In his role as chairman of the Security Industry Association (SIA), Scott Schafer, principal/CEO at SMS Advisors LLC, welcomed security industry luminaries to the annual meeting of SIA membership on the first day of ISC West 2019 on Tuesday.

Schafer addressed SIA members at the meeting, which is known as The Advance, to recognize significant achievements by industry leaders and to highlight key accomplishments made by SIA during 2018.

Chris Grniet, chair of the SIA New Product Showcase (NPS) Committee and regional vice president, security and technology consulting at Guidepost Solutions, received the 2018 SIA Committee Chair of the Year award. Grniet – a security industry veteran with more than 26 years of experience in the field –  has been involved with the SIA NPS for nearly a decade, serving as a committee member and vice chair before becoming chair; he chaired his third SIA NPS program at this year’s show.

Notable accomplishments from Grniet’s time as chair of the New Product Showcase include an increased window of time in which judges deliberate on the Best New Product and Judges’ Choice Awards, an increased emphasis on judicial ethics during the judging process and expansion of the program from a six-month-long project to a year-round effort.

Mark McCourt, head of commercialization at Cobalt Robotics, received the 2018 Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes SIA volunteers who have made tireless efforts to expand SIA’s programs and services. In his role as chair of ’SIA's Drones and Robotics Working Group, McCourt provided critical input in the development of Market Spotlight: Extending the Capabilities of Human Security Officers With Modern Robotics, a report produced exclusively for SIA by research firm IDC that examines the opportunity, benefits and reasons for growth in the robotic security market. The report highlights the evolution of robotic technology, real-world scenarios for robotic security, these robots’ impact on the security market and more. He has also initiated work to publish a second robotics paper in partnership with IDC and is an active member of SIA’s Membership and Marketing Committee, which guides the association in creating member value, new member development and overall member engagement.

SIA also recognized the SIA Women in Security Forum as the recipient of the 2018 Chairman’s Award, which recognizes SIA members’ diligent efforts in furthering the SIA mission and overall commitment to the association’s future. The SIA Women in Security Forum supports the advancement of women in the security industry through programs and opportunities for professional development, networking and thought leadership. The group – led by a dedicated committee of volunteers – was established on International Women’s Day in 2018.

Maureen Carlo, business development manager at BCDVideo and co-chair of the Women in Security Forum, accepted the award on behalf of the forum, saying, “I want to thank SIA for having the vision to create this forum that focuses on diversity in this industry. Our businesses will all be more successful when we focus on inclusion and diversity.”                   

Key Women in Security Forum offerings include the SIA Progress Award, which celebrates individuals who advance opportunities and pave the way to success for women in the security industry; networking and professional growth events for women in the security industry; SECURE Perspectives, a monthly column that supports the participation of women in the security profession by highlighting successful women in the industry; and an all women-authored issue of the SIA Technology Insights journal.

Axis Communications, Inc., received the 2018 Member of the Year Award, which honors SIA member companies that have shown noteworthy involvement in SIA committees and working groups. Fredrik Nilsson, vice president of the Americas for Axis, told meeting attendees, “We appreciate the opportunity to help SIA shape the future of this industry that we are so passionate about. In turn, we are grateful for the opportunities that SIA membership gives to Axis team members to help further their careers.”

According to SIA, Axis takes an active role in SIA’s committees, working groups and interest groups, with its representatives serving as chairs of the SIA Education and Training Committee, Transportation Policy Working Group, Health Care Security Interest Group and RISE Committee. The company is also highly involved with SIA’s education and training programs. Additionally, Axis has helped to recruit speakers for SIA events and invited SIA to participate in its corporate events.

In 2018, Axis directly contributed to specific SIA member benefits – including the Cyber Onboarding Guide for Employees, which shares cybersecurity guidelines for employers and staff and helps companies reduce cyber vulnerability, and the Security Cornerstones Learning Series, an e-learning resource designed primarily for novice security professionals that provides a fundamental overview of the business practices and technologies used within today’s physical security industry – and fostered collaboration with vertical market organizations such as the National Center for Spectator Sport Safety and Security. 

Schafer also welcomed five new voting members of SIA Board of Directors:

  • Greg Hill, director, intrusion architecture, Johnson Controls
  • Kim Loy, chief marketing officer, ACRE
  • Jody Ross, vice president, sales, AMAG Technology
  • James Rothstein, senior vice president, global security solutions, Anixter
  • Brian Wiser, regional president, North America, Bosch Security Systems


Following the ratification, the SIA Executive Committee for 2019 includes:

  • Chairman: Scott Schafer, SMS Advisors
  • Chairman Elect: Pierre Trapanese, CEO, Northland Control Systems
  • Vice Chairman: Scott Dunn, director, business development, Axis Communications
  • Secretary: Lynn de Séve, president, GSA Schedules. Inc.
  • Treasurer: Richard Brent, CEO, Louroe Electronics
  • Immediate Past Chairman: Denis Hébert, president, Feenics Inc.


The full list of SIA board members is available at