California is the most populous state — by far, and it is the third-largest by land area (after Alaska and Texas). That creates a vast territory and an incredible amount of end users for the California Alarm Association (CAA) to cover. Like California, the CAA is huge, but the CAA is also small, built upon camaraderie and close-knit relationships between all its active members.

In December 2011, more than 400 industry leaders including 80 suppliers of products and services attended the 2011 CAA Winter Convention and Western States Security Conference.

The CAA Winter Convention always provides the opportunity to network and hear about the current state of affairs in the industry, western United States and the nation, but it also provides the chance to see familiar faces and continue to connect with the industry on the personal level that makes the CAA, and this industry, so successful.

The event included the presentation of the CAA George A. Weinstock Award to Shane Clary of Bay Alarm at the CAA Tribute Dinner and donations were made by the members of the CAA to the Security Alarm Industry Coalition (SIAC), CAA Youth Scholarship Fund for Children of Police and Fire Service Personnel, CAA PAC Fund and to Stop Child Trafficking Now, a global initiative addressing this important social issue.

The program began with a series of workshops from Tri-Ed/Northern Video Distribution on IP Video, a report on consumer response to integrated home systems from Interlogix and, presentations on interactive products and applications from DSC and Honeywell, and a workshop on developing positive news coverage from SDM and Syncomm Management Group.

The CAA Business Management forum brought together professional service firms in finance, insurance, funding and business management..

Former San Francisco Mayor and California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown provided the welcome address to open the CAA General Session. CAA President John Hopper introduced reports on insurance, legislation from Sacramento advocates Mike Robson and Trent Smith, the ESA report from Mike Miller, and updates on the ISC West program, AIREF research and its annual golf tournament, and the CAA budget and financial report.

Ron Dalton of ADT, a founding member of the WBFAA UATC Board of Trustees who recently retired, was presented a CAA Life Membership from the CAA Board of Directors and members. Dalton was responsible for developing continuing education and state exam prep courses that were taken by more than 2,500 technicians in California.

The CAA Youth Scholarship Program received a boost from Orange County Alarm Association’s donation of $2,500 and the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association’s donation of $11,000 to the reserve scholarship fund.

Bay Alarm Company challenged the industry to support two important initiatives in California, the CAA PAC Fund and SIAC. SIAC’s Executive Director was presented with a check for $30,000, made possible by a matching fund challenge from Bay Alarm Company, and attendees also matched Bay Alarm’s $10,000 challenge for the CAA PAC Fund.

Former Navy SEAL Team 6 member Clark Stuart, author of “From Battlefield to Boardroom,” provided the keynote address. He was joined by Robert Owens, who works with Stuart and the program, Stop Child Trafficking Now. The CAA and Interlogix presented a check for $7,500 to Stuart and Owens to support this important work.

The CAA Executive Symposium moderated by George De Marco featured John Mack of Imperial Capital, John Cannon of Alert Alarm of Hawaii and Doug Fikse of Legrand.

The CAA Tribute Dinner included thanks to the companies who provided extraordinary support to the annual fundraiser, including the $25,000 Diamond Sponsorship from Interlogix. Industry icon Ron Spiller served as emcee for the award ceremony honoring Shane Clary of Bay Alarm with the CAA George A. Weinstock Award.

Every year, the CAA honors a member of the association and the alarm industry at large with the award. Cleary has worked in security since 1974. He has served six terms as president of the California Automatic Fire Alarm Association and on its board of directors. He has also been involved with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and many other associations. More impressive than the lengthy list of associations and organizations he has been involved with is the list of committees and councils and task groups he has served on. The entire industry has benefited, as Cleary has contributed to multiple training programs, code revisions, industry publications and more.

The convention concluded with an open panel, Industry Incorrect, moderated by Lessing Gold and featuring Tony Adler of MSK, CAA President John Hopper and ESA Past President Bart Didden of USA Central Station.