I have been a runner for many years and I don’t consider myself an overly competitive person. However, if you happened to see me in the last few hundred yards of a road race I was in a few weeks ago, you would have thought otherwise. As I turned the corner before the last stretch of the race, I saw a runner several feet in front of me. I began to sprint — finish line in sight — planning to pass my fellow racer. When I got next to my competitor, he too picked up the pace, unwilling to let me pass him during these final feet.

There we were, neck and neck, both of us relentless in our pursuits. But, with about 10 feet to go, I gave an extra push that my competitor did not have, and won our duel.

The characteristic of “trying harder” can end up being one of separation. When you put in a little extra effort and try just a little bit harder than anyone else, you will often get rewarded.

Twenty-seven years ago,SDMbegan recognizing one company each year as itsSDMDealer of the Year. The award highlights a company that demonstrates best practices in every way possible.

This year’sSDMDealer of the Year, Alert Alarm of Hawaii, Honolulu, is an example of a company that truly believes it tries harder and stands above its competition. But believing you are the best and being the best are very different things — and Alert Alarm takes every step it can to ensure that the company achieves both.

According to police department statistics, Alert Alarm has a 40 percent market share for alarm systems in the state of Hawaii, and the company has been profitable every year since Bob Bean bought it in 1982.

There are many other security companies that dominate their region in sales or market share; that rank highly in customer service or business practices; or that try extra hard. In addition to this year’s Dealer of the Year,SDMrecognizes three other applicants as Dealer of the Year Honorees.

This year’s honorees are: First Alarm, Aptos, Calif.; Interface Security Systems, Earth City, Mo.; and ASG Security, Beltsville, Md. These companies are recognized for their outstanding achievements among this year’s Dealer of the Year applicants. By recognizing honorees,SDMintends to provide additional coverage to those extraordinary companies that make up our dealer community.

SDM’s Dealer of the Year award is not only an honor bestowed on a company; it’s an honor forSDMstaff to learn about many of the tremendous businesses that go out of their way to be top notch. We extend our sincere congratulations to all the employees of Alert Alarm Hawaii, and the employees of the honoree companies. Find this year’s Dealer of the Year article on page 44. The honoree profiles begin on page 54.