The 2015 Southeast Electronic Security Conference (SESC) has ended, and planning has already begun in earnest for the 2016 show at an entirely new venue. According to surveys received from attendees, the SESC was a success. Vendors were pleased with the quality of the decision-makers who attended, and the dealers were impressed with the variety of the products and services on display.

For the first time, both of the state’s professional associations — the Alarm Association of Florida (AAF) and the Electronic Security Association of Florida — participated in the conference. Special guests included ESA’s executive director, Merlin Guilbeau; president of ESA, Marshal Marinace; and president of Security America Risk Retention Group (SAARG), Michael Keegan.

The SESC engaged some new speakers in 2015 for three different classes: “Understanding Florida Lien Law” by Florida-based attorney, James Helf; “25 Ways to Improve Your RMR” by marketing strategist, Brian Offenberger; and “Fire Alarms and Investigations” by State Fire Marshal Mike Long. All three classes were well received by the close to 100 attendees in each class. In addition, several exhibitors secured time to present classes to the attendees.

Bob Neely, executive director of the AAF, praised the hard work and effort by association members. “I have tried to imagine what our security world would be like in Florida if there were no Alarm Association of Florida. Because of the devotion and support of our members, including the AAF board and committee volunteers, all of you in the industry benefit daily from the existence of this great organization,” Neely said.

While the number of exhibitors was down from last year, this year nearly 50 came to show and shared their products and services. Those who chose to exhibit found success; it was reported one vendor received a $10,000 order that he wouldn’t have gotten had he not attended the conference. In addition, members reported that the exhibitors shared that they were pleased with the quality of the decision-makers walking the floor.

The culmination of the SESC was the dinner banquet with special guest entertainer Jimmie JJ Walker. The SESC extended its special thanks to Jeff Atkins and his team at Rapid Response Monitoring for sponsoring the entertainment.

“First there is no way to adequately express the thanks of the officers, directors, members and vendors to both John Toscano and Roy Pollack for their extraordinary efforts to assemble and execute this monumental task. They were the powers behind the scene making this show happen and even though they were each presented the AAF Service Award in honor of their work, it still is not a sufficient recognition of their labor,” Neely stated.

Many attendees offered praise for the speakers. “Excellent presentation by Brian Offenberger,” shared one attendee. “Guest speakers and classes provided this year were some of the best I have attended. The Florida State Fire Marshall presentation was particularly interesting,” said another participant.

 Moving on to 2016, there will be many levels of support for the associations through a variety of sponsorships. For attendees the association will be preparing for new and unique seminars along with continuing education credits for both Florida and NTS re-certifications. The dates and venue of next year’s show have not been set, yet. Visit for more information.

 Author’s Note:I have to give special thanks to my partner in crime, John Toscano, who worked with me to make this event as good as it was and who, along with me, is now planning 2016 to be bigger and better than ever before. I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Doug Bassett, senior director of Licensing and Field Compliance for Comcast Xfinity Home, for providing me the time necessary to devote to the SESC.