interesting set of expectations. I saw a lot of manufacturers and vendors that we don’t historically spend a lot of time with or our company doesn’t directly interact with on a regular basis.

“I went in with an open mind and I was pretty fortunate to find out there was quite a bit for me to learn from people I don’t spend as much time with as I probably should. So, from those regards, it’s been an absolutely great experience.”

In addition to the scheduled engagements, a new Top Integrator Peer Program was established, allowing guests to develop meaningful connections on-site and for the year following the event.

“I got a couple of wonderful cards and we’re going to chat and swap some processes,” explains ETC chief engineer and CE Pro Summit guests Mike Cogbill. “Obviously we all have pretty good processes or we wouldn’t be this size and structure that we are. But it’s good to find out how people are doing other things.

“There were some takeaways I got from a couple of guys on a process for getting things done and I said, ‘tell me more about that.’ So, we’re having a conversation about that, and I’m excited about that kind of thing. And I’m happy to be contributing a few things, too.”

For sponsors, their ability to get in front of VIP integrators from top companies around the country allowed them to create meaningful relationships unlike at other shows. Through general session presentations, small group boardrooms and one-on-one meetings, these vendors were able to not only introduce themselves to new potential dealers, but also connect with existing partners and work toward expanding those relationships.

“It’s been great,” says Nortek Security & Control VP of Sales Jeff Costello. “We met with a bunch of existing partners and some great new opportunities for us. So, it was fantastic to be able to meet with some good dealers and tell them what we do to help our existing partners and tell them what we might be able to help them.”

“It’s been a great week,” adds Windy City Wire Pro AV sales director Bill Stang. “It’s the fourth Summit we’ve done, and it’s an awesome experience. It’s a great format. You’re with decision-makers from some of the top integrators around the country. We’ve seen some old friends, a lot of them we’ve made here, and we meet new ones each year. This is really the space if you’ve got something compelling, if you’ve got something innovative, this is the time to show it and these are the people to talk to.”

As the Total Tech Summit continues to grow, next year’s edition promises to be the biggest and best yet. That will take place Nov. 4-6, 2019 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Tex.

If you would like to apply to attend as a hosted guest, contact AE Ventures guest recruitment manager Leigh Fishback at leigh@ae-ventures.com. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, contact AE Ventures business development director Jeff Verklan at jeff@ae-ventures.com.