Industry groups: 'Associate with your association'

Sunday, March 1, 2009

PALM BEACH, Fla.--Why should you support your associations? Because there’s something in it for you. That was the general theme laid out by four industry groups at the Feb. 5 and 6 Barnes Buchanan Conference here.

Merlin Guilbeau, executive director of the NBFAA said, “If you’re not a member of an industry association shame on you. And if you are a lender to a company that is not a member of an association, shame on you.” Because of all the work associations do for the industry including education and training, government relations, standards work and more, “lending institutions should consider making association membership a requirement the next time you lend money.”

Vector Security CEO John Murphy spoke on behalf of the CSAA. “Networking is terribly important to the industry and to the CSAA and so is education,” Murphy said. “If you think you can sit in your office like a potted plant and think you know everything you need to know, you’re making a horrendous mistake.”

Bill Bozeman of PSA Security Network (not technically an industry association, but similar in its operation) said his group provides invaluable training for companies doing security integration, which is “a whole different world” than the alarm business, requiring different and more extensive certifications. Despite what manufacturers say, it’s really not a “plug-and-play business,” he said, but with the right training and aligning with right service and network integration people “there’s no project we cannot handle.”

Dave Carter spoke on behalf of his for-profit Security Networks of America, which comprises 29 large, privately held UL-listed central station companies that represent $481 million in gross revenue. The group has an approved vendor purchasing program and a marketing program. There is a minimum purchase volume and, new in the past couple years, “attendance is mandatory at all annual conferences.”