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De Fina: A forward-looking industry veteran

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Like others here at Security Systems News and across the industry, I was saddened to learn of Frank De Fina's death.

Over the past 10 years I got to know Frank and I admired him a lot. He was a great businessman who knew his technology and the security industry inside and out, but one of the reasons I liked talking to him is because he knew as much about music and art as he did about IP video.

And more than just talk about music, he was a musician. If you've been to PSA-TEC, you've probably enjoyed watching Frank play guitar at Bill Bozeman's annual PSA Jam. Here's a link to a 2010 performance.  And here is a photo of Frank playing at the House of Blues in Chicago at ASIS a couple of years ago.

Frank was a security veteran—he spent more than 30 years in security—but he was not one to pine for the good old days of the security industry.

He welcomed a challenge and he was forward-thinking.

Recognizing that the security industry is too gray, too male and too white, he worked to prepare the security industry for a financially healthy and vibrant future in many ways.

He was a mentor to many, he was active in security industry associations, and he was the driver behind a security college degree program at Mercer County Community College, which will launch in September.  De Fina worked with the Security Industry Association, Northland Control's Pierre Trapanese and System Sensor's Dave Lyons on the idea. The two-year program  will combine security-specific training, liberal arts and business classes and will lead to an associate's degree in applied sciences. 

As the industry “aggressively moves into IP, these new [degree-holding] professionals will be well equipped to fill upcoming positions,” De Fina told me in an interview. He was excited that the new degree program will expose young professionals to the security industry, an industry that most college students do not know about. Noting the "tremendous lack of diversity in the security industry," De Fina said one of the reason organizers chose Mercer County Community College for this program is because it “draws a higher-than-normal percentage of African Americans, Hispanics and women."

Frank did great things at Panasonic and Samsung and he was poised to do the same at Hikvision, but he leaves a legacy that goes way beyond impressive profits and sales goals achieved. As SIA CEO Don Erickson pointed out "he put forth ideas and proposals that would strengthen the industry rather than any one single company." 

And I think he had fun doing it. Frank De Fina was a multi-talented guy who was one of the most well-liked and respected people in our industry. He will be missed.



Ray Dean joins MSA Systems Integration

Dean will work internally with MSA SI staff and externally with manufacturers, consultants

NEW YORK—Ray Dean, who was most recently with Stanley Security, has joined MSA Systems Integration here as SVP.

Are integrators about to board the train?

A railroad safety committee is evaluating the safety and investigative use of cameras, recording devices in locomotive cabs

WASHINGTON—The Security Industry Association is backing the development of standards that would address the installation and use of inward- and outward-facing cameras and recording devices on locomotive train cabs.

Silent Knight fire/CO detector wins top SIA honors


NORTHFORD, Conn.—Silent Knight by Honeywell’s IntelliKnight SK-FIRE-CO fire and carbon monoxide detector has been named the top fire/life safety solution in the Security Industry Association’s New Product Showcase (NPS) competition, the company announced in April.

A smart move by ISC, SIA and the WSC

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is an old-fashioned industry in too many ways, so I'm always thrilled when I hear news like this: the Security Industry Association, ISC and the Women’s Security Council will be awarding a full scholarship for a woman student enrolled in the new Mercer County Community College security degree program in 2015.

“This scholarship program is made possible with financial support from SIA and ISC and we are incredibly honored by their support and generosity,” Rhianna Daniels, founding committee member of the WSC, told me. “The overall goal of the program is to increase diversity in the industry and allow more women to gain access to the great opportunities available in today's security market.”

The scholarship was announced at the Women’s Security Council reception at ISC West by Ed Several of Reed Exhibitions, which produces ISC events, and Don Erickson, CEO of SIA.

“The lack of women in the security industry is not a new problem, but in this role [CEO of SIA] I really believe it’s something we need to draw more attention to. This is a small example of how we’re doing this,” Erickson said.

The Mercer County Community College security degree program will be launched in the fall of 2015. It is a two-year program that will award degrees in: project management; security integration; product technology and security sales.

A SIA committee came up with the idea for the program last summer. Key participants on that committee are Dave Lyons of System Sensor, Pierre Trapanese of Northland Control Systems and Frank De Fina of Samsung.

De Fina said the industry continues to struggle to find qualified candidates, even though jobs in this industry pay well and offer advancement opportunity.

In addition, De Fina said there’s a “tremendous lack of diversity in the security industry” and said one of the reason organizers chose Mercer County Community College for this program is because it “draws a higher-than-normal percentage of African Americans, Hispanics and women,” De Fina said.

SIA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mercer and is in the process of recruiting industry professionals to teach courses at Mercer.

De Fina pointed out that high grades in the associates degree program at Mercer can lead to a bachelor’s degree. “If you go through the program with a 3.5 GPA or better, you’re assured spot in a four-year program at Rutgers [University],” De Fina said.

Both the scholarship and the degree program are smart moves for the security industry. Congratulations to SIA, ISC and the WSC.

SIA applauds pending school safety initiative


SILVER SPRING, Md.—A school safety measure included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 could help grow investment in school safety, according to the Security Industry Association.

SIA, County Executives of America to share resources


SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association and the County Executives of America have signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to share resources to bolster public safety and emergency management, according to a Dec. 18 announcement.

SIA applauds house passage of TSA Reform Act


SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association lauded the House of Representatives for unanimously passing the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (H.R. 2719), which would require the TSA to implements practices and be more transparent about procuring technology.

Security and the shutdown

Erickson: Continuing resolution is best outcome for security industry; SIA working to mitigate effect of shutdown on integrators

WASHINGTON—There’s no doubt that the government shutdown has affected the security industry, and the best outcome at this juncture would be a long-term continuing resolution, Don Erickson, CEO of the Security Industry Association told Security Director News.

Elizabeth Hunger: Finding inspiration in the Beltway

For the fifth consecutive year, SSN is profiling women who are making their mark in the traditionally male-dominated world of security. Elizabeth Hunger, manager of government relations for SIA, is one of seven women featured.

WASHINGTON—Coming from outside the industry isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. That’s something Elizabeth Hunger knows firsthand, having transitioned to the industry after serving three years as a program advisor for a global health project funded by the United States Agency for International Development or USAID.