In his role as chairman of the Security Industry Association (SIA), Denis Hébert, president of Feenics Inc., welcomed security industry luminaries to the annual meeting of SIA Membership on the first day of ISC West 2017 on Tuesday.

Hébert addressed SIA Members at the meeting, which is known as The Advance, to recognize significant achievements by industry leaders in the previous year as well as recipients of the SIA Scholarship at the University of Phoenix.

Ken Mills, general manager, surveillance and security, Dell EMC, received the highest honor of the day with the 2016 SIA Chairman's Award for his leading work on cybersecurity initiatives in the security industry.

"Cybersecurity challenges pose significant risks to security companies that long underrated the vulnerabilities of their own equipment, ironically designed to protect lives and property," Mills said. "Faced with the added rush to connect even more devices through the Internet of Things, security companies are catching up fast by hardening their devices where appropriate. I'm pleased to contribute what I can to these efforts through my service to SIA, and I'm humbled to receive the SIA Chairman's Award."

Hébert recognized the contributions of John Steele, senior director of government relations, Johnson Controls, as 2016 SIA Committee Chair of the Year for his work with the SIA Government Relations State and Local Policy Working Group. The chairman praised Steele for his watchfulness on state “Buy America” bills that could deter the use of proven security technologies. Steele has been proactive in support of legislative proposals to spur the adoption of security technologies for use in the residential market and by schools, public transit agencies, heath care institutions, and other critical infrastructure facilities in local markets.

Finally, Doug Haines of Haines Security Solutions received the 2016 Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award for his volunteer efforts on behalf of SIA, most notably his service as an adjunct professor at Mercer Community College in New Jersey, where he assisted in the development of the Associate of Applied Science in Security Systems Technology Degree Program and taught a prerequisite course on security systems integration.

In addition, Dennis Bonilla, executive dean of University of Phoenix's College of Information Systems and Technology, joined Hébert to honor recipients of the SIA Scholarship program, which awarded full-tuition scholarships to 11 full-time employees from SIA member companies. Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at University of Phoenix.

“Both the public and private sectors are experiencing a large skills gap, where the need for skilled security professionals far outweighs the number available to fill those roles. This gap is placing increased onus on educational institutions to educate and train the next workforce,” Bonilla said. “At University of Phoenix, we understand the power of education, but we also know the obstacles that can prevent working professionals from going to school. Our partnership with SIA is a great step in ensuring these security professionals have the opportunity they deserve to advance their careers through education, remain relevant and thrive in the new economy.”

In addition, Matthew Rosenquist, cybersecurity strategist, Intel Corp., who is also an ISC West keynote speaker, delivered exclusive remarks to SIA Members and discussed how cyberattacks are changing the expectations of security, privacy and safety in the physical security industry.