Pennsylvanians oppose NBFAA name change

Thursday, March 2, 2006

EXTON, Penn.--Keith Ladd spent last Tuesday night, Feb.28, sending out nearly 100 faxes to Pennsylvania Burglar & Fire Alarm Association members urging them to oppose the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association's proposed name change.
Ladd, who is president of The Protection Bureau and a past president of the PBFAA, said, "I think the name change proposal is misguided. The NBFAA is a name that's been built up over the last 50 years. Who wants to learn a new name?"
The one-page fax calls the name change unnecessary and costly. "People join an association for the services it can provide them--not because of the name. If the NBFAA management wants more members, they should become more relevant to the needs of the industry," Ladd said in the fax.
In January, the NBFAA proposed changing the name of the national organization to the Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association. Members were sent ballots to vote on the issue. The ballots are due back on March 24, and the results will be announced at ISC West.
Georgia Calaway, director of communications for the NBFAA, noted the association board voted 30-1 to propose the name change, but that the association has not told members how to vote. "That's for the members to decide," she said.
Ladd said he received six calls before noon March 1 in response to his faxes. Patrick Egan, past president of the NBFAA (from 1990 to 1992) and president of Select Security of Reading, Penn., is one member who agrees with Ladd.
"I'm appalled at the idea," he said. Ladd was president when the state charter groups were set up.
The fax includes one suggestion that is not correct. Ladd surmises that state associations will be required to change their names if the national organization changes its name. This is not the case, Calaway said.
Regarding the cost, Calaway noted that letterhead and other marketing materials are reprinted annually. If the name change is approved, it will take effect in 2007. Part of the rationale for this was to save money on printing costs; redesigning the website has been delayed until 2007 for the same reason.
NBFAA president-elect George Gunning said while he didn't appreciate Ladd's approach, he was personally attached to the NBFAA name. "I'll tell you that the idea of losing the name is heartbreaking to me, but if this is what the membership wants, we have a responsibility to let the members decide."
Ladd believes the name change will be approved, but said he wanted to ensure that fellow PFBAA members were aware of the proposed name change and encourage them to vote. "I haven't been an active member of the NBFAA in several years. I thought, 'What difference does it make?' Well, I guess it does make a difference."