The Electronic Security & Technology Association (ESTA), presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to member Bob Helstrom, owner and CEO of Custom Security Systems, Lacey, Wash. Helstrom received the award at a luncheon held in his honor on May 2, 2017, during the ESTA annual Owner’s Conference in Seattle.  

The purpose of the award, according to ESTA executive director, Karen Mackey, is to recognize the outstanding contributions made by a member not only to the electronic security industry but to society in general through knowledge, expertise, leadership, dedication, humanitarianism and upholding the highest moral and ethical standards. “No one embodies those all-around achievements better than Bob Helstrom,” Mackey said.  

Helstrom graduated from Eastern Washington College and went on to become a young salesman and true entrepreneur, ESTA reported in a press release. He ventured into various businesses and found a niche in the security industry, creating Custom Security in 1972 and becoming one of the first Sears security system dealers. Starting in a two-room office with his wife, Yvonne, and one installer, Bob grew the business and opened Sears dealerships in 17 states including Hawaii. From there, Custom moved to its current location in Lacey, Wash., which houses 100 employees in a 30,000 square foot building. The company is ranked No. 44 on the SDM 100.  

In addition to his accomplishments in the security industry, Helstrom and his wife founded Foundation Campus, a private, non-denominational school in Lacey, Wash., and are very active in the Nazarene Church, World Wide Missions and Jesus Film Harvest Partners. They continue to support building projects, educational programs and missions in many different countries as well as the U.S.  

Helstrom attributes his long-term success to keeping his priorities straight and in the right order:  “Putting God first, wife and family second, and business third.” He is thankful for the support of his family which includes wife Yvonne, daughters Marla and Kari, son Brian, as well as six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, and is the first to give credit to his long-term employees “who have been like extended family,” Helstrom said.  

He advises young entrepreneurs, “Don’t just dream it, do it. And remember, take it one day at a time.”