The security industry gathered once again for the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) 2023. The event — sponsored by the Electronic Security Association (ESA) — was held June 5-8 in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky International Convention Center and offered a variety of awards presentations, educational sessions and networking events in addition to the expo’s floor, which featured roughly 100 exhibitors.

After opening the event with annual meetings and executive leadership workshops, ESX began its second day with the OpenXchange Breakfast, moderated by George De Marco, ESX chairman. The exchange spanned new technologies, services, go-to market strategies and the changing competitive landscape. De Marco was joined by panelists: Elizabeth Parks, Parks Associates; Bart Proctor, Pye-Barker; and Tyler Tribe, Becklar. The panel addressed potential business impacts from emerging technologies, like the currently omnipresent ChatGPT.

Following the OpenXchange, ESX began its educational sessions which covered topics like truck-roll reduction, minimization of customer erosion, the state of marketing and digital tools for the modern company, and a spotlight on women in the security industry. The event then hosted keynote speaker Jon Acuff, who led an inspirational session titled, “Soundtracks: How the Best Teams Overcome Overthinking to Navigate Change, Increase Productivity and Win Consistently.” Acuff argued that overthinking can kill good ideas both internally and externally, and that we should all reexamine the “soundtracks” we play in our head — the preconceived notions we have about ourselves, others and how we conduct our business. The Keynote Luncheon closed with the presentation of the Sara E. Jackson award to Kirk MacDowell of MacGuard Security Advisors.

The day continued with the opening of the expo floor — featuring booths from dozens of companies like Napco, Bosch, DMP, Telguard, SnapOne, Axis Communications and more — and the presentation of the Innovation Awards and the SIAC Awards reception. Day two closed with the networking pub crawl that allowed for industry professionals to connect in a more casual and leisurely manner.

Despite the previous night's crawl, day three started as scheduled with educational sessions on successful staff onboarding, entering the fire alarm market and driving RMR. The main stage then held the General Session and Weinstock Award Presentation. Speaker Kenyon Salo led the session, titled “The Bucket List Life.” Salo said in order to advance yourself personally and professionally, you need to create more experiences, share more stories and — above all — start checking items off your bucket list. After Salo’s session, Jamie Vos, president of Security Solutions Northwest Inc., was presented with the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award.

The expo floor opened for the second time, both the ESA Government Relations and ESA Standards and Fire/Life Safety Committee Meetings were held, and the educational sessions continued, including sessions on pre- and post-merger lesions, talent acquisition and optimizing the inventory process. ESX’s third night closed with its 75th Diamond Jubilee & Weinstock Celebration. Attendees celebrated ESA’s 75th anniversary with live music, quality spirits and a mix of local flavors in 1920s fashion. “Flappers” and “jazz age gentlemen” were encouraged to don their finest 1920s attire for the event.

The final day of the expo included more educational sessions — reasons to offer cloud-based access control, how to encourage collaboration between sales and installation, and innovations in the monitoring innovations — as well as a closing luncheon and bourbon experience. The luncheon featured speaker Elizabeth McCormick, former U.S. Army Black Hawk Pilot, who spoke about professional development secrets for success. McCormick shared her stories of overcoming obstacles with the hope that it inspires those who attended to “soar to success.” During the luncheon, ESA also presented its youth scholarship award.

ESX is an event synonymous with quality-over-quantity. While it may be one of the smallest events in the industry, the benefits of its size can be likened to that of a small classroom — it provides the opportunity for much more intimate and meaningful connections with the industry's top dealers and integrators. ESX will again be hosted in Louisville, Ky., from June 3-6, 2024.