Pennsylvanians oppose NBFAA name change

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

EXTON, Penn.--In the weeks leading up to the announcement--expected at the opening of ISC West--of whether or not the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association would change its name to the Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association, at least one industry veteran campaigned to defeat the move.
Keith Ladd, president of The Protection Bureau and a past president of the Pennsylvania Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, on Feb. 28 faxed close to 100 PBFAA members with a message urging them to vote "no."
"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?" he said.
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 the name change and sent out ballots to members nationwide. The ballots were due back on March 24.
Georgia Calaway, director of communications for the NBFAA, noted the association board voted 30-1 to propose the change, but did not tell members how to vote. "That's for the members to decide," she said.
Patrick Egan, past president of the NBFAA (from 1990 to 1992, when the state charter groups were set up) and president of Select Security of Reading, Penn., is one member who agreed with Ladd.
"I'm appalled at the idea," he said.
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 of the name change, Calaway said that letterhead and other marketing materials are reprinted annually. If approved, the change will take effect in 2007, partly to save money on printing costs; a web site redesign was delayed for the same reason.
NBFAA president-elect George Gunning said while he didn't appreciate Ladd's approach, he was, himself, 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."