Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), the trade consortium of hybrid retail and custom integrator members, held an educational event in Denver on September 10th and 11th – two days prior to the opening of the 2019 CEDIA Expo that included custom-created Lighting-Level 1, Lighting-Level 2 training, and Delos DARWIN Premier education. There were also several brand-specific training sessions from a group of supporting HTSA vendors.
This event was held at local HTSA member Xssentials modern training facilities in nearby Parker, CO.
Known within HTSA as the “Tommapalooza Learning Festival,” the event was conceived, coordinated, and largely conducted by Tom Doherty, HTSA’s director of new technology Initiatives. The first of this type by the consortium, Doherty had modest goals for the event, which was deliberately positioned in close proximity and timing with the CEDIA Expo to facilitate both member and vendor participation.
The initial goal was for at least 30 or so members to attend. However, enthusiasm was so great that by the time of the event that at least 94 member employees registered, attended, and actively participated.
HTSA Business Initiatives
Attendees not only received educational content in a classroom setting, but they also had the opportunity to participate in a specially constructed HTSA Lighting Learning Lab for pragmatic, real-world, hands-on lab work. This combination of hearing, seeing, and doing provided for an optimal educational experience, according to Doherty.
“Attendees and vendors alike expressed to me how absolutely thrilled they were with this event,” Doherty stated. “Many said they appreciated HTSA fielding an event like this, and especially noted the efficiency of offering this event as part of their CEDIA week activities. I have already heard from many of the attendees asking when the next such event will take place for other lighting level courses and vendor sessions. So, all-in-all, I’d say this was a very satisfying event for HTSA.”
Consortium-Driven Lighting Initiative
Just two years ago, HTSA led the industry as the first major dealer organization to target growth in the lighting segment – including lighting design, fixtures, and services. As part of this initiative, the organization oversaw the creation of a custom, multi-level educational program designed to drive member success in the category. HTSA partnered with the American Lighting Association (ALA) in creating this educational program and the Lighting courses at Tommapalooza were part of this initiative.
For those HTSA members who took part in the Lighting-Level 1 training, upon successfully passing a post-course examination from the lighting association, the students were awarded the ALA Lighting Specialist certification. Prior to the Tommapalooza event, fully 55 HTSA member employees had earned the ALA’s Lighting Specialist certification. Coming out of this event, another 20 member employees have been certified – giving HTSA a total of 75 Certified Lighting Specialists.
Similarly, the Lighting-Level 2 course delves extensively into lighting design, with students receiving no less than 16 hours of intense training from an International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) professional. Prior to the Tommapalooza event, HTSA had 37 member employees who had completed this training. After the event, another 9 member employees have completed the course, for a total of 46 HTSA members trained in the finer points of effective residential lighting design.
Tom Doherty himself created a special course titled, “Lighting Design and Fixture Sales: How Tom Doherty Did It.” In this class, Doherty shared a very personal story of how his integration company targeted and grew their lighting category revenues and profits, the challenges they faced and overcame, and even some of the mistakes to avoid that they made as part of their learning process.
Training on Indoor Wellness
Beyond lighting, HTSA was also the first dealer organization to target the emerging residential indoor wellness segment, becoming the exclusive partner of Delos, a leader in the category. Indoor wellness touches on a range of issues related to the indoor environment of today’s residential dwellings, including air quality, water quality, and human-centric lighting to promote well-being.
At Tommapalooza, Delos conducted an accredited course on their Darwin Premier System. This course educated attendees on the nuanced science of the negative health impact of unaddressed issues surrounding standard residential air, water, lighting, and comfort systems. The course went on to describe in detail Delos technologies and solutions that mitigate or eliminate these issues; a financial model for accurately estimating the cost of upgrading any system with a full Darwin Premier implementation; and the process for a deep collaboration between the HTSA member and Delos, including assistance in the design, installation and commissioning of the Darwin Premier indoor wellness solution.
Prior to the Tommapalooza event, there were a total of 25 HTSA member employees who had received training in the Delos Darwin Premier accredited course. After this event, another 15 participants were added, for a total of 40 HTSA member employees who have been fully trained in the Delos Darwin Premier accredited course.
HTSA Vendor-Specific Education Sessions
Finally, the event was additionally supported by several of HTSA’s valued vendors. Each of these vendors conducted detailed educational courses on their various products and technologies. Full sessions were held by Vantage (on Lumenetix), RoseWater (power quality), DMF Lighting, Tech-Element, LF Illumination, and Crestron (OS3).
HTSA Fall Conference Set for October 22-24
Members will have another opportunity to continue their journey into deeper knowledge at the upcoming HTSA 2019 Fall Conference taking place October 22-24 at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel in Dallas, TX. This conference, a signature event for the consortium, brings together top subject matter experts, top industry brands, and all HTSA members for two days of immersive education on top technologies, skills, and processes – including best business practices sharing.