ESX day 1 (with gory photo)

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06/25/2008
The first annual Electronic Security Expo got off to a rousing start yesterday, as the NBFAA and CSAA have collaborated on a first-rate event in a first-rate (if underappreciated) city. First, the gory stuff. I, and my fellow editors Martha and Leischen, participated in the Tennessee BFAA-sponsored skeet shooting event yesterday, and it was (get ready for it) a blast! Having never shot a shotgun before, I have to say my performance of nailing 28 out of 50 clay pigeons is quite impressive, but I was also impressed with the way Kerry Egan, of Security Partners, handled a gun - her Pennsylvania roots clearly came to the front as she blasted orange discs out of the sky - and the way Dave Koenig, of Capital Fire, was the only other of our group of five to stick out the shooting to the bitter end. Our guide Eddie was right: Never leave shells in the box. Unfortunately, all that shooting left a mark (avert your eyes if pale white skin is abhorrent to you): You should see the damage done to Leischen's shoulder, though. I'm guessing she won't post photos, but will at least post video of her shooting on her blog. The shooting done, everyone headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a reception that would honor the Sara Jackson and Morris Weinstock award winners. It was somewhat ironic that Frank Burke, of USA Alarm Systems, was cajoling us into attending on the bus ride back from the skeet shooting, telling us what high and illustrious awards they were, only to find him stepping up to receive the Jackson award with tear-filled eyes. He was also talking about how great it was to work with his sons, and then there they were to surprise him upon receiving the glass trophy. Great moment for him. Note also that Burke won the CAA's George Weinstock award in 2006. He's piling up the hardware. Also a nice moment for Scott Colby, president of the Louisiana BFAA, who took home the Weinstock award. Unfortunately, his wife is ill and wasn't able to be with him, but you could tell he was extremely moved by the award. The one thing I can unequivocally say for this industry is that it's a tight-knit one. In some ways, it can seem like a throwback to the 1950s, with so much grey-haired, white-male involvement, but you can't deny that people make you feel welcome here and know how to put on a great party. In the Hall of Fame, with the busts of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and Dolly Parton surrounding us, there was a palpable feeling of good will and friendship that went beyond a business association. I think that's the kind of emotion that doesn't come through during an ISC West or ASIS show and what makes this new ESX event so important.