Recap: 2019 with Cloud9 Smart

The Cloud9 Smart team crushed 2019! Last year we:

  • Named a new CEO
  • Added new team members
  • Gave the office a facelift
  • Entered into the lighting game
  • Became a Lutron certified Ketra Showroom
  • Were featured in numerous magazines
  • Honored by CE Pro as #47 in their annual Top 100
  • Hosted two successful AIA Summits
  • Had fantastic team events and outings
  • …and pretty much became the most fun kids in the tech-meets-design game!

It was a spectacular year and Cloud9 Smart has seen tremendous growth and success, but most importantly we’ve grown as a team coming together to provide the best possible service.

Que that Bowie jam, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.” After twenty years at the helm our Founder, Fernando Zorrilla, announced that Chris Smith (formerly COO) would be taking the reins as the new Chief Executive Officer of Cloud9 Smart. Equally as important, we had several fantastic new team members join our ranks, and we honestly couldn’t imagine how the office would be without them. Without further ado, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to the Cloud9 Smart class of 2019!

These “rookies” came to play, contributing their unique skill set and hungry energy to our company. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for our new team (existing and newest members alike!).

In 2019 we considered the changes necessary to build upon, and feel great within, our physical space. We began by renovating our showroom with a sleek and modern look – a fresh start! Following the front of house facelift it was time to give our back of house (Operations Office) some love and attention. With our Purchasing Team leading the “Ops Office Refresh” project, we began to clear out, clean up, re-design, and streamline. Multiple team members lent a hand in doubling storage space, altering the layout, and creating an impressive space where our Technicians, Service Team, and Purchasing Department would be the most comfortable and efficient.

While we worked on our internal projects, we continued to complete client projects, gain insight in other areas of smart technology, and finished the year feeling accomplished.

We were especially excited to announce the addition of lighting design to our portfolio of design services. Our Engineering Team played a crucial part in adding this discipline to our offerings. We trained our team to the ALA standards, created spectacular designs, worked alongside architects and clients, while establishing the standard for service and deliverables for lighting projects. It’s essential for us to feel confident in every service we provide to meet the expectations of the client. Keeping the ball rolling, we had the bright idea to become a Lutron certified Ketra Showroom. We had already fallen in love with Ketra while installing it during our showroom renovation. When we did so, there wasn’t even a standard or program for a Ketra showroom. Much to our delight Lutron announced the requirements and following the steps to formalize the certification was an easy decision (and a pile of paperwork). We are proud the be the first Ketra Showroom on the east coast and are currently scheduling tours! If you would like to stay updated, please reach out to our Architect Specialist, Mike Dye.

Did you reach out to Mike yet? Great, so we can move forward with shamelessly plugging our featured articles from 2019. Our CEO Chris gave some great insight last year regarding our work, the Cloud9 Smart process, and answering interesting questions he stumbled upon. In the article “Being A Pro“ for Connected Design, Chris explored the question: “What qualities would someone have to have for you to consider them a professional, or pro, in our industry?”. We also recommend our feature with Brick & Wonder “From the AV Consultant: Seeing abundance where others see scarcity,” where Chris shares some of his professional and personal practices around sharing and creating community. We hope you appreciate appreciate his approach of creating real face-to-face relationships in the age of social media. Head back to Connected Design to get a better sense of our design process from our Senior Systems Engineer, Bruce Reed. Then Mike Dye, remember that guy from the last paragraph? He was featured in Residential Tech Today with “Smart Home Design: Where to Start and How to Do It Well,” discussing how we educate about, and execute, various technologies to achieve a beautiful, functional, and durable design. You now have several good reads in the queue!

In case you missed our celebratory posts on social media last year, we ranked #47 in the 2019 CEPro Top 100. While only one of many accomplishments it put a smile on our faces and pushed us to work even harder.

We also hosted two AIA Summits including the Lighting Summit at the Savant Experience Center and the SARA NY & Cloud9 Smart Summit at the Lutron Experience Center. Each event allowed us to present architects and design professionals with AIA learning units, new information on smart technology, how to incorporate smart technology in their designs, and resources to connect with an appropriate integrator. These summits provided our team with new contacts, introductions to new friends, and reunited us with old friends. In our third year of providing this free service to the design community, we realize we have a knack for it!

The Cloud9 Smart team knows how to party and you should join us! To show how much we care about our team, we plan fun outings and parties where we can celebrate our success and enjoy each other’s company. Last year we created many great memories including our paintball outing, where we had a fun day out on the field while strategically plotting to take each other down and brag about it later. We cheered to many company accomplishments at our happy hours, and we partied it up on a boat for our summer outing where we sailed the Hudson. The team never turns down an afterparty so when the boat docked the next stop was a reserved bar to honor and send-off our outgoing Marketing Director by eating a massive cake with a picture of his face as the top layer. Our holiday parties are always remembered, and you know it’s going to be a great time when your CEO pulls out a Christmas onesie. Our annual game of white elephant did not disappoint and the gifts varied from an inflatable hug (you read right!) to an amazing ramen noodle soup t-shirt.

It’s not an easy task to fit our 2019 into one blog, but we wanted to take the time to share some of our greatest moments. We all genuinely care about what we do, who we do it for, who we do it with, and we work hard! It feels to great to look back at the past year, knowing our team made it all happen. We hope you continue following us in our journey and keep an eye out for upcoming blogs, newsletters, events, and more.

Check out the links below for more photos from 2019!

New Hire: Bill Ash

Bill Ash joined us in March as Accounting Specialist. Bill comes to Cloud9 from Midwestern State University in Texas, where he recently graduated with a major in Accounting and Finance.  As the former captain of the MSU cycling team you can now find Bill cycling around New York City.

We’re ecstatic to have found such as great addition to the team, and with his past experience in a startup environment we fully expect him to thrive.

New Hire: Brittany Sanchez

Brittany Sanchez joins us this February as Office Administrator. Brittany received a degree in English Literature from the University of Central Florida. Since then she has been living in New York building her career, her connections, and staying creative.

We’re excited to have her bright energy, and considerable writing skills, on the Cloud9 team. (We also fully expect her to turn us onto some vegan snacks.)

Keep a lookout for her upcoming personal blog on natural living!

New Hire: Ben Hostetler

This month Ben Hostetler joins the team in our Engineering department. Ben majored in Music Industry Studies (concentration in Recording & Production) at Appalachian State University. What followed was an eclectic career ranging from highs (Emceeing dance competitions) to higher highs (producing the world’s first non-Korean KPop band.) His intuitive understanding of AV schematics, mastery of signal flow, and temperament for problem-solving created the perfect bridge into our world of technology architecture.

We’re thrilled with Ben’s addition to our Engineering team, and look forward to driving more innovation through our design process in 2019.

New Hire: Michael Dye

This month we’re thrilled to announce the addition of Michael Dye to our team as our new Architect Specialist. Michael has racked up over a decade of experience with Magnolia as a Project Manager, System Designer and Consultation Agent for end users and trade professionals.

Our Architect Specialist role demands a tricky combination of technical prowess and relationship management; A resource who can add real tangible value to the Architects and Designers we interface with on our projects. After meeting Michael it was clear that his passion for the industry, sharpness and absence of ego made him a fit for our culture. However it was his mock AIA Presentation that affirmed Architect Specialist as the ideal role in which to apply his talents.

Michael is well-versed and formally trained in many of our key brand partners (Lutron, McIntosh Labs, Bowers & Wilkins, Control4.) More importantly, he shares Cloud9’s philosophy on technology: Excitement over it’s potential, balanced with a healthy dose of practicality; A bridge between the bleeding edge and everyday life.

Also, we can nerd out with him on speakers and control interfaces. He’ll fit right in.