CAA George A. Weinstock
CAA George A. Weinstock Award recipient Jon Sargent with past recipients Ron Spiller, George De Marco, Roger Westphal; and Rod Uffindell.

At the 2010 California Alarm Association (CAA) Winter Convention held in San Francisco, Dec. 9-11, 2010, there was a lot of business accomplished and some very clear challenges issued.

There’s always plenty going on — including receptions, the board of directors meeting, reports from all the regional associations, updates from the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) and the Electronic Security Association (ESA), exhibits by industry manufacturers, a general session with a keynote and updates on statewide legislative, education, training, fundraising and outreach programs, multiple workshops, the highly anticipated CAA George A. Weinstock Award dinner, and more — all the pieces of a organization communicating, staying on the same page, supporting each other and working together.

The general meeting included legislative updates, elections for the CAA Officers/Executive Committee, and an industry licensing update from the new chief of the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS), Jeffrey Mason.

The general meeting also included motivational speaker Rocky Blier, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968 and again from 1971 to 1980 after returning from being wounded while serving in Vietnam. His message stressed that ordinary people can become extraordinary achievers.

In the general meeting, the CAA also showed its support for SIAC and presented a check for $30,000 to SIAC. The money was donated by the members of the CAA and a matching gift challenge from Bay Alarm. SIAC Executive Director Stan Martin accepted the donation from CAA Public Safety Liaison Chair Jon Sargent and CAA President Matt Westphal.

In the highlight of the convention, Jon Sargent was named the recipient of the CAA George A. Weinstock Award. Established in 1999, the award recognizes a lifetime of achievement in the electronic security industry.

Participants in CAA symposium
Particpants in the California Alarm Association (CAA) executive symposium (L to R): moderator George DeMarco; Jim Covert; JoAnna Sohovich; and Bob Haskins.

Sargent, a former two-term president of the CAA, serves as the industry liaison for ADT Security Services, Boca Rotan, Fla., and works closely with Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) on municipal and law enforcement relationships.

After working on his first alarm ordinance in the early 1980s with the Alameda County Sheriff’s office, he went on to become an irreplaceable force for the alarm industry working on alarm response issues and improving relationships with law enforcement all over the country.

“Jon Sargent is admired by his colleagues at ADT for his tireless efforts working as an industry advocate and for his ability to facilitate dialogue and goodwill with community, law enforcement and industry stakeholders,” said ADT Residential and Small Business President John Koch. “Jon’s service is truly remarkable and this well-deserved recognition distinguishes him as one of the strongest champions on alarm response issues in the United States.”

Another convention highlight this year was the executive symposium, which was moderated by George DeMarco and included Jim Covert, a member of the Protection One board of directors; JoAnna Sohovich, president of Honeywell Security & Communications; and Bob Haskins, UTC Fire & Security vice president and general manager as the three industry leaders discussed trends impacting the alarm industry.

Sohovich cautioned dealers not to expect cable providers and telecommunications companies to fail again as they have in their prior attempts to enter the security industry. She shared that a large cable company’s study proved that adding security to its triple play had cut its attrition in half.

“How motivated do you think they are going to be to make that a four-play?” Sohavich asked. “Cutting attrition in half is absolutely incredible.”
Sohovich pointed out customers’ growing expectations to interact with a system that integrates multiple technologies and services.

Sohovich and Haskins both emphasized delivering a holistic solution to customers and competing against the triple plays offered by cable companies.

Haskins said that cable companies will be offering security in their bundles, and if dealers want to compete they will have to have bundled service.

Covert stressed that for all the buzz about technologies and equipment, the alarm business is still all about service — and taking care of one customer at a time.

Both the executives and the audience were invested in conversation — as they should be — after all, it centers around the very heart of the industry, its customers.