CSAA just completed the second event in our three-year “reimagining” of our annual meeting, and it was another win for the members who attended and for the association itself. 

Our goals over this three-year period include attracting members who have not traditionally attended the event, showing real educational and business value to them and to returning attendees, and still providing the high-level networking opportunities we’ve been so well known for in the past.

Starting with Sonoma in 2015 and carrying on to Marco Island this past October, we seem to be on the right track. The attendees overwhelmingly rated our education program as “excellent” or “very good.” We saw an increase of nearly 20 percent in the number of monitoring company members attending over last year and most reported that they would plan to attend next year. 

Our committee meetings and education program focused on these issues, including leadership and business growth strategies and technology challenges. As a former CTO of Tyco Integrated Systems, I understand how concerned our members are about technology, and we devoted a day to just these issues. We presented a panel called “Cyber Security Is a Business Risk (Not Just an IT Risk)” that did more than just talk about cyber threats — we shared strategies for how to create a plan for businesses to combat them. 

Another issue of great importance to our members is standards. As part of our important partnership with UL, Steve Schmit, UL engineering manager, participated in an “Open Dialogue” on inspecting and validating provisions of Section 17.12.6 of UL827, Central Station Services. Members discussed, among other things, overall network security and how UL and CSAA members can work together more effectively on standards issues in general. As a result of this meeting, appropriate updates to the language of Section 17.12.6 will be developed and considered.

We celebrated the accomplishments of two of our most respected and dedicated members, Teresa Gonzalez and Joe Miskulin, with the Stanley C. Lott Award and the President’s Award, respectively. Teresa and Joe have both been long-time leaders in the association and especially engaged in our education program, including our online operator training and the programs at the annual meeting, the fall operations management seminar, and ESX. And we launched our “Next Generation” membership initiative with a special gathering of younger members who are interested in shaping the future of our organization.

CSAA has been a force in the security industry since 1950, but times change and organizations need to change with them. CSAA will soon be officially known as The Monitoring Association, and our annual meeting will continue to evolve. We now look forward to announcing the plans for the first annual meeting under our new name, coming up in Scottsdale, October 7-11, 2017.