The California Alarm Association (CAA) was thrilled to welcome 40 dealer companies and 44 exhibitors to its annual Summer Convention, which was held at the Hilton Palm Springs Resort in the California desert town on May 18-20.
The attendance numbers far outdistanced any previous records for the event, according to Harvey Eisenstadt of DS Radionics and CAA’s associates director. “Usually we have about 25 to 28 dealer companies attend, but this really shows how much faith is growing in CAA,” he said. “And the 44 vendors is amazing. We usually get 20-25 vendors to sign up for the event without making a phone call, then we have to fill out the rest of the exhibit space by calling vendors and really pumping the show. But this time, all 44 vendors decided to be here without any extra prodding.”
The event, which was preceded by meetings of the Western States Security Alliance and the CAA board of directors, kicked off on Thursday evening, May 18 with the Opening Exhibits and Reception. More than 100 people were in attendance to look at and chat about the many products and services being exhibited. CAA President Tony Smith welcomed all attendees, while those on hand sampled the fine array of finger foods and cocktails. Many in the crowd that evening later went out to enjoy the warm temperatures at Palm Springs’ Thursday night street fair, where crafts, produce and other items were for sale on the city’s main drag, Palm Canyon Drive.
Friday morning dawned with another round of open exhibits, while visitors were treated to a fine breakfast. The CAA’s General Session drew close to 150 attendees to hear reports on legislative matters, legal tips, conventions, training programs and more. CAA Secretary Todd Schwenk gave an inspiring report on the Livermore Project, and George De Marco, president of Irvine, Calif.‘s Greater Alarm Co., started a slew of funding for the issue, by presenting a $1,000 check from the Orange County Alarm Association (OCAA). By the end of the show, more than $12,000 had been raised.
The remainder of Friday’s agenda was filled with seminars, including a panel discussion on working with institutional and corporate clients, a presentation on motivational speaking, and “Market Outlook in the West,” which was presented by Security Sales Senior Editor Thomas Haire.
Following a lengthy late afternoon break, attendees and their families gathered on the Hilton’s pool deck for an evening of “Hollywood in the Desert.” Following a refreshing cocktail reception at sunset in the near-100-degree heat, a dinner of filet mignon and lobster was served while the Moonlight Orchestra provided swinging sounds for dancers.
The final events of the convention were on Saturday morning, when an early morning desert walk was followed by the breakfast meeting entitled “Industry Incorrect.” The meeting was a panel discussion moderated by Alan Pepper of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. Before the day was over, many golfers among the assembled throng braved the 110-degree afternoon temperatures to play in the CAA Golf Tournament on Arnold Palmer’s Legends Course at Tahquitz Creek.
Organizers and attendees were more than pleased with the event, which not only provided valuable information, but plenty of networking opportunities and a wonderful weekend getaway in the desert oasis.