EIA undergoes mid-life crisis, ponders future

The accuracy of recent rumors about the imminent demise of the Electronic Industries Alliance will not be known at least until the association's next executive committee meeting July 12, say sources familiar with the organization.

EIA is a national trade alliance of nearly 1,300 member companies. The alliance includes the Telecommunications Industry Association; Electronic Components, Assemblies and Materials Association; Government Electronics and Information Technology Association; and National Science and Technology Education Partnership.

Some EIA members, as well as some critics, point to the overlapping of the missions of those associations as a reason to disband what they now see as a redundant organization.

"At EIA's last executive committee meeting [May 2] a consensus emerged on the need to reevaluate the alliance structure," said Kevin Schweers, an EIA spokesman. "The internal review should be completed this summer and the executive committee will consider the findings soon thereafter."

"The goal is to ensure that the resources and capabilities at EIA most effectively advance the mission of the alliance, each of the four sector organizations and the companies we represent," he said.

A source familiar with EIA who asked not to be identified said there have been "rumblings" about the future of the alliance and he confirmed that organization leaders have discussed it. He said he has not been involved in any deliberations, but added that he believes a decision will come fairly soon.

The source also rejected news reports that linked the organization's uncertain future to the departure in February 2007 of its president and chief executive, Dave McCurdy. He said such rumors crop up whenever the head of an organization resigns.

McCurdy, a former democratic U.S. representative from Oklahoma, headed EIA for eight years. McCurdy left because he was offered a high salary to head the Auto Alliance, the source said.

Press reports also have said that a search for a new EIA president and chief executive has been called off. And they point to a potential $40 million windfall for the membership if EIA is disbanded and its Arlington, Va., headquarters is sold.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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