We're one big family

Saturday, October 1, 2005

For those who have been in the security industry for several years, it's probably apparent that this industry is a very caring group of people. There is a tremendous amount of camaraderie in this industry and it's evident at the various conferences and tradeshows that go on throughout any given year.
Beyond the regular banter about how business is going, the installers in this industry really share information with one another. Some give advice on what business approaches have worked and what products they use and why.
And it's not unusual for the owners of different alarm companies to know each other by name, and that's not just for the small mom and pop shops, but between the larger companies, as well.
It's a tight knit group. And it should come as little surprise that so many people who work in this industry have banded together to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and to help those who work in the security industry.
It took only a few days for The National Electronic Security Alliance and the False Alarm Reduction Association to team up. The associations created a web site that offers forums for industry members to see the status of Katrina victims and information about how to help.
Many companies also got into the mix, collecting supplies for hurricane victims or offering financial assistance.
General Electric has offered its employees grants up to $10,000 for those with catastrophic loses. ADT Security has offered its employees from the Gulf Coast the opportunity to work at another location within the country.
Mike Barnes, and his wife Lisa, from investment banking and consulting firm Barnes Associates, have taken it upon themselves to assemble backpacks filled with school supplies for the thousands of children now attending school in a different city, or even state. And the firm has begun collecting donations to put together more backpacks and deliver them to those in need.
The Protection Bureau, a systems integrator in Exton, Pa., will not only match every dollar donated by employees to UMCOR, an agency that channels funds to emergency relief efforts, it has also offered jobs and even housing to displaced security technicians.
On the ACCENT listserve, more than a dozen companies offered job opportunities at either their central station or installation firm. Some companies had not one job available, but two or more.
The giving has been so great in terms of employment opportunities in the security industry that the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association has begun to gather information on temporary job opportunities. As of mid-September, the association had postings from 60 companies on its website, offering a temporary job for technicians, central station operators, management and even administration.
To somebody looking in from the outside, all this giving, and the offers for temporary jobs, may come as surprise. But to those who know the security industry, it really isn't.
When you get down to it, the security industry is a giving group of people. And if someone needs help, there is always a company or person out there willing to chip in.
Take a look around and what you'll see are not a bunch of competitors. This industry is really one big family.