ESX opens to improved numbers

Keynoter Taylor: 'Don't sell me a widget'
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

BALTIMORE--The second annual ESX show, co-owned by the NBFAA and CSAA, kicked off June 24 to increased exhibitors and attendees, according to ESX Expo chair George DeMarco, who greeted attendees before the opening keynote address by General Electric CSO Francis X. Taylor. DeMarco said there were 147 exhibitors on the show floor, and roughly 2,000 attendees, who also have the option of attending educational events that began June 22 and continue through June 26.

CSAA president Bud Wolforst used his remarks to emphasize "this whole event is our show. It's an industry event by the industry--we own it and whatever you contribute to it stays in the industry. So keep on coming." NBFAA president Mike Miller echoed those sentiments: "Profits from this show will be used for the benefit of you, your business, and your industry." And to the vendors on the show floor, he said, "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

Taylor had a more sobering message for the attendees. A former Brigadier General in the Air Force and an Assistant Secretary of State for diplomatic security with the rank of ambassador, Taylor used his address to make it clear that multi-national companies such as GE are very much the subject of terrorist threats and potential attacks, and those security companies that don't understand the global nature of Taylor's job are doomed to have their sales pitches relegated to "file 13," i.e. the trash.

"As you think about working with people like me," Taylor said, "the things you need to think about are how you can help me get consistent global information--from my sensors, my access systems, all the things you provide to your customers. What I am looking for is who, what, when, where, all the time. The right information leads to the right decisions."

He noted that when the Indonesian Tsunami happened in 2005, GE didn't find out it had lost an employee in the disaster until three weeks later. "Now," Taylor said, "I can know where everyone is in 15 minutes."

"What drives me crazy," Taylor said, "is sales reps making blind pitches. I'm too busy for that. Don't sell me a widget. I want you to talk about innovative technology that works with what we're doing. You need to do your homework to talk to me."

He also said he listens closely to his peers. "Every CSO in the United States knows each other," he cautioned. "And it only takes one bad experience for that to spread like wildfire. Reputation counts in this industry. If you always deliver value, you'll be okay."