Love and the UL at the NFPA show

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LAS VEGAS--The Mandalay Bay Convention Center here was crawling with people wearing NFPA badges even before the exposition part of the National Fire Protection Association's World Safety Conference and Exposition opened on June 2.
As early as May 31, conference rooms were packed with attendees for several one-day seminars, and 75 people showed up on Sunday, June 1, for the "Behind the Scenes Tour and Technical Presentation" of the fire protection system at the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage Hotel.
Official numbers are pending, but more than 300 exhibitors were expected for the show and the crowd on the floor on June 2 appeared to be at least as large as last year's show in Boston. Right up front on the show floor was SimplexGrinnell's golf-course themed booth, where you could putt through the various products and capabilities offered by the company.
Jim Spicer--who was named interim president of Simplex last August and became president in October--took some time on June 2 to talk to Security Systems News about initiatives he's undertaken to improve business operations, and also a year-long process to improve SimplexGrinnell's services business. Each of its 6,000 service employees have or will complete a series of training programs, part of which includes an emphasis on community involvement.
"We're a national company that's gone local," Spicer said.
Next door, Colleen Repplier, the new president of Tyco's newly created Fire Suppression & Building Products (a combination of the chemical and water suppression groups) business unit, spoke to Security Systems News about the ongoing process of combining the two companies. "We're six months into a two-year process," she said. "Economies of scale and knowledge" that occur as a result of combining distribution and R&D operations will contribute to the success of the initiative, she said.
Things were hopping at Potter Electric's booth, where president Bernie Lears was talking about the company's recent acquisition of Elmdene in the U.K.
Like last year, mass notification systems were everywhere, from Cooper Notification to Honeywell to GE Security and elsewhere. Meanwhile Underwriters Laboratories made a big splash inside and outside of the show floor. Inside they had a big booth in the back center of the hall; outside on the front of the Luxor Hotel (next door to the Mandalay Bay) there was an enormous banner that read: "UL is Safety. Find the Mark on 21 billion products worldwide."
There may not have been 21 billion products on the show floor, but there was plenty for attendees to see and talk about during this four-day event.

See the July issue of Security Systems News for more on the Cirque du Soleil tour, and an interview with SimplexGrinnell's Jim Spicer.