With Puget Sound as a backdrop, the Electronic Security and Technology Association (ESTA) held its annual meeting at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle, Wash., on April 30 – May 3, 2017. The theme of the meeting was “Grow What You Value,” with a focus on growing business through new revenue streams generated by new technology.

ESTA’s primary purpose is to serve as a networking and brain-storming organization for owners of smaller-to-midsize electronic security companies. Throughout the four-day event, members shared ideas and best practices in residential and commercial security, emerging trends, new technology, business practices, marketing, and strategies to meet the demands of a changing competitive landscape. 

Financial management was the focus of Sunday’s session, with a day-long financial workshop led by Michael Barnes and Associates. By reviewing a series of metrics and key performance indicators such as revenue, growth rate, attrition and creation multiples, participating companies were able to benchmark their financial performance with other similar-sized companies as well as the industry at large, with the goal being to operate more efficiently and improve the bottom line.

The session on Monday, May 1, opened with a state-of-the-industry report by keynote speaker Michael Barnes, founding partner of Barnes Associates, St. Louis. Barnes presented an insightful security industry overview with forecasts and projections for the coming year. This was followed by a panel discussion on mergers and acquisitions, as well as a Q-and-A session with ESTA counsel, Carl Tannenbaum, of Kleinbard LLC in Philadelphia. 

The focus of Tuesday’s session was increasing revenue streams through new trends and technologies. Members shared how they are using access control as a source of revenue, increasing their services in video surveillance, and using the cloud to offer a competitive advantage. Growth drivers of these services are increased security concerns, improvement in video analytics and availability of IP networks. Member Josh Dice of Security Alarm in Salem, Ill., shared how he is generating new revenue from existing residential customers and Corey Boggs of Richmond Alarm, Midlothian, Va., gave a presentation on how new smart home technologies are changing the residential landscape. 

The meeting continued on Wednesday, May 3, with sharing sessions on salaries, compensation models and strategies to attract good employees. At the Wednesday business meeting, new officers were elected to the ESTA board of directors, including:  Corey Boggs, Richmond Alarm; Bruce Kopperud, Comtronix; John Butler, Butler-Durrell Security; Cyndi Miller, Advent Security; Tony Kwiatkowski, Tech Services Security; and Josh Dice, Security Alarm. 

One added bonus this year was the presentation of the first ESTA Lifetime Achievement Award to member Bob Helstrom, owner and CEO of Custom Security in Lacey, Wa. Helstrom has been an influential member of the security industry for more than four decades and is currently ranked #50 on the SDM 100 (see coverage of this award at www.SDMmag.com/custom-security-helmstrom-award).

ESTA President, Corey Boggs, summed up the event, thanking attendees, sponsors and speakers. “I would like to thank you for making 2017 our most successful ESTA meeting to date,” Boggs said, noting that “the collective knowledge and experience is invaluable to members.”    

Next year’s annual meeting will be held on April 29 – May 2, 2018 in Savannah Ga. For
ESTA membership information visit the group’s website at www.estassociation.org.