Who’d I see at the show? Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo

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05/28/2010

I made the trek down to Marlborough, Mass yesterday to the Northeast Security & Systems Contractors Expo. While it’s only a two-hour drive from Southern Maine where I live and work, this is the first time I’ve been to the show.

I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a nice, regional show. Some I spoke to said the traffic was lighter than in years past and chocked that up to the economy. “A lot of guys don’t want to even take a morning away from work,” one manufacturer said to me.

Still the parking lot at the Royal Plaza Trade Center was full. I had to park around the corner in the hotel parking lot. And I saw scores of trucks with So-and-so’s Alarm company logos, so it appears that the people who attended the show, were the people who the exhibitors would want to talk to. And that’s what I heard from several exhibitors.

So, who’d I see? Well, I spoke to Russ Ryan, a veteran show producer, who produces the show for New England Alarm & Controls Council. That’s him below in front of the CentraLarm Booth, which was the biggest and fanciest at the show.

Ryan told me that the booth count was up almost 20 percent. Last year there were 95, and this year, there were 111. The number of attendees was expected to be about 900, a number that stays the same “plus or minus 20 people” year after year, Ryan said.

Russ Ryan, producer of the Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo

Russ Ryan, producer of the Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo

 

I went by the System Sensor booth and had a chance to talk to Dave Lyons, VP sales U.S. for System Sensor, who told me that this is “one of the best regional shows in the country, and Richard Roberts, System Sensor industry affairs manager, and one of my go-to sources for fire stories of all kinds. Roberts knows his technology, but more importantly for me and for you, he knows how to describe how things work in plain English …. a talent I greatly appreciate. Roberts had just finished giving a seminar about CO detection, something that’s mandated in Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire.

Talking with Dave and Richard was John Lombardi, of CIA Security in Fishkill, N.Y., and one of the education chairman of ESX. I had just interviewed John last week for a story about the education program at ESX.

John Lombardi (l), Richard Roberts, Dave Lyons

John Lombardi (l), Richard Roberts, Dave Lyons

At the Massachusetts Systems Contractors Association booth, I spoke with Susan Sullivan, office manager for MSCA and Julie Robillard. Robillard is regional account manager for Centa-Larm, which is just over the border in N.H., but she used to work for MSCA, so she was helping out at the booth. Sullivan said that they were recruiting new members (they had five possibilities on hand when we spoke) and talking to members about MSCA’s educational offerings.

Susan Sullivan, (l) and Julie Robillard at the MSCA booth

Susan Sullivan, (l) and Julie Robillard at the MSCA booth

Walking around the corner, I knew I was at USA Central Station Alarm booth before I read any signs. Want to know how I knew? Those of you who know Bart will be surprised to find out that there were photographs of Bart Didden all over the place. Everywhere I looked in that booth was Bart! The real Bart was apparently at the show, but off property when I stopped by.

I did have a chance to talk to Joyce Rosito, who runs USA’s Milford, Conn. central. Joyce and others at the booth were serving up red, white and blue cobbler (cherry, apple and blueberry) to passersby.

Joyce Rosito served blueberry cobbler at the USA Central Station Alarm booth

Joyce Rosito served blueberry cobbler at the USA Central Station Alarm booth

 

Around the corner was Broadview Security’s booth. Not exactly hopping.

showbroadviewbooth

Next, I had a very interesting conversation with Brian Seeman at Resolution Products. I’m going to write a story about Seeman, who is former engineer from ITI, and his one-year-old company that makes alarm peripherals and “takeover translators.” He’s got more than 100,000 of these in the field after just one year in business. They enable peripherals and panels made by different manufacturers to talk to each other. Summer sales companies love them, and the traditional alarm dealers are catching on too, he said.

Brian Seemann, president of Resolution Products

Brian Seemann, president of Resolution Products

I talked to several others, but the last photo I have for you is of Matthew Bergeron and Dorothy Pimental of Nexgeneration Central in Rhode Island. In the last year, they’ve gone from being a strong regional central to being a national company. Interesting story that our monitoring editor, Dan Gelinas will be talking to them about.

Dorothy and Matthew at NEXgeneration Central's booth

Dorothy and Matthew at NEXgeneration Central's booth

All this and, while I haven’t lived in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since I was in my 20s, I can still drive 495–even as rush hour is approaching–with the other natives.

Stop and go, slow down, speed up , cut off, curse. I can still do it–all but the cutting off and cursing, of course.

Nice to know I can still do the drive, though I surely don’t miss it. And nicer still I managed to get back to Maine and find the middle school where my son was competing all in time to see him flying over that high-jump bar.