The Eastern Professional Electronics Association (EPEA) began in 1955 as a local non-profit association in Norfolk/Virginia Beach. It was then called the Virginia Electronics Association of Tidewater. After much intra-state "missionary work" by the founding members, it became a full-fledged state association in June 1965.
The people who originally created VEA and those who have since populated the EPEA had and have similar ambitions, similar needs, and similar problems. They felt then and continue to feel they can remain friendly business competitors while working with and learning from each other as professional colleagues. They believe that combining their industry efforts is the most effective solutions to their common professional needs.
The primary goal of the EPEA is to promote improved technical expertise, profitable business management knowledge, and fair and ethical business practices. These are aimed at benefiting the consuming public and the overall industry while improving the lot of its members. EPEA is also proud to cooperate with other organizations that enhance, promote and safeguard both the consumers of electronic and appliance products, and the electronics, computer, and appliance service industry.
by Earl Talley
NOTE: Until August of 1995 the "Virginia Professional Electronics Association" was known as the "Virginia Electronics Association" . Two aims were the intent of the "name change". First, was to clear up any confusion with the "Virginia Education Association" and the "Virginia Electronics Association". Second, adding "Professional" to our name, more reflects our purpose of the Association; to promote "Professionalism" in our area of endeavor. This History was written several years ago, and has not been updated since.
Well before the Chartering of the State "Virginia Electronics Association"(V. E. A.) , it was a dream in the minds of a group of people in the Tidewater area. These men believed they had similar ambitions, and also similar problems; and, that the most effective solutions to these problems lay in combined efforts.
It all started with informal discussions over coffee and getting together at various local Distributors on Saturday mornings. After several ill-fated attempts, the first effective and lasting organization of Electronics Service dealers in the state of Virginia was held in Norfolk on July 14, 1955.
The following week, the first officers were elected and an association name was chosen. Since these far-sighted men envisioned a statewide organization, the name of "Virginia Electronics Association" (V. E. A.) was selected.
It wasn't an easy task and all was not rosy. There were growing pains which included minor squabbles and major disagreements. The original healthy interest, of some, diminished and on many occasions the organization appeared to be foundering. But; there were always those hardy individuals who refused to give up. Not only did they hold their local association together, they found the time; and, at their own expense, traveled over the state to spread their ideals. They pushed, and pleaded, and many times the outlook was bleak; but, they didn't falter. Finally, the seeds produced fruit when V. E. A. of Lynchburg was formed in 1960 to join in with Tidewater as the State V. E. A. With the help of Lynchburg , V. E. A. of Roanoke was formed in 1962. In the following year 1963 V. E. A. Danville and V. E. A. Richmond were added to the list. In 1964 Covington Clifton Forge, Tri-Cities, New River Valley , and Martinsville Henry County, started Affiliates.
By 1965, there was a group of similar associations around the State all using the name of Virginia Electronics Association (V. E. A.) ; but, there was one remaining problem. There was no State Association in existence to bring these various entities under one roof. It was; therefore, on May 2 and 3, 1964 that the first organizational meetings were held in Richmond to set the ball in motion.
The meeting was attended by members of the Locals of: Danville , Lynchburg , Petersburg (Tri-Cities) , Richmond , Roanoke and Tidewater . It was called to order by LeRoy Cox of (V. E. A. Tidewater), who requested that a Temporary Chairman and a Temporary Secretary be appointed. Those appointed were Dick Ambrose (V. E. A. Tidewater) as Chairman and Clifford Shaw ( V.E.A Richmond ) as Secretary.
A second meeting was held in Richmond on November 14, 1964 at which a proposed Constitution and By-Laws were hashed out and temporary officers for the purpose of Incorporation were elected. The total slate consisted of:
* Dick Ambrose (Tidewater) President
* Lloyd Pillow (Lynchburg) First Vice - President
* John Gibson (Roanoke) Second Vice - President
* Lewis Adams (Danville) Third Vice - President
* Clifford Shaw (Richmond) Secretary
* Alan Jones (Tri- Cities) Treasurer
Finally; on August 7th and 8th of 1965 in Richmond the dream bore fruit. The "Bylaws", "Constitution" and "Charter" of the state "VIRGINIA ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION" (V. E. A.) were accepted.
More was yet to come :
In 1966 V. E. A. of Peninsula came into the Association; and in 1967 V.E.A. of Northern Virginia Affiliate; was added to the Association. In 1970 V. E. A. of Tri-Counties; came in.
It is now 32 years since that first start was made, and 22 years since the State Association was born. Some of those original members are no longer with us due to death, retirement, leaving the field of Electronics, or moving. But; there are still a surprising number who continue to carry on and still believe in their original goals. The industry; too, has changed tremendously since those early days. The old hand-wired tube sets which were the norm then are museum curiosities. Many in the Service industry today wouldn't know where to begin, if they were required to repair one of them.
During all these years, the V. E. A. has worked hard to promote the interest of it members. They have joined forces with such entities as the Virginia Consumer Affairs Division and have followed up on many consumer complaints for them. They have worked closely with the Virginia Retail Merchants Association and Local Retail Merchants Associations, as well as Better Business Bureaus. They have fought against encroachments from Cable Tv, and more recently Rural Electrification Co-ops. They have fought for a licensing. law to protect consumers against fraud and inefficiency by incompetent service organizations. In all, they have won some battles and lost some. There are still many more that will need to be fought and V.E.A. will be in there on the front line.
The "Virginia Electronics Association" has worked closely, since its inception, with National Associations. At the time it started nearly all V.E.A. Members were also members of NATESA . Later, after bitter turmoil's at the National level were finally over; the "Virginia Electronics Association" became 100 % NESDA Affiliated. After legal counsel for NESDA suggesting requiring 100 % affiliation should not or, could not be demanded, V.E.A. changed our requirements to recomending that our members "should" join NESDA.
Several V.E.A. members also served in high National Offices. From their ranks there were two Presidents of NATESA, one Secretary of NATESA , one Eastern Vice-President of NATESA , and one Vice-President of NESDA. Many of our members have regularly attended the National Conventions and participated in the decisions made there.
Just as other State Associations, as well as National, have suffered declines in Membership so has V.E.A. That trend is reversing now and the future looks much better. All levels of associations are becoming more professional than ever. They are realizing the necessity of continued training for their members if they are to succeed in their business. Seminars and training courses are being provided by V.E.A., usually in conjunction with NESDA and ISCET. They are aimed at upgrading the skills and knowledge of their people and thereby present them in a new light of professionalism to the people they serve, The Virginia Consumers.
Note: The Above article was compiled and written by Mr. Earl Talley from Lynchburg; a Loyal Servant of the VEA for almost as many years as VEA has existed. Mr. Talley is currently retired and is one of the VEA State's Lifetime Members . Much Appreciation to him for this contribution to our "History" both "words" and "deeds".