The California Alarm Association’s (CAA) Board of Directors held its meeting at the Winter Convention being held December 8-10 in San Francisco. I arrived a few minutes early to grab a “good seat” from a journalist’s perspective — a seat with a good view of everything going on in the room.

At almost the same time, a gentleman grabbed the seat next to me. Turning to say “Hello,” I discovered I was now sitting next to “the man of the hour,” Dr. Shane Cleary, the 2011 winner of the George A Weinstock Award. Every year, the CAA honors a member of the association and the alarm industry at large with the award at a formal event, the CAA Tribute Dinner.

Cleary joins an already impressive list on honorees with an extensive body of work that began when he entered the security industry in 1974 (his first job was with Reagan Alarm Company in Gardena, Calif.). Following positions as dispatcher and operations manager at Reagan Alarm, he began working at Security Alarm Service, a division of Bay Alarm Company at the time. After taking a new position as the Director of Codes and Standards Compliance for Bay Alarm, he was promoted in the 2000s to vice president. He served six terms as president of the California Automatic Fire Alarm Association and on its board of directors. He has also been involved with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), the International Code Council, the Electronic Security Association(ESA), the Central Station Alarm Association(CSAA), the Southern and Northern California Fire Prevention Officers Associations and many more. More impressive than the lengthy list of associations and organizations he has been involved with is the list of committees and councils and task groups he has served on.  

Cleary says that Bay Alarm and the Westphals (its owners) understand and value the participation in associations and codes, and that this has made it possible for him to commit so much time to the efforts. The entire industry has benefited, as Cleary has contributed to multiple training programs, code revisions, industry publications and so much more.

During our “Hellos,” we exchanged business cards. I’m keeping mine tucked away safely. It is not often you get the “business card of the hour.”