Diddell to head SIA

Saturday, December 1, 2007

WASHINGTON--Six weeks after she was elected president of the Security Industry Association (SIA), Wendy Diddell landed at the Central Station Alarm Association's annual meeting in Kona, Hawaii. But this was no vacation; Diddell was hard at work meeting SIA members, putting a face to the association, and shaping relationships between the two, something she feels is a large part of her job now.
"We're forging the right type of relationship," Diddell said. "We're giving back and working with people to give trust. I like that. It's a good role, and it's a needed role."
A St. Louis native with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri Columbia and an MBA in marketing from the University of Southern Florida, Diddell was elected president for the 2007-2009 term Sept. 12 at ISC East in New York City. She is executive vice president of corporate development at Richardson Electronics, which this year sold its Burtek distribution arm to ADI.
She sees her role as building on the progress of past SIA presidents, who have developed the tools and resources for its members the SIA currently boasts. As the SIA's frontwoman, she plans to evaluate where its programs stand and validate that they meet members' expectations, before further developing the programs and their benefits. She sees bridging the gap between the security industry and the IT world as part of her mission, though she says a strong foundation already exists.
"I think that's reflected in our membership," Diddell says. "We now have companies like Cisco, we now have companies like IBM. We want to provide that venue to bring the two worlds together."
She views SIA's role in general as working with the government to set the course for the security manufacturer's industry. For Diddell, the key to SIA's success is individual member involvement.
"If we don't get involved as individual members, then outside people are going to get involved and determine what we have to do as manufacturers," she says. "If we don't set the standards, meet with government and provide the right information to the right people, other industries, like from the IT world, will step in and take over. We want to make sure that we are influencing the right people and making the right decisions with respect to security."
By the end of her two-year term, Diddell says she hopes she has educated more member companies on what SIA really is and can be for them. She said she hopes companies increasingly realize that the SIA can help to make them more efficient. She also hopes companies view SIA as a trusted and beneficial partner.
"Either one of these on its own, and I would consider my job a success," she said. "But both of them will be nirvana."