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Peer Power

A handful of security company CEOs have discovered how sharing ideas and best practices brings them greater success. Members of a peer exchange group explain what’s involved and the rewards to be had.

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It’s not easy being an installing security systems company entrepreneur these days. But some progressive and open-minded owners are finding the best way to beat the local competition is by cooperating with those running similar operations in other parts of the country. This enables the sharing of ideas and best practices for the common good. It’s an approach that has been embraced by the eight principals brought together through the PSA Security Network who now participate in a peer exchange group (PEG).

The group’s members are: Debbie Horvath, Reliable Fire Equipment Co., Alsip, Ill.; Kurt Kottkamp, Enterprise Security Systems Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Matthew Ladd, The Protection Bureau, Exton, Pa.; David Levine, Security Control Integration, Albuquerque, N.M.; Jeff Nunberg, Integrated Security Systems, Miami; Brian Sullivan, PASS Security, Fairview Heights, Ill.; Pat Van Haren, SecurAlarm Systems, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Bob Vezina, Life Safety, Buffalo, N.Y.; and David Watson, Arcom Systems, North Little Rock, Ark.

PEGs are comprised of eight to 10 leaders or executives who have no personal or business connections that might inhibit open communication. The group commits to a shared set of meeting processes and language protocols that diffuse the usual interpersonal issues or political obstacles that can make meetings a waste of time. In a PEG, ideally everyone gets heard and everyone learns from the experience.  

“The philosophy is, ‘If two heads are better than one, imagine the power of eight to 10 heads composed of peers who have great process for helping each other in a confidential, nonjudgmental environment,’” says Mo Fathelbab, president of Forum Resources Network in Alexandria, Va., and facilitator of the PSA PEG. “PEGs provide business and personal growth.”

While the main objective is gaining experiences to inform their work life, personal issues and growth inevitably occur when the group has achieved a trusting bond. Most participants say the communication tools they learn in a PEG are useful in every aspect of their lives. PEGs are commonly outgrowths of affiliations with professional organizations. In this case, PSA Security Network - the world’s largest integrator co-op - served as the vehicle.

Just ahead, members of the PSA PEG describe how and why this unique approach works, and the specific benefits others could realize by doing likewise.

Professional and Personal Growth

Members believe their participation in the PSA PEG, which began in 2006, is time and money extremely well spent. Even when entering the program with heightened expectations, they say the professional and personal growth they have gained has surpassed anything they could have imagined.

“My original interest was purely to improve my knowledge base and company by sharing of information and best practices with my peers,” says Kottkamp, a 20-year industry veteran who launched his company in 2001. “The nature of our group and our meetings, however, has allowed us to develop very close personal relationships in which we all are interested in seeing one another succeed. It has given me an informal board of advisors to help guide and grow my business.”

Horvath, who 12 years ago became president of the firm founded by her father in 1955, agrees.

“My participation in PEG has provided a new confidential board for me to work within business and personal situations,” she says. “It has grown our revenues, enhanced our opportunities, created improvements in processes and procedures, and has introduced me to other premier industry leaders I may not have met otherwise.”

For Van Haren, some initial trepidation quickly resolved itself into satisfaction and eager anticipation of further engagement.

“I was skeptical prior to the first meeting of the value I’d receive,” he says. “That feeling went away quickly during the first meeting and I’ve never had second thoughts. PEG is a trusted, confidential forum for team processing of ideas and/or issues with talented, caring professionals. The result is real, actionable steps for both personal and business growth.”

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Article Topics
Business Management · Business Tools · Features · Peer Exchange Group PEG · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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Business Tools, Features, Peer Exchange Group PEG

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