ORLANDO, Fla. — The commitment to offer continuing education to its members, as well as its advocacy on behalf of the security industry within the state of New Jersey, helped the New Jersey Electronic Security Association (NJESA) take home the coveted “Chapter of the Year” title at the recent Electronic Security Association (ESA) Leadership Summit.
The win came as a shock to the first-time victor.
“Obviously we’re honored, but we’re also humbled with this national attribution,” NJESA President Joseph Parisi tells SSI. “If it wasn’t for the support of our members, board of directors, executive director, and of course the national ESA team, our success wouldn’t be possible.”
Established in 1977, the association represents 325 member companies throughout the Garden State. In an effort to model the national association and to broaden its membership, the organization changed its name from the New Jersey Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
“Our members voted on the new name,” says Parisi, who is also senior account manager for Rapid Response Monitoring. “The members felt that the new name aligns us with our national chapter, but it also better defines exactly what we do. Our new name properly represents the diverse offerings of our member companies.”
Making sure its associates had the most comprehensive, in-depth training was the main priority for NJESA, which recently hosted its annual convention — geared toward continuing education — in Atlantic City for more than 600 attendees. While many of the courses focused on handling business operations and new technology, code compliance classes are really the fan favorite, according to Parisi.
“We bring in instructors to train the security industry, and these gentlemen also train the code enforcement within the state of New Jersey, so we get that crossover. We’re using an extremely high level of expertise when it comes to our training sessions,” he explains.
At the request of its members, the chapter is currently in the process of revamping its successful training program. The group plans to introduce an entry-level educational boot camp course to show new ones the ropes of the electronic security industry. Additionally, in an effort to recruit a younger generation into the trade, NJESA has collaborated with Lincoln Technical Institute, a national vocational school.
“By partnering with Lincoln Tech, we’re bringing in some of these students who are hand selected by administrators to become a student member of NJESA,” Parisi says. “From there, we’re going to introduce them to the members and help them with job placement. It allows us to bring new blood to the industry.”
Another major focus for the group is its lobbying efforts. With the NJESA executive director’s office located across the street from the state capitol, the group has the opportunity to work with state legislators and administrators more often than average. Last year, NJESA, which has a full-time lobbyist, worked closely with Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) voicing concerns about municipalities beginning to monitor residents, third party monitoring of false alarms and the exemption of telecommunications companies from the licensure law.
“We want to work with these telecoms and cable companies, but we also want to even the playing field,” Parisi says. “If they’re going to be doing the type of work that our members are doing, they should follow the same regulations and licensing requirements.”
Parisi also shares that in 2009, NJESA played a big role in changing the international building code that allowed integrators to install low-voltage smoke detectors in residential homes.
“For a short period of time, integrators could only install high voltage smoke detectors, so we helped to reverse that. That was a huge win for the entire industry,” he says.
Because of all the effort that the association puts in to help the trade, Parisi encourages those who have not joined their state association to do so without hesitation. He notes that the aim of industry associations is to look out for the best interests of installation companies.
“These organizations lobby on behalf of the industry. Some of the larger organizations are changing things like automatic renewable contracts or licensing regulations, or putting a voltage restriction on the type of electronics our industry can touch,” he says. “Some [who have yet to join state associations] don’t realize how important it is until it’s too late; they’re not watching.”
Other 2013 ESA Leadership Awards winners include:
- Chapter Executive Director of the Year — Michelle Best, ESA of Utah
- Chapter President of the Year — Lynn Comer, ESA of Virginia
- Newsletter of the Year — “The Monitor”; Tennessee Electronic Security Association (TNESA)
- Web site of the Year — Arizona Alarm Association (AzAA)
The ESA/NTS Instructor of the Year award was dedicated to Paul Baran, a long-time co-chairman of the education committee who died in November. The accolade was presented to Dave Eller of ITZ Solutions.
Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION magazine. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.