The new president of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) doesn’t hesitate when asked about the biggest challenge in front of him: “Getting members more active,” Scot Colby said.

Colby, who took office this summer, said the best way to get more companies to participate on committees and in association activities is to get on the phone and ask.

“It’s going to take personal contact. [People say] ‘I don’t have the time, I can’t afford it.’ You can’t afford not to,” he said.

Members can learn to do their jobs better through formal classes and informal contact through the NBFAA, he said.

“As [the security industry] has grown, we’ve got some bigger players. Small dealers have to keep competitive and they can use education to do that,” he said.

Colby should know. He was looking out for his small company, the 3,700-account Bayou Security Systems in Shreveport, La., when he first got involved with NBFAA. In 1995, the state of Louisiana was considering a law that would require security companies to be licensed after running a background check. Wary of the notion, Colby contacted the NBFAA, where he learned how the law was actually useful rather than detrimental to his company.

“Once I did that, I found the value of education, finding out in more detail how the individual works to protect their livelihood,” he said. From there, he got involved with the association on a state level and eventually joined the NBFAA executive committee in 2000. “The things I’ve learned in the past 10 years have been phenomenal.”

Linked with education is standardization. Security professionals should get together and draw up their own set of standards to govern products and services rather than let other groups, like government or other industries, set standards that will affect the way they do business.

Colby also wants to see more members sign up for Security Risk America Insurance Company, started by outgoing president Cecil Hogan last August.

The company offers general and error omission coverage for security companies. Colby said the insurance could save companies up to $3,000 a year.

The insurance is one way Colby will raise the association’s revenue after he takes office. He said he’s also working on other ideas to increase non-dues revenue in the coming years.