The AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association) was a nationwide non-profit trade association that represented all segments of the technology industry. It lobbied governments at the state, federal, and international levels; provided access to capital and business opportunities; and offered select business services and networking programs.
AeA was founded in 1943 by David Packard and 25 of Hewlett-Packard's suppliers to help lobby for government contracts. It was originally named the West Coast Electronic Manufacturers Association (WCEMA). In 1969, WCEMA changed its name to the Western Electronic Manufacturers Association (WEMA) to reflect the growing membership outside California. In 1977, the association once again changed its name to the American Electronics Association, in an effort to more accurately represent its 750 members nationwide. A final name change occurred in 2001, as the American Electronics Association was shortened to AeA with the tagline "Advancing the Business of Technology."
AeA had 18 offices across the United States, and had two international offices in Brussels and Beijing. AeA had nearly 2,500 corporate members (and the 1.8 million employees they represent nationwide) at the time of the merger. The membership was drawn from a wide range of high tech sectors, including the aerospace/defense, business related services, computers, medical equipment, semiconductors/electronic components, software, and telecommunications industries. 
AeA also produced an annual Cyberstates report which quantifies the high-tech industry on a state-by-state basis in the United States. s
On September 11, 2008, The Boards of Directors of AeA and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) announced that they are in discussions to merge the trade associations’ memberships and programs.
On December 9, 2008, the Boards of Directors of AeA and ITAA announced that they have each approved the merger of the two trade associations' memberships and programs. The combined associations became TechAmerica (The Technology Association of America) on January 1, 2009. The merger, gave rise to a stronger voice for the technology industry by bringing together the largest number of tech companies throughout the United States.
Chair & Board of Directors
Peter J. Boni is the Chairperson of the AeA Board of Directors and the President and CEO of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Safeguard, Peter J. Boni is responsible for developing and executing Safeguard’s corporate strategy.
In addition to acting as CEO for several publicly traded and privately held companies, he has served as a chairman, a Fortune 500 corporate executive, a NYSE Fortune 1000 president, a management consultant, board member, investor and advisor to institutional investors in both early- and later-stage hardware, software and technology-enabled services firms. After his CEO experience, Peter served as an Operating Partner at Advent International, a leading global private equity firm managing $10 billion.
Senior Staff at the Time of the Merger
President & Chief Executive Officer
Samuel J. Block
Robert J. Mulligan
Senior Vice President International
Association Counsel and Secretary
Senior Vice President, Operations
Senior Vice President for Financial Conferences, Executive Education, and Affinity Programs
Senior Vice President for Insurance Programs
- H-1B Visa and Green Card Reform - increase the numbers available to the high-tech industry
- STEM Education - promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education from K-12 and in university programs
- Workforce Compensation and Incentives - strengthen the ability of U.S. employers to recruit and retain a skilled workforce
- Data Breach - ensure that government policies to protect data and privacy do not harm the industry’s push for federal preemption of state data breach laws
- Privacy - ensure that any privacy legislation protects consumers while continuing to encourage e-commerce; push for federal preemption of state privacy laws
- Child Online Safety - ensure that any legislation regulates online behavior consistent with technological capabilities
Health Care Reform
- Health IT - reduce health care costs through deployment of Information Technology
- Export Controls - reform U.S. encryption and deemed export regulations
- Customs - maintain coverage for products under Information Technology Agreement
- China - stop Congressional legislation against China that could hurt member interests while engaging China on its restrictive policies related to indigenous innovation, IPR, standards, and government procurement
- Free Trade Agreements - get Congressional approval of agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama
- Environment - seek favorable outcomes in China RoHS catalogue and certification regulations; seek EU policies supporting development of energy efficiency technologies
- Japan - slash interconnectivity rates charged by Japanese national carrier NTT for foreign telecoms to operate in Japan
Tax & Finance
- R&D Tax Credit - renew and seek a permanent extension of a strengthened credit
- Tax Reform - ensure that any tax reform legislation is positive for the high-tech industry and protects the industry’s ability to operate globally
- Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 - reduce the onerous and disproportionate business tax levied on small- and medium-sized companies by SOX 404 compliance
AeA's Regional Offices
AeA's main offices were located in Washington, DC and in Silicon Valley, CA. AeA had a total network of 18 offices across the country and two overseas. These offices were located in:
- Los Angeles
- Midwest (Illinois)
- Mountain States (Colorado)
- New England (Massachusetts)
- New Jersey - Pennsylvania (New Jersey)
- New York
- Orange County
- Potomac (Washington, DC)
- San Diego
- Silicon Valley/Northern CA
- Southeast (Georgia)
- Texas (Austin and Dallas)
- AeA Europe (Brussels, Belgium)
- United States Information Technology Office (Beijing, China)