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Join Ron Callis, Owner & CEO of One Firefly and industry veteran, as he talks business development, technology trends, and more with leading personalities in the tech industry. Automation Unplugged (AU) is produced and broadcast live every week.
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Eagle Sentry’s Service Manager On Leadership Principles & Attracting New CI Talent

Automation Unplugged #253 features Chris Oram, Service Manager at Eagle Sentry. Join us for an exciting show that dives into Chris’s journey from DIY to pro AV, what is takes to run service in the CI channel, and more!

This week's episode of Automation Unplugged features our host Ron Callis interviewing Chris Oram. Recorded live on Wednesday, November 15th at 12:30 pm EST.

About Chris Oram

Chris got his start in the smart home industry in the DIY space. In 2022, Chris met Mitch Klein at CES, who told him about the industry’s largest trade show: CEDIA. Chris paid his way to go to CEDIA 2022, and the rest is history.

He networked with all the right people and started a full-time career in A/V. Chris has been featured on the CEDIA Podcast twice, and he’s grown in his role at Eagle Sentry, moving from A/V Project Coordinator to the Service Manager in under six months. He has a true passion for empowering clients with their smart technology.

Interview Recap

  • Chris’s journey in the CI industry, starting in DIY smart tech, and moving into a professional AV career
  • The training and assistance he received from PrepTECH
  • The mindset of extreme ownership and the principles he lives by to be the best leader possible for his team
  • His role as a Service Manager and how to successfully run service in a CI business

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #252 An Industry Q&A with Clinton Muntean

Transcript

Ron:

Hello, hello. This is Ron Callis coming to you for another episode of Automation Unplugged. Hope you're having a great Wednesday. We are coming to you live a few minutes earlier than normal. It is just a little bit after 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15. And, you know, thankfully, our guest was able to adjust his schedule a little bit due to some other things going on a little bit later in the day here at one Firefly, and we made it work. I'm also excited to be coming to you here in the Land of the Living because yours truly, although I haven't been sick in years, oh my goodness, I got knocked out with the flu and we're hearing more and more stories of folks around the country that are getting either colds or flus. And whatever it was, it was not COVID. I did a COVID test. It knocked me on my behind. And I was down and out for, I mean, almost nine or 10 days there. But I'm now one day back in the saddle. I'm here with all of you and I'm excited to bring you another fun interview for Automation Unplugged. So let's go ahead and get my guest introduced. This is Chris Oram. He's the Service Manager at Eagle Sentry. And we here at One Firefly, we've had a longstanding relationship with Eagle Sentry. And they've been great, they're great industry leaders, well-respected industry players. And it was actually at this past CEDIA....so what was that? Back in September, that I met this young man, Chris, and he just, he went out of his way to introduce himself to me at CEDIA in our booth. And the fact that he caught me was already impressive because I was out and about in meetings almost every minute of every day. And he described that he was persistent, and wanted to meet me, and wanted to shake my hand. And I was impressed. And I said, you know what? Let's get you on the show and let's let more people in the industry hear from you and hear what you're all about. So let's go ahead and bring in Chris and we'll learn more about him and what he's got going on. Chris, how are you?

Chris:

Doing well, my friend. How are you?

Ron:

I am good. Where are you coming to us from, Chris?

Chris:

Live from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ron:

Las Vegas. Are you from Las Vegas?

Chris:

Born and raised.

Ron:

Born and raised. And you're at Eagle Sentry. Maybe for our audience that is not familiar, tell them who Eagle Sentry is. And what is your role at Eagle Sentry?

Chris:

Sure. Obviously, thanks for having me. It's a great honor to be here. Let me tell you guys a little bit about Eagle Sentry. Eagle Sentry has been around for the last 40 years. It's gone through a few different changes of ownership. We're currently in Eagle Sentry 3.0. The business was sold to Cory Reif, who now serves as our president, in 2018. And we're just doing really incredible things. It's the best time to be at Eagle Sentry. For those watching, Eagle Sentry is quite a large integrator. We have about a 70-person headcount along different pockets to the industry. But my role is the Service Department Manager. I joined Eagle Sentry earlier this year, and I've been promoted from the AV Project Coordinator to the Service Department Manager. And it's really because I have a passion for serving our clients, making sure they get what they need. Basically, what I do is anyone who has a problem with their system, they have a service request. They'll go through me through some channel, whether that's a phone call, submission ticket, anything like that. And I'll get them help, the help they need, and get their system back online and running.

Ron:

What type of projects does Eagle Sentry focus on? And what geographic region do they do their work?

Chris:

Yeah, so we're primarily and really only in residential in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is high end residential. So we'll do some projects. We have some alarm customers, but almost every single home is a multi-million dollar home. They go up to really just the top of the top of Las Vegas homes. We partnered with Savant to do Vegas Modern, which is a Blue Heron build. That was currently the most expensive home ever sold in Las Vegas at $25 million. One of my direct reports is actually there at Vegas Modern Today, just tightening up a few things. But we do some incredible work in some of the most amazing houses in the country.

Ron:

I have visited, is that the project when Savant has events, they'll hold events at that home?

Chris:

Yes, that is Vegas Modern.

Ron:

That home is pretty spectacular. It's actually, I'm terribly surprised it's only $25 million as if that's chump change. But that home is like out of this world. It's amazing.

Chris:

Once you go to that house once, I mean, I tell people my life hasn't been the same since then.

Ron:

Oh, well, tell me more about that because you're newer to the industry and we'll go through that kind of background for you. But what was it like for you when you went there? Did Cory bring you there himself? Or what was your introduction to that project?

Chris:

So it was Pat Schoeffel, who's our Performance Division President. And basically, Pat's been with the company about 25 years. So he's seen all different sides of Eagle Sentry. We went out with a representative from the builder, Blue Heron, and we got kind of a full on tour. I was just, my jaw was dropped the whole time. I was in wow, I wanted to take pictures, but just the incredible view of the Las Vegas Strip, the incredible build quality, and then just some of the technology. I mean, these LED walls, incredible stuff. I want a 98 inch TV, is really what I want in life, but just seeing how it all comes together for these, you know, multi, multi, multi-million dollar homes was incredible.

Ron:

That is amazing. It's an amazing project. Anyone that has an affiliation with Savant or now that everyone knows Chris, you have to some way, shape or form, get out and see this project. It's pretty spectacular. Chris, you have a unique background, a little bit different than some of the folks that I've had on this show in years past. And you and I have a common friend in Paul Starkey, but not to steal any thunder. Kind of take us through your background and then we'll bring it to the present. But tell us how you got here.

Chris:

Perfect. So I got here because I really love technology. I always love technology. I always watched reviewers on YouTube review iPhones and things like that. And I thought I wanted to review things on the internet is really what my dream job was a child. Fast forward a little bit. I'm in high school. It's time to get my first job. One of the most popular jobs for teenagers to get in Las Vegas is to go work at one of the casino pools. So I got my first job at the Mandalay Bay just as a lifeguard. And just giving a little bit more background, I failed my first swim test and this is important kind of later on, but I really wasn't a star, right? I wasn't a good swimmer. I wasn't a star lifeguard. I really started kind of at the bottom. And as years passed, you know, I overcame the obstacle and passed that swim test, became a lifeguard, worked at the Mandalay Bay for three seasons. And then I had my first management supervisor role at a country club in Las Vegas. This was the first time where I was managing a small group of people. And that relationship with the company, Desert Lifeguard Management, the owner, Tate, we're still good friends. He gave me just an opportunity. It's basically a lifeguard staffing agency. So quickly, I moved past managing just about five people. And I really quickly began to manage tons of people across tons of pools across town. I believe the account has about 25 pools across town. And at the peak, we managed about 200 young adults. So managing people, I got a great deep dive experience through that. And I don't know a lot of guests on the show that probably come from a pool operations lifeguard background.

Ron:

But it's so appropriate. It's actually so interesting that you've landed, not to bring you to the present too quickly, but you've landed in a role where you're managing people on the service side of the business. I mean, I don't know the age of the people that you're managing, but it's frankly probably very similar.

Chris:

It is. The age is different. Exactly. The mission and what we're trying to accomplish is different. But there is surprisingly a lot of similarities in the aspects of what I was doing previously to my role now.

Ron:

That's amazing. And so, all right, well, take us again, I interrupted your story. So how did you go from lifeguarding and operations to ultimately being exposed to the industry? And I know you also have a YouTube channel where you've produced content. So tell us more.

Chris:

So it was Christmas 2019. I got my first Amazon A device. Not going to use that word. It's a bad word. It might activate your device. But I got this device. And probably like many other people, I didn't have much to do with it. It could tell me a joke. It could set an alarm. I could listen to some music. But that wasn't what a smart home was. I know there is a smart home revolution. And since the introduction of Nest and Ring, it's just become massive in the DIY market. So I started building my own smart home, doing a DIY, and I turned to content creators on YouTube. And my big question, the big thesis was, what smart doorbell should I get? There's 10, 20, 30 products in the category. They're all different. They all have different video qualities and subscription fees and ecosystems. And it's complicated. For the average consumer, it was far too complicated. So I dove in. I got the knowledge. I helped myself. I believe in the phrase heal yourself and teach others. So I helped myself. I built my own smart home and then I started helping out friends and family. It kind of got introduced to YouTube where I wanted to make content. I wanted to be a personal brand. Like I want to introduce myself as Chris Oram's the name, smart home is the game. Like I really want to be that figure where I can help people find their needs of what they need for the smart home, whether it's a million dollar system or just their smart doorbell to give them peace of mind when a package comes or someone's at their front door. So that's how I got the passion for the industry. And then I can go dive deeper.

Ron:

Tell us about the YouTube channel and how can people find that YouTube channel?

Chris:

Sure.

Ron:

And then what should they expect from that YouTube channel? And then I'll take it from there. I'll guide you.

Chris:

All right, perfect. So you can find me on YouTube. Chris Oram, Smart Home. I make a lot of content about do-it-yourself type of videos so I review products, things like that. Basically, it's an overall industry channel. I hope to take it more in the direction of exactly what different spectrums of the smart home ecosystem you can get. But really, if you're passionate about anything currently going on in the smart home industry, that's a good place to do it. And it really just kind of helped me find my voice, like find my passion and basically tell others that I love smart homes and, you know, here's why I love them.

Ron:

So then you landed at CES.

Chris:

Yes.

Ron:

When was this?

Chris:

This was in January of 2022.

Ron:

Okay. This is not that long ago, folks. This is like two years ago.

Chris:

Correct.

Ron:

All right. And who did you meet?

Chris:

So I went to a panel regarding Matter, which is the DIY Smart Home Standard. Basically, Apple, Google, Amazon, they all got together to have a cohesive ecosystem so that there's not these walled gardens. The consumer wants to buy a light bulb and have it work with whatever platform they're using is essentially the short version of Matter. There's a gentleman who I would love to give credit for really my smart home career. His name is Mitch Klein. Mitch Klein is a CEDIA Lifetime Award winning member and he spoke, and I wanted to be in the industry. I wanted to make a full-time career out of this. This is how I wanted to spend my time. So I stayed after I had a talk, waited in line. I probably waited 15 minutes in line to talk to Mitch, and it was an incredible choice. Mitch told me about this thing I had never heard of, and it's funny looking back now. But Mitch told me, hey, man, you got to go to this thing called CEDIA. It's this one-stop shop for people just like you that are passionate about custom integration and basically creating smart homes. I didn't know at what level, but at a high level. These are very advanced systems. So I listened to them. I'm not going to question someone who I have respect for and gave me good advice. I paid my way there to CEDIA and I met a lot of incredible people. And Ron, I know you know this story, but let me tell everyone at home. The singular first event that I went to at CEDIA was on a Wednesday when CEDIA opens and it was Marketing to Trade Partners. So I have a passion for marketing. I used to work at a marketing agency, so I went and I met these incredible two ladies who are Jessica and Rebecca, who I now know work at One Firefly, and they were incredibly welcoming. We have a picture from that moment. Really, I have nothing but good things to say from that point about One Firefly. They made me feel very welcome and I knew I was in the right place.

Ron:

That's awesome. Rebecca is over here chatting. She helps manage all of our marketing in these events. So I'm assuming she's tied in, and probably tuned in, and probably blushing from your very kind comments. And Jessica is actually on maternity leave, but she gets back on Monday. So I'll make sure that she tunes in as well and hears your comments. So you did the marketing seminar and somewhere along the way, you were exposed to Paul Starkey as well. Is that correct?

Chris:

Yeah. So I met, it's funny enough. Paul Starkey has made such an impact on my life. He wrote my letter of recommendation for Eagle Sentry. But I actually met his business partner, Helen, in which they run PrepTECH together. So I met Helen just because, you know, it's crazy how the world works. I went to another seminar led by Rich Green. He said, hey, man, you got to meet this woman, Helen. I know you guys are going to hit it off. So I actually signed up for the PrepTECH Academy. You know I paid a good amount of money to go through their 30-hour course. I thought I was going to be a technician. I didn't really know what my future was. I didn't know if I was going to be the business owner. Was I going to be a technician? What was I going to do? So get the knowledge. I figured, you know if I don't know anything, I might as well start by getting some basic knowledge. And I think that's what PrepTECH really helps for is people that want to become a technician. They go through that course and they get the basic learning skills that you need. So I did that. It was awesome. I have nothing but really good things to say. And thank you, Paul, for getting my foot in the door at Eagle Sentry and writing that awesome letter of recommendation.

Ron:

And when you joined Eagle Sentry, was it as a junior tech or apprentice level tech? Or what was that entry level position?

Chris:

So I walked in the door applying, applying to be a technician. I submitted a general resume. However, I don't fit the traditional mold of our technicians. I have my MBA from University of Nevada Reno. It's not necessarily the standard technician that walks in the door. I didn't have a lot of technical background in any regard, but I wanted to try. I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be a part of it. And Eagle Sentry is clearly the Las Vegas and leads probably many integrators in the nation for what they're doing in terms of work.

Ron:

Yeah, that's awesome. So what's it been like? How long have you been there at Eagle?

Chris:

I've been there since March 6th. So it's been about eight, nine months now. It's been incredible because of two things. One, I'm way smarter than the person I was when I walked in the door. And I love my team. I love what I do. I love my team. I'm there for them in the office doing what they need from me and just surrounding myself by these like-minded people with such knowledge. I just absorb the knowledge like a sponge. And they'll tell you too, Ron. I've come such a long way. They have higher expectations of me now because I know better. So I get the job done for them. I show up to work every day. I love my team. We got a great group of guys.

Ron:

That's awesome. This industry, this industry that you've joined, generally, and I want to say this is an ongoing problem. Maybe it's been a problem for all of the years I've been a part of it, which is now 24, that this industry has had a labor shortage. This industry has had a shortage of talent being exposed to the industry and ultimately joining the industry. And as a newcomer to the industry, and you found us in your own, through your own path, through your own hard work and due diligence, you found the space and stuck with it. What sort of ideas or brainstorm do you have? How could this industry attract more people like you?

Chris:

I mean, I think it's that we just need to provide the training and resources to the people that want it. So at Eagle Sentry, we go to some of our magnet schools in Las Vegas, and we recruit kids based on that. So we've had a lot of success with that. So I think a lot of people in high school have a passion for technology, whether it's computers, phones, the internet, things like that. And I don't think they're exposed to what a low voltage technician is. But I think there is a huge revolution of the smart home going on. And I think by exposing young adults to the projects and the work that people like Eagle Sentry do, and using resources like what Paul and Helen do with PrepTECH, I think putting those together, meshing the minds and giving people opportunity is how we grow that labor from the labor shortage.

Ron:

Interesting. There's a poster behind you. It has the word good on it. What is the symbolism behind that?

Chris:

It's one of my favorite stories, Ron. So as soon as COVID hit, I got laid off from my job. And this was a big point in my life because I made probably three big changes. So I'll focus on this poster last. So one, I started taking control of my mind and body. I hired an online fitness coach. I went from being overweight, you know, we won't sugarcoat it. I was fat, lost about 35 pounds, started feeling good at who I was. Also during that period right after COVID, I met my girlfriend who I've been with for almost three years now and really happy with that relationship. And I've doubled down on my education. I knew when I got laid off and I was making 10 bucks an hour that I was capable of so much more. So I signed up for the Extreme Ownership Muster, which is Jocko Willink's two-day leadership conference. It was a lot of money. I didn't have two grand to spend at the time on leadership training, but it's one of the best things I ever did. So this poster behind me is the good canvas. Jocko has a speech. When something's bad, all you can do is say good because there's great opportunity to learn and move forward. And it's signed by Jocko and the whole team. And it says, you know Chris, keep working hard, stay on the path, like relationships equal mission success. And these are all of my core values as Chris Oram. They have the four laws of combat, and I use them every day in my life. I use them when I went to my Eagle Sentry interview. And really, I just love the principles of what Jocko Willink teaches because it's so easy to blame others for things that are going wrong in your life. It's one of the easiest things you can do. Say, not my fault, your fault. You should have done this better. And I find when I take ownership for something that I feel a sense of relief because I'm just honest. Like this was my bad. I should have done better. Yeah, you know I'm not blaming anybody else. And I think when the leader takes extreme ownership, even when it's difficult, I think that shows a lot. And I lead a group of individuals. I lead a team. So I want to be the best leader for my people that I can be.

Ron:

Do you have top of mind, not to put you on the spot, but what those four pillars of leadership are from Jocko?

Chris:

Absolutely. Yeah, let's do it. Simple. So number one is simple. That means basically don't try and complicate everything. You don't need a 50-point bullet point plan. Keep it simple. Make sure everyone really understands the main idea. Because as a leader, if you explain something to someone and they don't get it, that's your fault. It's not their fault that they didn't comprehend it. You did a poor job of explaining.

Ron:

Got it.

Chris:

Number two is cover and move. Essentially, that means that as a team, we're going to work as a dynamic. If we need to adapt and shift, we're going to do it. Ron, I am on the spot right now. I'm a little bit nervous. Let's see if I can get these other things.

Ron:

Nothing like a quick Google to help you out. Don't fret. Use your friend, Google.

Chris:

All right, let's do it. Four laws of combat here.

Ron:

By the way, I've read Extreme Ownership. I have it right down here on my left. I read it and I don't have those four laws memorized. So I was curious if you did.

Chris:

I got them for you. So next two are prioritize and execute. In a business like Eagle Sentry, there's so much to always do. There's 1,000 improvements that can be made. So it's finding those and prioritizing and executing on them. And number four is decentralized command. So as a leader, instead of me making policy and deciding on behalf of others what we're going to do, Jocko mentions with decentralized command, if you get buy-in and have these people that these new policies will be affecting, if they are part of the process of writing it, they're more likely to buy in. It's better for everyone. And it's really empowering other people to make decisions because these people can make good decisions if you empower them to do so.

Ron:

Love it. Well, thank you for sharing that experience. And again, anyone out there tuned in, it's a great book, great book on leadership. Highly recommend it. And sounds like it's made a pretty significant impact, positive impact on you, Chris. That's very cool. I'd like to close out here, Chris, talking about your role as service manager and kind of what you see as how to successfully run service at a CI business. What are maybe some of the lessons you've learned coming in, or maybe some of the rules or principles you've put in place?

Chris:

Yeah, so really things that I've learned is that people want to be communicated with first and foremost. I try and do honest communication. So if the schedule, for instance, we're here today on Wednesday, November 15th, our service schedule is booked out through Thanksgiving. So I think it's Monday, the 27th, maybe. We're booked out about 15 days if you have a problem that's not a significant emergency. So really just communicating where we're at. We're closed for three days due to Thanksgiving. Communicate with them where we stand, where we're at, give constant updates, close the loop, I think is first and foremost, communicating with the clients and being honest.

Ron:

How do you communicate? Do you text? Do you have an app? Do you call? Do you email? What are your general communication methods?

Chris:

So usually I'll try and get a phone call. I think it's always best to get on a phone call. Things can be misinterpreted over email. You read it the wrong way. You kind of sound like a jerk sometimes. I'm really personable, so I like getting on the phone with people just talking it through. But if it's after hours, so 5:00 p.m. and beyond, hey, I've received your inquiry. We're handling it. And I'll get back to you tomorrow at approximately this time so we can get that solved for you. I think knowing that there's someone who's received their message is a big thing. Because if I just call, leave a voicemail, submit a ticket, like there's no confirmation that this has really been received by a human. And I think, okay, Chris at Eagle, he's got my thing. He'll get it fixed for me. And I think that's kind of the impression that I want to leave with our clients.

Ron:

Very cool. Very cool. Have you guys, out of curiosity, have you guys ever considered doing an app? I've had a few people over the last few years ask us at One Firefly if we support that. And the answer is not right now. But I was curious, is that something you guys have ever noodled? Or do you even think the customer would use an app or access, you know, messaging you might want to communicate to them in an app?

Chris:

So I would definitely be open to an app. I think it would be probably from a customer experience standpoint, I think it would be solid where I can request service, call, text, whoever. It would be smart. So we basically kind of do that without having one centralized app. You can call, you can submit a service ticket, we can text back and forth. Is it all in one place? No, but one thing that I'm really working on is our client experience from the day that all the systems are installed and we demo, really what I'm working on is improving the experience that they get for the next year and beyond because we want to have happy clients that are raving fanatics of Eagle Sentry. And really, I think it's about checking in, making sure that they are having a good time. Because we have this joke that you know sometimes people don't tell us what's wrong, so we don't know. And then they're angry at the end. But really, it's extreme ownership. We should have been checking in more and more so that they didn't get to that point where they're angry now, because it's our job to make sure they have a good experience.

Ron:

I think that's a brilliant point. I think I've echoed a similar theme with members of my team. If a client comes back to us and they're frustrated on something, particularly when it's, quote, "frustration," often that means something's been building over a period of time. And that often means there could have been many opportunities where if we had asked the right question, those issues might have surfaced earlier and pressure would be relieved. And so it sounds like you're practicing that idea of regular, consistent communication and checking on your clients. Out of curiosity, are you, I'm going to go to something extreme. Are you doing things like Facebook, not Facebook, but FaceTime calls with clients? Do you only call them or do you also go on video with them? Or how does that work?

Chris:

So we have a couple of our technicians. We'll plan out like a FaceTime call. Basically, these people think that they can resolve it themselves. Maybe here's my modem, I just need to unplug it and plug it back in, or something that we can solve over the phone to help them out. Rather than rolling a truck, it makes a lot of sense to do these FaceTime calls. I think we're in our very, very early stages, beta testing it, seeing how it can work. Sometimes these FaceTime calls don't work and that we need to roll a truck, and that's OK. But I think part of what I'm doing is going in for that remote first mindset, whether that's using Parasol, OvrC, FaceTime calls, rather than rolling a truck, we'll roll the truck if we have to. However, I think we live in such a remote world that we can solve a lot of these issues from a FaceTime call. So even implementing the FaceTime call is the first step. And I think it's going to be around to stay.

Ron:

Makes sense. To close out here, Chris, what has you most excited as you look forward into the future regarding this industry or your role in this industry? What has you super jazzed?

Chris:

All right, so I was invited to speak at CEDIA this past year in 2023. And what I talked about is I'm big on this. And this is kind of what I learned about in the DIY space is that the open smart home system is the best. There's people in this industry. There's organizations and companies from the manufacturer's side. They want to keep control of it. They want to do the Apple, the walled garden. You know I'm not going to play nice with other people. And really at this year's CEDIA, I think that was a big topic of conversation. And I spoke about how the future of the smart home is open. Players that work well with any sort of operating system will be the ones that succeed. Some of these manufacturers come from a good place. They want to make sure the experience is in line with their expectations. However, they are making decisions for the customer that aren't always practical and they don't always serve the customer. And I think those companies that choose the walled garden approach, they may have some success, but it's not going to be massive mainstream success. And I think those that do work well with all systems will be the ones that prosper and make it really to the mainstream smart home.

Ron:

Makes sense, makes sense. Chris, for those that are tuned in or listening or watching live or on replay and they want to get in touch with you or learn more about Eagle Sentry, where could we send them?

Chris:

Sure. So number one, subscribe to the YouTube channel, Chris Oram, Smart Home. Pretty active on Instagram. Chris, double underscore Oram. You can add me on LinkedIn. I'm sure that's a very common social media platform for our peers watching the show and then Eagle Sentry, EagleSentry.com and then our Instagram handle is esonelifestyles, esonelifestyles. Yep.

Ron:

And we will make sure to put all of those down into the show notes and the comments on social media. So if anyone was not able to grab that here while he was reading that off, just check out the comments or the show notes on our webpage. Chris, it was awesome having you on Show #253 of Automation Unplugged. Thanks for joining me.

Chris:

Truly an honor, Ron. Thank you for having me.

Ron:

You are welcome. Well, folks, there we have it. It's awesome to be back with you. Frankly, it's awesome just to be sitting at my desk after being, you know, a little bit under the weather for a little while. So happy to be back with you. Chris is really an awesome new talent that's joined our industry. And kudos to, I mean, there was a number of people that he thanked, but Mitch Klein, Paul Starkey, Helen, Helen Heneveld, and of course, Eagle Sentry for being willing to bring in somebody into the company, into the space, even though they maybe don't have a long resume of industry experience. At the end of the day, talent is talent. And, you know, kudos to all those folks that helped, you know, show a bright shining star like Chris, our industry, and ultimately welcomed him in. And as soon as I met him, I was like, man, we gotta get you on the show. 'Cause I want you to speak to the business owners out there from the standpoint of there's lots of talent out there. And in my opinion, in many cases, we need to be more open to bring in new talent. Because if we do that, that's how we're going to grow this industry. If we don't do that, we're going to continue to struggle. So on that note, all, I've got to say, I think we're going to try to get a show in on November 22nd. That's the week of Thanksgiving. So stay tuned. That would be next week. And so I guess I'll sign off and I will see you all next week for the next show. See you all soon. Take care. Be well.

SHOW NOTES:

Chris got his start in the smart home industry in the DIY space. In 2022, Chris met Mitch Klein at CES, who told him about the industry’s largest trade show: CEDIA. Chris paid his way to go to CEDIA 2022, and the rest is history.

He networked with all the right people and started a full-time career in A/V. Chris has been featured on the CEDIA Podcast twice, and he’s grown in his role at Eagle Sentry, moving from A/V Project Coordinator to the Service Manager in under six months. He has a true passion for empowering clients with their smart technology.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

Resources and links from the interview: