SIA Statesman Award winners honored for their work

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

SILVER SPRING, Md.—“… And the rest, they say, is history.” This is one of my most favorite quotes as it depicts a positive continuation of something that originated in the past. A prime example is the SIA Statesman Award.

Concepted years ago, and brought into fruition in 2006, “creation of the SIA Statesman Award followed a decision to become much more engaged in government affairs efforts, including the launch of the annual SIA GovSummit conference in Washington, D.C.,” Jake Parker, SIA’s director of government relations, told SSN. (This year’s conference will take place June 26-27 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.) “The award recognizes significant contributions of key members who provide consistent input, offer ideas and encourage others to participate.” 

This year’s award winners, Wayne Esser, retired security industry executive providing consulting services through Blue Ocean Advisory Group and active director for the National Capital Region Security Forum (NCRSF) along with Dhira Gregory, federal sector employee at IBM and active supporter of NCRSF, leading communication, marketing and the quarterly breakfast series, exemplify how friendship, partnership and working together toward common goals creates positive change for everyone across the security industry.

“Dhira and I met when I was working for Boeing on the SBINET Border program,” Esser reminisced. “She was already immersed in the security industry. We became fast friends, and have been working together ever since. We are an unbeatable team!” 

Statesman Award winners are currently chosen by a committee comprised of all past Statesman Award winners, Parker told SSN. The committee identifies leaders in the industry who have paved the way for members to engage directly with policymakers and contributed to the success of SIA government efforts, benefiting the industry as a whole. “Being recognized by the security industry’s leading association is a huge honor personally,” Esser said. “Dhira and I have worked closely with SIA for several years, so getting selected by your peers for this award gives a real sense of accomplishment.” 

Over the years, NCRSF has worked to tighten the relationship between themselves and SIA to create more value for SIA members and NCRSF affiliates. “The NCR Security Forum is focused on identifying and creating opportunities for security integrators, distributors and manufacturers,” Esser said. “SIA focuses more on federal policy shaping, benefiting those constituents, so the desire to work together was a very natural one.” 

Building and sustaining a tenacious relationship on any level, whether personal or business, requires dedication. The partnership between NCRSF and SIA demonstrates such a commitment. “As our partnership with SIA is based on strong synergy with our constituents and stakeholders, it requires that both parties stay focused on continued improvement and perpetuation of the relationships,” Esser said. “You can never just be comfortable with the status quo.” 

Parker said that Esser and Gregory have assisted SIA in many ways, specifically identifying the following: providing helpful guidance, connecting staff and members with key federal agencies and personnel, and assisting with program and event development. 

“The big event we support every year is the SIA Government Summit,” Esser said. “We help SIA attract government security end users and key decisions makers.”

In addition, NCRSF hosts a monthly networking event as well as a quarterly breakfast. At the breakfasts, they “bring in key government decision makers for small crowds to have meaningful discussions on specific agency needs,” said Esser. “We hold at least one breakfast presentation annually at SIA HQ to showcase the SIA organization and the benefits of membership. We also support the SIAThere! in the WDC area.” 

Parker encourages “interested members to join the various committees and working groups focusing on a wide range of issues, and supporting SIA’s federal and state policy priorities.” 

About NCRSF: The forum was founded by Dan Connole in the early 2,000s, after formation of the Department of Homeland Security to follow and identify opportunities in the federal market. The forum’s mission is to address issues and opportunities facing the security industry in the federal market space through advocacy, promoting proactive communication, providing a federal market-focused forum and working closely with SIA.