CEDIA has named Control4 Co-founders Will West and Eric Smith as the 2021 recipients of the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award. West and Smith were honored as part of the 2021 CEDIA Awards Program, hosted virtually across three regions on Nov. 11.
The CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual—or in this case, two individuals—who have exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative, and visionary leadership in the growth and advancement of the residential technology industry. Nominations are submitted by industry professionals and evaluated on the basis of achievement and service within the industry.
“This is the first time we’ve ever given the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award to two people, but at this point, I don’t know how one of them could have received it without the other,” said CEDIA Board Member, Bill Skaer. “It took both of these guys together to be able to do what they’ve done in our industry. I can’t think of two people more deserving of this honor than Will and Eric.”
West and Smith first became acquainted through a mutual friend while West was operating a high-end A/V shop and Smith was a computer science student at Brigham Young University. The two have a rich history within the tech industry having launched four companies together over a 15-year period.
Their first company provided media retrieval services for colleges while the next one, PHAST, began their first foray into home automation. They ended up selling the company two years after its founding and started anew once again, this time in the hotel broadband business. West and Smith each shared fond memories of the three corners of the tech industry they served, but the one that always felt like home, says West, was home automation. In 2003, after their non-compete agreement was up with PHAST, West and Smith launched Control4, a new home automation company. A year later, Control4 made its grand debut at the 2004 CEDIA Expo and released its first products later that year.
“When I first met Will, he had an MBA from Wharton and was already well-established,” said Smith. “Meanwhile, I hadn’t even finished my undergraduate degree. I remember feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have met someone who actually knew what he was doing. I wouldn’t be anywhere if we hadn’t made that connection.”
“To be clear, I’ve been riding Eric’s coattails for decades,” said West. “I am honored to be recognized with the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award, but more than that, I am so happy to be receiving this award alongside Eric. He’s brilliant, amazingly hardworking, and is downright passionate about this industry.”
The recording of the CEDIA Awards broadcast where West and Smith were honored with the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award can be found on the CEDIA HQ YouTube.