At the NBFAA Strategic Summit, board members voted to propose an association name change. Photo Courtesy of NBFAA

At the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) Strategic Summit, board members voted to propose a name change. The motion was approved with 31 in favor, one opposed and one abstention. The name, “Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association” (ELSSA), is up for vote to the general membership and results will be announced at NBFAA’s spring conference in Las Vegas in April.

The name change has been in transition for several years, according to Merlin Guilbeau, executive director of NBFAA, Irving, Texas, who said that board members knew a name change was inevitable. In 2000, the association moved to change its logo to the acronym NBFAA, while adding the tagline, “Electronic Life Safety, Security and Systems Professionals.” In 2003, the association conducted a membership survey as part of a strategic planning process and, building off of this, ultimately decided to recommend the name change to its general membership.

“For years now, a lot of folks in the industry felt the name doesn’t mirror today’s reality of the industry and doesn’t reflect the broad range of products and services our members provide now,” Guilbeau said. Many systems integrators or company owners today, for example, install more than burglar and fire alarms. Some companies do not install either.

The association hopes that by changing its name, the new name will not only better reflect what current members do, but expand its membership – opening the association up to those who formerly thought the NBFAA didn’t target them.

With the proposed name, by taking out the word “national,” the association is poised for international growth.

“It’s certainly a long-term plan to grow internationally,” Guilbeau said. “We already have members outside the U.S., but we haven’t attempted to establish chapters in some of those areas. That is what we will work toward.”

NBFAA wants members to know that the proposed change doesn’t mean a de-emphasis on “security.” The name change is meant to more accurately reflect the industry that the NBFAA represents.

Georgia Calaway, director of communication, public relations and marketing at NBFAA, emphasized that, if passed, the change would not take effect immediately, but rather would roll out gradually. In order to retain its identity and not incur additional costs, the name change would be done in phases beginning in 2006, with implementation and launch of an identity campaign in 2007.

“We don’t want our members to rush out and change things,” Calaway said. “From a branding perspective, we don’t want to lose what NBFAA has built up through the years. We want people to get used to the idea and tie it to the old name. We need time to do that.”