We all like to think that by the time we exit this world, we’ll have accomplished something great that we’ll be remembered by. But let’s face it, most of us are not going to make it into a Who’s Who or rate a Wikipedia page for what we’ve done in life. That’s why I found this tribute to fire dealer Larry Esch, who died last summer, so touching. It’s a good reminder of what really counts in life: getting the little things right—in this case, fire panel by fire panel.
Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection of Waunakee, Wis., wrote the tribute and sent it to Security Systems News. He writes beautifully of a person who set a standard for quality when it came to life safety. Here’s what Carter had to say:
I am writing this letter to recognize an industry professional who went above and beyond to make our industry better. Larry Esch was the owner of World Security of Harvard, Ill., an NFPA 72 Code Committee member, and an industry veteran for nearly 40 years. Larry passed away last summer.
I met Larry through our fire alarm manufacturer’s dealer conventions where he instructed other dealers on the importance of setting a quality standard in their alarm installations.
In these sessions, Larry showed photos of poor, improper, and non-compliant installation examples, citing the codes and illustrating why the examples did not comply with the codes. He then continued on to show examples of very clean, professional code-compliant systems installed by his company. He noted the difference and educated the class on how his company had completed these installations.
Larry emphasized that he was not telling anybody in the class “how” to install an alarm, simply that it was important that EVERY fire alarm installing company set a standard on how they want their systems installed. He stressed that without setting a standard and ensuring the technicians installing the system follow that standard, quality cannot be guaranteed.
Shortly after his passing I received a call to service a fire alarm installed by Larry’s company. I am a NICET level IV alarm professional with 21 years experience servicing thousands of fire panels, installed by multiple different companies, and this alarm was the cleanest, most organized, easiest to service installation I had EVER seen!
Words simply cannot describe how neatly every wire was terminated and labeled. The installation was EXACTLY as he had shown in his training class. Although it was the very first time I had stepped foot on the job, his installation was so clean and easy to follow that I was easily able to service the system. I took photos of the panels and use them to illustrate proper panel wiring when training my technicians. We use this as OUR quality standard!
Not only did Larry always make himself available to other alarm dealers with questions, he made the effort to make us all better at what we do. He always stressed, “Set a standard,” and lived by that standard himself.
Larry taught an important lesson and set a standard we can all learn from. Our industry needs more Larrys! He made a difference.