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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Smart-home product U.S. dollar sales grew 57 percent in 2016 compared with the prior year, according to recent findings from market research firm The NPD Group.

According to the study, security and monitoring products led the category, making up more than 60 percent of dollar share, with smart entry devices, such as smart doorbells, growing 171 percent in dollar sales and 206 percent in unit sales compared with 2015.

The market research firm said awareness levels of smart home devices have fluctuated, but cited the smart doorbell as a category that witnessed growth in both awareness and ownership; ownership of smart doorbells inched up 2 percent while awareness grew 4 percent.

According to IHS Markit, the global market size for video doorbells, which was at $78 million in 2015, is expected to experience a 28 percent CAGR over the next five years, with North America leading the way.

Video doorbells, many times, are a homeowner’s first foray into video surveillance in and around the home.

“Video doorbells are only just beginning to gain traction among residential consumers,” Anna Sliwon, analyst, residential security, IHS Markit, said in the study. “As the market continues its rapid ascension, partnering with video doorbell providers could prove lucrative for home alarm manufacturers and service providers.”

In the NPD study, networked video cameras led as the most commonly found product in smart homes. Nearly one-third of smart homes owned a networked video camera, and demand for multipacks of IP cameras grew 129 percent in dollar sales for the year.

“Network cameras have long been considered the entry point into the smart home, but growing demand for items sold in sets shows that the market is maturing,” Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group, said in a prepared statement. “We fully expect the next two years will see a broadening appeal of smart-home devices and estimate that the category will nearly double in that time.”

Voice command is also becoming more commonplace in smart homes, with nearly half of these homes using voice commands in some manner, and one-quarter using them to control a home-automation device, with Siri being the most commonly used digital assistant, according to NPD.

John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence, said one in five Amazon Echo owners use the device to control another device in their home.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Allied Universal, a national facility services company and security force with more than 150,000 employees, has acquired the security services portion of Yale Enforcement Services, Inc., a Belleville, Ill.-based company that offers a full range of solutions, including uniformed security professionals, mobile patrol, physical security and life safety. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“What we really liked about Yale is that they do very strong business in the healthcare vertical, and that business is spread throughout multiple regions,” Allied Universal CEO Steve Jones told Security Systems News. “And we feel we have a variety of really good service offerings to offer in that vertical.”

Yale was also looking to provide ancillary services such as electronic security systems and security technology, an area “that we are highly committed to, so we feel those customers will fit very nicely into our organization,” said Jones. “Also, our service offerings that we have will not only enhance the relationship but also be something that the customers are excited about and embrace.”

Yale Enforcement's 1,800-plus employees serve a range of vertical markets including healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, warehouse/distribution, commercial real estate and retail throughout the Central, Midwestern and Southern states.

"Allied Universal sets the industry standard for professionalism and we know our security services clients will be well taken care of," Barbara Yale, president and CEO, Yale Enforcement said in a prepared statement.

On the acquisition front, the company “will continue to be inquisitive in 2017,” said Jones. “We plan on making at least one but hopefully two, sizable acquisitions in the security systems space by the end of the year as well.”

With the mega-merger in August between Allied Barton and Universal Services of America, 2016 was a very busy and successful year for the combined companies.

“We are now fully integrated, so we are completely rebranded and integrated,” said Jones. “We achieved the goal of doing that is six months and also made three other acquisitions and got some good mid-single digit organic growth, so we are pretty excited about all of that. In 2017, we project that we will end the year in 2017 somewhere between $5.2 - $5.3 billion in revenues and that is without any additional acquisitions.”

Allied Universal also announced a partnership with the Clery Center, a national, non-profit training and policy organization dedicated to creating safer campus communities, to develop video-based training tools for line campus public safety personnel. The roll-call training program for campus public safety and security professionals is scheduled to be released during National Campus Safety Awareness Month in September.

As a leading security services provider to the Higher Education sector, Allied Universal services nearly 200 colleges and universities at over 500 campus locations nationwide.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Biometrics are coming of age, and 2017 has the potential to be a big year for the continued adoption of biometric technologies, according to Acuity Market Intelligence, which released its "Ten Top Trends for Biometrics and Digital Identity" for 2017 this week.

"Biometrics and digital identity are often perceived as threats to privacy and security," Maxine Most, Principal of Acuity Market intelligence said in the announcement.. "However, taken together these technologies have the potential to enhance privacy, increase personal data control, and shift power relative to the monetization of consumer data."

No. 2 on the top ten list is iris biometrics, which will have a "breakout year as smartphone availability drives consumer acceptance up and price points down,” according to Acuity.

This is not surprising. During Security Systems News’ Battle of the Biometrics session at last year's TechSec Solutions conference, our panel of expert judges chose iris technology as the top pick over other biometrics, including fingerprint and facial. This year at TechSec, which is Feb. 27-28 in Delray Beach, Fla., the reigning champion from last year's session, Blaine Frederick, VP of product management for Eyelock, returns to continue the conversation with Jeff Kohler, product line and business development director for Princeton Identity, as they look at how lower price points are increasing demand and opening up new applications across many different verticals.

Another interesting finding, and one that does not surprise us here at SSN—the creator of the Cloud+ conference—is the rise of cloud-based biometrics.

According to Most, “2017 will be a tipping point as cloud-based biometrics, secure mobile credentials, and fintech innovation coalesce into consumer-centric solutions offering previously unobtainable levels of accessibility, security, and individual control over PII (Personally Identifiable Information)."

The following is Acuity's ten top trends for biometrics and digital identity:

1. Behavioral biometrics on smartphones, and the associated privacy issues and PII concerns, become mainstream.

2. Iris biometrics "breakout" as smartphone availability drives consumer acceptance up and price points down.

3. Security impact and liability implications of PII via IoT (Internet of Things) begins to influence Enterprise Executives.

4. Cloud biometrics are recognized as critical Infrastructure for global digital payments and commerce platforms.

5. Links between digital identity, smartphones, and mobile and stationary smart devices begin to be monetized.

6. New monetization models for digital identity emerge, shifting power from commercial enterprises to consumers.

7. Secure mobile smartphone credentials drive infrastructure development with migration from tests and pilots to deployments.

8. Many fintech innovators are swallowed by BFSIs thwarting their impact on industry transformation.

9. A handful of fintech standouts, committed to disruption, emerge as potential threats to the status quo.

10. Biometrics and digital identity begin to be understood as forces for social justice, equity, privacy, and accessibility.

 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The vision of the truly intelligent home where your security system and all of its connected smart home devices, from Siri to your stove, can be controlled by your smart phone, is starting to become a reality.

This leap in technology is good news for the industry, and good news for dealers, who are finding that this brave new world of connected devices is fueling interest in security systems, especially from customers who want to know how the two can work harmoniously together. And this is making for “stickier” or more loyal customers.

Following Parks Associates’ research that came out of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month showing approximately 26 percent of U.S. broadband households today now own a smart home device—up from 19 percent at the end of 2015—several more studies on the growth of the smart home have popped up.

For example, a new report out this week from Zion Market Research, titled “Smart Home Market: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, and Forecast, 2016-2022,” finds that the global smart home market—valued at around $24.10 billion in 2016—is expected to reach approximately $53.45 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 14.5 percent between 2017 and 2022.

“The advanced technology has enabled various devices to be connected and controlled by one device and this technology is used by smart homes. Homeowners are enjoying more convenience and comfort from basic security monitoring and customized access to window coverings, appliances, lighting, irrigation, entertainment systems and many others," according to Zion. "Prominent drivers of smart home adoption are energy efficiency, home security, entertainment, convenience/productivity, remote health monitoring and connectivity.”

Speaking of connected home appliances, the U.S. market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.47 percent during the period from 2016-2020, according to another study released this week, this one by Wiseguyreports.com.

“Connected home appliance companies are focusing on the untapped consumer segments to boost market revenue,” according to the study. “The market is expected to witness rapid growth in the forecast period due to the increased awareness of connected devices.”

Just when you thought that there couldn’t be another report on connected home devices, there is even one on the global smart home shade market, which is also set to grow rapidly in the coming years. According to Technavio, the global smart shade devices market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 90 percent during the forecast period from 2017-2021. The study considers revenue generated from the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) of smart shade devices to individual customers in the global market to calculate the market size.

Region wise, North America leads the market, holding a share of almost 50 percent in the market (2016 figures).

“The region is currently witnessing an increased adoption of smart homes and related devices, owing to the benefits associated with their use,” according to Technavio. “Additionally, consumers are increasingly adopting window-covering products that can be controlled automatically or by the intervention of electronic remote control equipped with wireless technology or by smartphones and tablets. These factors are impacting the high penetration rates of smart shades in the market segment.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AMAG Technology, Inc., a G4S company headquartered in Torrance, Calif., announced this week that Kurt Takahashi, senior vice president, sales, has been promoted to president.

Takahashi, who began at AMAG in February 2015, successfully grew the business through his management of the sales, sales engineering and business development teams.

Prior to AMAG, Takahashi was the vice president of global sales and marketing at Quantum Secure, helping increase the global pipeline and revenue growth.

Takahashi told Security Systems News that he looks forward to helping AMAG Technology sustain the strong 20 percent year-over-year growth the company experienced from 2015 to 2016. 

“We had a great year and part of the reason why we have had good growth is because the industry is now starting to understand that AMAG is more than just an access control company,” he explained. “That message is really starting to resonate, because if you look at the growth of the company, we grew in every category of our business.”

Last year, AMAG released its Symmetry product line with Symmetry GUEST, the company’s web-based visitor management system, and Takahashi said he will continue to focus on delivering unified solutions that will help end users mitigate risk, meet compliance requirements and reduce costs.

“Our visitor management solution, which is a hosted service, is more than just a basic visitor management system—it is a policy-based system that has lots of full-featured integrations with third party products with calendaring systems,” he noted. “It automates how we manage different types of visitors, whether international visitors or different types of MBAs or safety certifications or acknowledgements, and things like that—really automating the experience of how companies actually manage their visitors.”

This year, the company is going to be releasing a rewrite of its Symmetry Connect platform. “We are looking forward to releasing that this year and that is going to help us to automate all of the onboarding and off-boarding and audits and compliance requirements for a lot of our customers.”

He pointed out that the success of these products can be attributed partly to the effort the company has put toward understanding the needs of its customers.

“We spend a lot of time sitting down with our customers in the command center next to the guard or the officer watching every click, asking, ‘How do I simplify it?’ These are the things that we are building into our application to simplify that process, whether it is through Connect or through new applications that we are building to augment things within Symmetry.”

He said that the company also gets a lot of great feedback and direction from customers at its annual AMAG Security Engineering Symposium. This year, the event is being held from Feb. 17-20 at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas.

“That is really a big event for us that helps us determine if we are on track or if we need to make some adjustments,” he said. “We invite consultants, integrators and end users all to the same event and we feel that the collaboration of all three entities brings tremendous value to us in terms of how we define what features need to be changed within our application, what new types of technology or products need to be looked at, from either developing it ourselves or seeking out another third party to enhance their experience.”

In the spirit of new ideas, the company is releasing around mid-year 2017 a new Linux-based security panel called Crypto, which Takahashi said is “moving toward a much more nimble, flexible API that is incorporating more Web services, so it makes it easier for us to make updates and add new integrations with other third party companies,” he explained. “So it gives us more flexibility down the road and puts a lot more technology in the panel. We are looking at some good increases in that area for our business.”

He continued, “Overall, we are going to continue to look at the industry as a whole and see where we can enable new technology.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

LAS VEGAS—With the 2017 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show wrapping up on Sunday, it is always fun to see what technology trends are coming out of the show and how these will influence the security industry.

Over the past few years, the smart or connected home has made its way into the fabric of the show, growing in size and presence each year. Many prominent companies in the industry made big announcements at the show this year, including some notable unveils from ADT, Vivint, Alarm.com, Nortek Security & Control, Bosch, and Z-Wave Alliance, which featured its Z-Wave Experience Smart House demo area.

Vivint CMO Jeff Lyman told Security Systems News, “The show was marvelous for us—we doubled the size of our presence there this year having learned a lot from doing it last year for the first time in 2016. We were really pleased with how the show turned out. There is a large smart-home presence at CES, and it is a growing section of the show.”

Lyman also talked about the company’s big announcements at CES, most notably Vivint Sky, the company’s new smart home assistant that uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to manage all of the devices in a connected home. Vivint Smart Home also announced a new Flex Pay option with Citizens Bank, as well as partnerships with Airbnb and Vivint Solar.

Steve Connor, director of product marketing for Nortek Security & Control, like Lyman, pointed to the growth of the smart home at CES, telling SSN, “The Smart Home section had solid traffic and this time we saw a lot of our dealers, which was nice, and different from past years. The show went very well for us and we had some big announcements.”

Most notably, Nortek Security & Control unveiled its new 2GIG Vario Hybrid Security System, which Connor said is the culmination of “a lot of hard work and innovation.” The complete Vario system consists of a security control panel with on-board hardwire inputs and outputs, which can add wireless capabilities to take advantage of 2GIG’s existing wireless solutions. [Note: An article on this is coming soon, so check back on the site over the next few days for my full interview with Connor.]

Another top provider on the residential side, ADT, made a big splash at CES this year as well, making several announcements including expansions to its Canopy platform, which brings the company’s professional monitoring to various smart device partners in an on-demand offering, as well as new integration partners and ADT Anywhere. ADT also announced that its Canopy offering will be available with the launch of LG’s Smart Security product—an all-in-one security and home automation device with video capabilities. Also at CES, ADT announced integrations with Samsung’s Gear S2 and Gear S3 smart watches.

CES also offered glimpses at the future, with self-driving and autonomous cars, including one unveiled by Bosch with biometric capability, as well as drones and robotic technology as part of an overall security system solution.

Speaking of drones at CES, Alarm.com announced at the show plans to develop autonomous, video-enabled drone applications to extend the capabilities of smart home and business security systems. Alarm.com’s multi-sensor awareness and property intelligence, together with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform, will deploy drones to investigate unexpected activity. The drones will be designed to autonomously navigate through the property and provide a high-resolution video feed to the property owner. Alarm.com also unveiled at CES its Insights Engine, a multi-sensor learning capability that recognizes and proactively responds to unexpected activity around a property.

I look forward to speaking with Alarm.com's chief product officer Dan Kerzner later this week to get more on this interesting development for the company.

And while we are on the topic of new and emerging technologies, I would be remiss if I did not get in a shameless plug for SSN’s TechSec Solutions show, where we will be looking at how to leverage new technology over a day and a half of educational sessions, networking and product displays. Click here to register and get the early bird discount!

Hope to see you at TechSec in Delray Beach, Fla., Feb. 27-28!
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Security Systems News is excited to announce this year’s TechSec Solutions educational program and keynote speaker—Jack Wu, co-founder and CEO of Nightingale Security, an innovator in the area of robotic aerial security.

In his keynote, Wu will look at the current and future role robotics has in security and potential applications across many different verticals. Wu co-founded the company with John Hsu, whose vast experience in aeronautics and astronautics, Ph.D. from Stanford University and work at SpaceX on Falcon’s navigation system provide the technological vision and know-how that helps drive the company’s advancements in aerial robotic technology. Come see the company’s latest security drone up close and personal in Delray Beach, Fla., Feb. 27-28.

Beyond the keynote, we are tackling some of the bigger technology trends that are impacting the security industry today and will continue to shape the industry in the future, from IoT and big data to biometrics and mobile access. And, of course, cybersecurity and the cloud will make it into many of the conversations as well.

As a new and emerging technologies conference, the underlying theme for the educational program is looking to the future of technology—where we are and where we are going and how the industry can leverage these advances. We will also be looking at where the industry is in terms of standards and best practices.

For example, this year's session entitled, The Future of IoT: Taming Security’s Wild West, will delve into how the Internet of Things or IoT is a virtual wild west, and is transforming into the Internet of Everything (IoE). This session will try to make sense of it all, looking at what is being done in the area of standards, best practices, interoperability, cybersecurity and more, led by panelists Neil Lakomiak, director of business development & innovation, UL; Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-wave Alliance; Jon Lewit, communication committee chair, ONVIF, and director of technology leadership, Pelco; and integrator Jim Coleman, president, Operational Security Systems, Inc.

For more details on TechSeec Solutions and to register, click here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of global companies deploying the Z-Wave smart home standard, is adding a security requirement to its long-standing interoperability certification.

According to Mitchell Klein, Z-Wave Alliance executive director, the Alliance Board of Directors voted to mandate all devices receiving Z-Wave Certification after April 2nd, 2017 to include the new advanced Security 2 (S2) framework, an important addition to the Alliance’s certification program that will require manufacturers to adopt a stronger level of IoT security.

“The recent spate of hackings and DDoS and other things going on are more or less happy coincidences and not motivation on our part, and the reason I put it that way is because something as complex as the S2 Security protocol that we’ve established has been in development for more than four years,” Klein told Security Systems News. "No one can afford to sit on their hands and wait—consumers deserve IoT devices in their home to have the strongest levels of security possible. IoT smart home technologies that don't act will be left behind."

Klein said that the update is backwards compatible, so any devices that are running on the current chip sets can be firmware updated to include S2 without having to make any hardware changes, and the updates can be pushed.

“The reason why we moved forward with it is because we wanted to ensure that as we got more and more complex devices, and more and more complex systems, that security becomes a base part of all devices and everything in the system,” Klein explained. “In order to achieve that, we had to take it up a level and make sure that it is going to run on the current chip set, so that our members don’t have to go and change or redesign hardware.”

Z-Wave's S2 framework was developed in conjunction with cybersecurity hacking experts, giving the already secure Z-Wave devices new levels of impenetrability, according to Klein. “We are so confident that this is hack proof, that we actually post the S2 protocol on the website and it is publically available,” he said.

Klein said that by securing communication both locally for home-based devices and in the hub or gateway for cloud functions, S2 also completely removes the risk of devices being hacked while they are included in the network. By using a QR or pin-code on the device itself the devices are uniquely authenticated to the network as well. Common hacks such as man in the middle and brute force are "virtually powerless" against the S2 framework through the implementation of the industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH), he said.

Finally, Z-Wave also strengthened its cloud communication, enabling the tunneling of all Z-Wave over IP (Z/IP) traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel, removing vulnerability.

By changing the way security is implemented, Klein said that there are a number of improvements. “You will find that the response time from things like door locks, which actually had to require authentication, is much quicker, and with much less overhead (single exchange as opposed to a back and forth exchange),” he said.

For 2017, from a technology perspective, Klein said there will be discussions about a new generation Z-Wave chip. “We have a lot of things up our sleeve on what that is going to do and I think that is going to put a lot of smiles on people’s faces,” he said.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

News continues to pour in on the portential of cloud-based services, especially on the heels of Security Systems News' Cloud+ conference, which brought early adopters of the cloud together in Austin, Texas, to look at how the security industry will continue to adopt and leverage the cloud, not only to increase RMR but to provide better and more cost-effective solutions for customers.

Many of the Cloud+ speakers, from integrators and consultants to end users and manufacturers, highlighted the many challenges of educating people on the benefits and solutions the cloud can provide within security, such as in the management of data and video, two areas expected to see tremendous growth over the next few years.

According to new findings from global research firm IHS Markit, based in London, the video software market is expected to rise from $6 billion in revenue in 2015 to more than $9 billion in revenue by 2021.

According to the new Video Software, Security, and Analytics Intelligence Service from IHS Technology, the atomization of media distribution and the switch from hardware-based technology solutions to cloud implementations are key drivers for the $3 billion in revenue growth over the next five years.

“Taken together, these two forces have created a market where value is shifting towards the frontend,” Cecilia Zhu, analyst at IHS Technology, said in the announcement. “A superior user-experience has become fundamental to securing increased consumer spend.”

Globally, content security accounts for 32 percent of the digital video software market, according to IHS.

“While demand for robust security solutions is unlikely to deteriorate,  particularly in the presence of high-value UHD and HDR content,  the segment is effectively saturated,” Zhu said.

By contrast, Online Video Platform solutions will continue to generate large, year-on-year returns through 2021. “The necessity of online distribution backed by a platform pre-integrated across a rich ecosystem of partners, means demand for OVP solutions will rise over the next five years,” Zhu said.

According to IHS, North America is the key region for the video software market, generating roughly $2.9 billion, and the region’s value relates primarily to confluence of three factors: the presence of large media companies, their outright scale, and their sheer number.

“The region’s economic dominance should not, however, overshadow the existence of cutting-edge video services in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and the technology demand that these services generate,” Zhu said.

According to the research firm, Cisco has a 15 percent share of the video software segment, the largest globally. “The company has proven adept at transitioning into the video space, and at using its longstanding presence in core, metro, and access-network infrastructure to cross and upsell video-specific software,” Zhu said.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The one common lament I hear from those in the security industry today—from dealers to integrators to end users to manufacturers—is how difficult it is to find good young professionals.

Many of our Class of 2016 “20 under 40” winners, both in the integrator and end user categories, are great examples of what this next wave of young security professionals are capable of, and many are involved in their local chapters of organizations such as ASIS International, SIA and ESA, which recently held its Rising Leaders Forum at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., an event that was designed to gather rising leaders and industry veterans to participate in a leadership and team-building program.

Terry Peters, CEO and founder of Leader Solutions and Decision Support LLC, developed the team-building program. “Leadership is the art of influencing people in such a way as to gain their willing desire to accomplish the mission,” he said in the announcement. “Leaders are followed because their actions impact the environment in which they operate and people see them as a catalyst to achieve the desired outcome.”

This ESA event included multiple hands-on activities that turned strategy into action. It began with a fitness boot camp where attendees teamed up. Groups worked together to accomplish physical tasks such as carrying a makeshift gurney and 150-lb ‘dummy’ while exercising mental skills in communication and adaptation. Peters led a “lively” keynote presentation discussing leader development, team building, and change management from a Special Forces perspective, ESA said in its announcement.

Michele Monheim of Eastern States Sentinel Alarm Services said in the announcement, “The Rising Leadership Forum had a different spin than the usual trade show. It gave us a chance to get to know each other better in a more relaxed environment and look at leadership in a different perspective. Great job on the event and thank you for a great experience.”

The Leadership Development Discussion Panel featured Kirk MacDowell, vice president of platform sales at Alarm.Com, Bruce Mungiguerra, senior vice president of operations at Moni, and Greg Simmons, co-owner and vice president at Eagle Sentry. This team was joined by Robert Few, director at Charter Communications-IntelligentHome, as moderator for a group exchange of real-world experiences, implemented best practices, and industry-specific leadership strategies.

The YSP Rising Leaders Forum was center stage for the culmination of ESA’s Class of 2016 Mentorship Program. There were group presentations highlighting workforce development, customer lifecycle and experience and corporate social responsibility.

“The YSP event in Stevenson, Washington was the culmination of a wonderful nine-month experience,” Mentor Don Childers said in the announcement. “Working with my mentee was an absolute joy. And now, I not only have business contact, but I have a friend for life that I would not have had if it were not for this program. A truly wonderful experience and I thank everyone involved.”

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