In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine Todd Thibodeaux’s arrival at CompTIA happening during a more volatile period. After being named the IT trade association’s CEO in June 2008, Thibodeaux’s official start date was Sept. 1 — just two weeks before Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and triggered the financial crisis. While contending with the worst economic recession in decades, the organization also was faced with an altering technology landscape that was shifting away from PC hardware to new areas such as cloud computing and mobile devices.
There were even more challenges for Thibodeaux, including questions about its relevance with a younger, more dynamic IT workforce. CRN spoke with Thibodeaux earlier this year about CompTIA and the challenges it faces in today’s world. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
CRN: You’ve made many changes in the past five years at CompTIA, including lowering the membership dues. Is it harder today for technology trade associations to justify the kind of high membership costs we’ve seen in the past?
Thibodeaux: Trade associations always struggle with trying to find the right kind of dues. We’ve lowered our dues dramatically. If you’re a large company today, say a big vendor or distributor, your CompTIA dues are only $5,000. … So yes, I think it is hard in a sense for associations that don’t have large trade shows. Most trade groups that have large international trade shows, whether it’s