The Texas tour

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06/02/2010

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So I’m off in Dallas right now. SSN associate publisher Gregg Shapiro and I took a trip down here so we could each visit our different peeps. It has been an interesting trip so far, let me tell you.

Of course, we thought we’d beat the universe at it’s game, have our cake and eat it, too, so to speak and work a full day (a mostly full day) before heading over to the Portland International Jetport for a 6:45 p.m. flight out to Atlanta and a connection to DFW. No problem, right? Well, unfortunately, nothing ever goes as smoothly as we expect.

before the problems start popping up, I can say the trip started off nicely as I bumped into new up-and-coming MC Ryan Peters, AKA Spizzy Spose, on his way to Atlanta. We chatted a little bit at bag check in and he was originally slated to sit right behind me–we were going to talk rhymes and rhythms for the whole flight–but apparently they made a mistake and sat him in the wrong seat and he was displaced by some woman… oh well. He was a very polite and down-to-earth guy.

Anyway… Flight left Portland late, got into Atlanta late. We boarded the connecting flight at around midnight, sat there for a bit and then the copilot came over the speakers and was, like, “Two things: The captain’s not here yet and we came up with a discrepancy in the pre-flight check, so we may change planes.” Now, I’m not even really sure what it means that the captain isn’t at the plane yet: he’s a busy guy, I’m sure. And I’m not sure what a “discrepancy in the pre-flight check” is either, but neither bodes well, I’m sure… Oh, and as much as a pain in the neck as it is to change planes, please switch us if there’s even a chance there might be something wrong. So we deplane and replane at a different gate and by that time the captain has arrived and we can take off.

The flight to Dallas was actually pretty relaxing despite the fact that probably 45% of the passengers were toddlers. Once we get to Dallas we sit on the runway for a while waiting for our terminal to be cleared of a sitting plane… lots of sitting and waiting…

Thankfully, Gregg’s taken advantage of some awesome deal at Hertz where you check in ahead of time and your car’s waiting for you at the rental center and all we gotta do is hop in our Nissan Sentra and go… Unfortunately, they’ve never heard of Gregg and they certainly don’t know about any Nissan. Gregg handled the situation like the consummate gentleman, which is better than I would have handled it… Keep in mind that it’s like 2:45 in the morning…

Gregg filled out some paperwork and we were told to go to slot 42, where our Lincoln Navigator was parked… Lincoln Navigator? Keep in mind, I drive a little Japanese import and Gregg’s cruising the streets of Maine in a hybrid.

We stumble outside to parking space 42. No Navigator… We put the bright idea together that we should start looking around the lot for the specific license plate number of our behemoth. We do that for about 5 minutes before we realize, “Hey we could be out here all night.” Keep in mind it’s 2:45 a.m., which is really 3:45 a.m. Gregg went back in and I don’t know what happened, but when he came out he had the keys to a bright red 2010 Chevy Camero. Free upgrade to replace our Sentra-cum-Navigator. Nice.

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There was something surreal about driving around the industrial complexes surrounding DFW at 3 a.m. listening to the GPS tell us in a British accent where to turn, the snarky-toned direction floating through the dash-lit cockpit of our bitchin’ Camaro

We got to the hotel and checked in for a few hours sleep before the sun rose on our first day of meetings. And what a day it was.

I began with a trip to Texana and a sit down with Sean O’Keefe. We talked for a bit about this and a bit about that. I’m working on a market trends piece to which Sean contributed greatly. The two of us then headed to nearby Denton where we had lunch (blackened catfish, garlic mashed potatoes and fried okra with sweet tea) with Denton Police Chief Roy Minter.

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Chief Minter also provided an interesting law enforcement perspective to my particular topic of verified alarms, false alarm reduction and industry/municipality relations.

Sean was hard at work when I arrived at the Dallas office of Texana Security.

Sean was hard at work when I arrived at the Dallas office of Texana Security.

 

After lunch with Sean and Chief Minter, it was back to the hotel where I met up with Gregg so the two of us could pay a visit to Southwest Dispatch.

Gregg and I compared notes about our meetings so far and Gregg revealed he also had a meeting with a law enforcement individual–though his was not planned beforehand and did not involve corn bread and fried okra… too bad… There may or may not have been hand cuffs involved. Keep in mind, Gregg WAS driving a pretty awesome Camaro… It was totally the car’s fault.

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I met Southwest VP Ty Davis back in November 2008 at CSAA’s Fall Ops Management meeting in Peabody, Mass. It was nice to see him again and meet another Southwest VP Brant Pierce. They also provided valuable input and source material. They gave us a tour of the center, as well–a pass time I always enjoy. I wrote about Southwest and their quest to become a completely paperless central station last month. Ty and Brant say the battle to go green is going well.

We were with Ty and Brant for a while during which time the conversation covered many topics of interest. We left that meeting with barely enough time to make it over to our next meeting: A dinner appointment with MonitronicsMitch Clarke, Leah Shafer and Renee Mallonee. I wrote about Monitronics quest to ‘create good citizens’ last year in the wake of all the door knocking hubbub. I also interviewed Mitch for ssnTVnews at ISC 09 and have had the opportunity to catch up with on the phone many times since then. It was really nice to catch up and talk about trends in the industry, where technology was (or was not) leading us, and what we could all do to stay relevant. Another good meeting characterized by valuable insight and good food. (the Seafood Angel Hair at Brunos was excellent!)

Tune in tomorrow to see how my meeting with Safeguard/Stealth goes… I’ve heard from Safeguard’s Michael Lagow, and he’s promised me meetings with a whole bevy of security execs. I most recently wrote about Safeguard & Stealth’s quest to bring stability to Mexican city of Hermosillo. Tomorrow promises to be another productive day!

Comments

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<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 15th, 2010 at 12:53 am </span></span></p>
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<p>[...] into Texana&rsquo;s Sean O&rsquo;Keefe, and met up with SSN associate publisher Gregg Shapiro (whom you&rsquo;ll recall joined me on a wild tour of Texas a couple weeks back), CenterPoint Technologies&lsquo; MJ Vance, [...]</p>
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<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 5th, 2010 at 9:49 pm</span></span></p>
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<p>[...] who have been following along with this blog know associate publisher Gregg Shapiro and I had some crazy times down there in the land where everything (including the Lincoln Navigator Hertz tried to give us at [...]</p>
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<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 4th, 2010 at 5:14 pm </span></span></p>
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<p>Yeah, it was pretty cool&hellip; I don&rsquo;t have a pic of the historic meeting &lsquo;cuz I felt like too much of a little fanboy asking him if I could click a pic of us cold chillin&rsquo;. But we WERE cold chillin&rsquo;, homes. (Do the cool kids still talk like that&hellip;?)</p>
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<p class="comment_time"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);"><span style="font-size: x-small;">June 4th, 2010 at 6:30 am</span></span></p>
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<p>@Cameraman: No it&rsquo;s not, dude. Don&rsquo;t lie.</p>
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<p class="comment_author">June 3rd, 2010 at 10:02 am</p>
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<p>[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ari Erenthal, Daniel Gelinas. Daniel Gelinas said: Day one in Dallas? Interesting. Day two promises good meetings as well. Check out the updates at Monitor This: <a linkindex="82" href="http://bit.ly/b6tcqN" rel="nofollow">http://bit.ly/b6tcqN</a> [...]</p>
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<p class="comment_author"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);"><span style="font-size: x-small;">June 3rd, 2010 at 8:46 am </span></span></p>
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<p>You met the greatest rapper ever to come out of Maine? That&rsquo;s awesome.</p>
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<p class="comment_author"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);"><span style="font-size: x-small;">June 3rd, 2010 at 8:40 am </span></span></p>
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<p>Thanks Leah! You too. Looking forward to our tour today. Thanks for the comment.</p>
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<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(192, 192, 192);">June 3rd, 2010 at 8:24 am </span></span></p>
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<p>Great to meet you both last night!</p>
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