Inaugural events of any kind can be an adventure, but the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) Young Security Professionals (YSP) Forum series got off to a strong start. The first event in the series, the Executive Forum, that was hosted by Alarm Detection Systems (ADS) in Aurora, Ill., was highlighted by strong attendance and support from industry leaders.
"I was blown away at the success of this event," said Trevor McEnaney, of Knight Security Systems, Katonah, N.Y., and YSP chair. "Originally, we planned the event for 10 people, but we ended up with 30 and actually had to shut registration down."
The strong attendance matches the warm reception the YSP has enjoyed from the industry since its inception and first official meeting at the NBFAA's 2009 Leadership Summit held in Westlake, Texas this January, which is exciting for the NBFAA.
"I've been amazed at the support and enthusiasm the industry has shown for this program," said Tonja Jenkins, associate executive director, NBFAA. "The more I look at it, the more excited I get about what this program can offer the industry. These are the next generation of leaders, and they are getting to know each other right now and sharing information that will help them succeed. This is the beginning of forming those life-long industry relationships."
The industry support could be seen at the event with the participation of industry icons like Bud Wulforst, president of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), Bob Bonifas, president of ADS and past president of the CSAA and NBFAA, and Mel Mahler, president of ADS Security, Nashville, Tenn.
Ed Bonifas, vice president of sales and marketing at ADS, and a presenter at the event, pointed out the varied backgrounds and associations represented by the event’s mentors.
"Mel Mahler, who is absolutely an icon in the industry, is here, and the fact that Bud Wulforst flew in is exciting because you have CSAA’s leadership attending an NBFAA program – showing the entire industry’s embrace and recognition that this is where the leaders of tomorrow are going to come from in the industry," Bonifas said.
"There was a need in the industry to let a younger group of people jump in and get involved, and this program is a platform to do that," Bonifas pointed out. "It is a good move to get more people involved and to help them develop into leaders. While there must always be that respect for our heritage and a willingness to listen to the older generation who has brought this industry to what it is, at the same time we do need to put younger people forward and let them contribute. Over time as they continue to meet and talk they will find projects to tackle and ways to make a difference."
Over the course of a day and a half, the event’s 30 participants shared insight and heard from the participating mentors on the topics of implementing and selling new products, effective strategies for change and controlling attrition. All the topics were selected in advance by the YSP council members.
Companies in the industry that sponsored the event included: SDM, Tri-Ed, Secure-i, Kleinbard Bell & Brecker LLP and The Alarm Debt Liquidation Group. NBFAA's executive strategic partners, Diamond-level GE Security, Platinum-level Honeywell, and Silver-level partners ADI, Altronix and Security America Risk Retention Group, also sponsored the event.
Additional forums are being planned that will be targeted to sales and operations professionals.
For information on the YSP, visit www.alarm.org.