November 2012

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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EMAIL INTERVIEWEric Stromquist, Ken Smyers and Ken Sinclair

Eric Stromquist, Stromquist & Company and CTA Co-Chairman
Ken Smyers, Edward C. Smyers Company and CTA Co-Chairman

Control Trends Awards

The Control Trends Awards were created to provide a chronological means to acknowledge and capture the extraordinary technologies, companies, products, and mostly importantly, personal  accomplishments.

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Sinclair:  What are the Control Trends Awards?

Stromquist:  In the process of creating as a place for HVAC, controls, and system integration professionals to learn and share information about our rapidly changing world of commercial and industrial controls, we began to sense the vital importance of community and connection.

Smyers:  John Nasibitt cautioned us about high-tech, high-touch in his book Megatrends and he predicted that as the world became more and more technical and dependent on computers -- lessening human interaction, the more humans would need a “high touch” or human connection for emotional satisfaction to balance things out.

Stromquist:  What better way than to have an industry recognize products and individuals that are making a difference and combine it with an Awards event to create new connections?  Think about it, most of us grew up watching the Academy Awards and how do you explain the popularity of these Dancing with the Stars shows?  Why do companies pay athletes and celebrities millions of dollars to promote their products?  The short answer is positive association -- as humans, we love competition and we love pulling for our favorites.  It is  one of the primary ways we relate.  We have started a venue for creating these types of high-touch connections within our industry.  So, win, lose, or draw our finalists will connect in a very different and positive way with our marketplace.

Sinclair:  So it sounds like this is as much about marketing as it is about Awards?

Stromquist:  Well Ken, it is both. Like it or not there are new marketing realities.  For example, one of the new social marketing principals is “Third Party Validation”, which inhibits many marketing options.  Meaning, that a major control manufacturer could not have created an industry recognition program and Awards Ceremony for the Industry.  Additionally, the younger folks that have entered the HVAC Controls marketplace are less likely to go to a company website for information and more likely to use Google and other social media and view the “product review”.

Smyers:  This will take them to a third-party site like or to get their information.  And this is where Control Trends adds the high-touch concepts through personalized demonstrations, training videos, technical blogs and current news about the issues that affect them as controls professionals. Control Trends serves as an information and networking conduit that provides its community with unfiltered, third-party verification.

Stromquist:  You have the opportunity to feel like you connect with the people on your terms. People that go to Control Trends feel like they know the site people Tim, Sean, Mr. Jones, Clint, and myself. It is a much more personal type of connection.

Smyers:  But the CTA Awards are first and foremost to recognize the heroes and superstars of our industry by the industry.  Eric and I have both been in this industry for over thirty years.  We know how hard the people in our industry work and how great these people are -- and the contributions the manufacturers are making with great technology and products.  There is something bothersome that at the end of a career in the HVAC industry, there's little more than a pat on the back and a watch.  We think that some intermediate attention and a more lasting form of attention is warranted.

What our Industry lacks is a collective structure and tradition.  The Control Trends Awards were created to provide a chronological means to acknowledge and capture the extraordinary technologies, companies, products, and mostly importantly, personal  accomplishments.

Sinclair:  How have the CTAs been received?

Stromquist:  The response has been absolutely amazing.  The CTAs took on a life of its own.  We initially thought the CTAs would take one, maybe two years to develop, and that the first year would be a web-hosted, virtual award presentation.

Smyers:  But the positive response from seasoned professionals and our sponsors has quickly led to a live version.  With the additional flair and expertise of Marc Petock, the Master of Ceremonies, and Heather Deal, of HD Resources,  as well as the other steering committee members, which, includes (you) Ken Sinclair, we are on track for something spectacular.  With the continued support of all of our sponsors and the media partners, the momentum will continue to build until the awards luncheon takes place on January 29, at the Eddie Deen's Ranch House in Dallas, TX.

Sinclair:  How does the Control Trends Academy work and how do people participate?

Smyers:  The first step was establishing the academy itself.  We then invited professionals in the industry to join and register as members of the CTA Academy.  We received over 100 registrations from around the world.  The Academy members then nominated the candidates for each of the twelve categories.  Then the top five or six from each category were chosen by vote and are now on the final ballot.  Now voting for the one finalist in each of the twelve categories is open to anyone within the industry who registers through Control Trends.  Voting is open until the beginning of January, 2013; the votes will then be tabulated and the winners announced at the CTA awards ceremony and luncheon.

Currently, the nominees are creating an informative video about themselves or their products that will be accessible on Control Trends -- to give voters the opportunity to review and evaluate each candidate before they cast their votes.

Control Solutions, Inc Sinclair:  What can we expect at the CTA Awards?

Stromquist:  Everything... we hope to make this a memorable and fun event; after all it is the first of what we hope will become a yearly tradition.

Smyers:  In addition to the excitement of the Awards themselves, we also have a very entertaining program in store for the attendees.  We can say for certain that you should make every effort to attend.

Because we have an extraordinary staff and the strong support of our sponsors, we are committed to deliver an event filled with high marketing value coupled with genuine entertainment and excitement. We also have a few surprises in mind, but the real values are the CTA Awards themselves.

Sinclair:  What can we expect from the CTA Awards in the future?

Smyers:  Let us conclude by saying that Eric and I are big fans of  Your earnest endeavors to inform, enlighten, and accommodate critical networking within our industry is well recognized and noted.

Stromquist:  In fact, Ken, you are the type of hero that we are determined to recognize at the CTA Awards.  We'll have to add another category for next year.

Sinclair:  Thanks Guys, please keep us updated.  See you in Dallas.


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