The first of three parts on one of CEDIA’s most important functions, Government Affairs
Darren Reaman is a force of nature.
CEDIA’s Director of Government Affairs is a one-man department; part watchdog, part lobbyist, and a gent who disproves the notion that “nice guys finish last.”
As the head of a group that relies on member involvement, Reaman keeps tabs on every state legislature in the U.S. Every morning, he reviews a report from a tracking firm regarding bills that have been introduced (or have begun moving) through government bodies that may affect the technology integration field in one manner or another. “That sets the day,” says Reaman. Given what’s happening, his daily tasks will include “anything from correspondence with legislatures to working with members.”
“If it’s a potentially negative bill, how do we amend that bill to make it less harmful for our members?” says Reaman.
On any given day, he is keeping tabs on about 250 pieces of legislation. To accomplish this Herculean effort, he relies on CEDIA’s members.
“Obviously, yes, we’re a small department,” Reaman admits, and resources like that tracking firm only go so far. “We need our members, as small business owners, to participate through the process when they’re called upon.”
Once Reaman’s identified an issue, it’s key that business owners large and small get involved – making phone calls to their state reps, alerting others who may be adversely affected, and so on. When the grassroots are watered, state governments come to understand “we represent a lot of small businesses,” says Reaman.
“And that resonates with legislators.”
But members help with alerting him to pending issues, too — legislation or even smaller issues that can slip through the cracks.
“Our tracking service is set up to track state legislators or state bills, so a lot of times we’ll get wind of something at the municipal level,” Reaman explains. “…or through an inspector or conflict with an inspector, or misinterpretation by an inspector at the local level. That’s common too.”
Reaman is always ready to help members with any concerns: “Call the office,” he notes. “I’m happy to let members know what’s going on in their state. We also have that information online as well. They can log on and view that. If they have a specific question within the state, we can provide that, too.”
“We are a member benefit – a resource to them,” Reaman notes.
In upcoming installments of this series, we’ll dig into the biggest challenges faced by CEDIA’s Department of Government Affairs – and some of their biggest success stories.
You can contact Darren Reaman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.669.5329