Hot Seat: Advancing Industry Best Interests
As chief technology officer and vice president of industry relations of ADT North America, Jay Hauhn has many irons in the stove on any given day. Hauhn’s work to advance and broker industry relations among disparate associations and other stakeholders has earned him much praise among his peers. Earlier this year he was elected into the SSI Hall of Fame, as well as honored with the William N. Moody Award by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).
How did you become involved with industry relations?
ADT needed to reengage in industry relations. We were only paying half attention to it, so they looked around and said, ‘Who knows a lot people in this industry?’ I ran product development and product management and had responsibility for all of our suppliers, so I was made vice president of industry relations.
Almost immediately it became very obvious to me that there was considerable room for improvement in how we dealt with all the industry associations. The first thing I did was to have ADT start to participate with the industry associations at the committee level. When they saw we were serious about participating, it quickly followed with invitations to be on senior levels within all of the associations.
When I first started attending all of the industry association meetings, it raised quite a few eyebrows. Most people were concerned about, ‘What’s ADT up to? They have to be up to something. They can’t be here for the good of the industry.’ So I had to climb more than a few walls.
It took a lot of involvement at all levels, particularly on the committee level, but the associations quickly saw the value of having ADT involved. Slowly but surely we were welcomed in and now I would say we are an integral part of all of them.
How did you go about building and winning trust?
I built trust by participating heavily in things that were for the good of the industry as a whole, not just for the good of ADT. It cuts across a lot of local legislation and local ordinances. For example, on the federal level our industry inadvertently was caught up in the Federal Energy Act where we would have to put in the same type of energy-compliant transformers that are used for cell phones. The industry should not have been caught up in that. ADT was at the forefront to get an exemption, which saved tens of millions of dollars for the industry.
What is most challenging about working with multiple groups that have such distinctly different interests?
The biggest challenge is parochialism — ‘Stay out of my world.’ Many issues affect the membership of multiple associations, and too often each of the associations want to own it. That often causes hard feelings. I enjoy being the statesman who works to bring them together to reach a common goal. That especially comes out with federal issues and federal legislation.
Do you end up brokering a lot of cat fights?
The leadership of all these associations are all very professional. [The friction begins] when each one starts going down a road by themselves, whereas if we come together we are going to achieve the goal quicker.
A good example of where the associations should come together is in federal licensing of employees. CSAA initiated an action that would legislate federal licensing for monitoring center agents. ESA would like to see the legislation include installers and servicemen.
In the end, being inclusive of all those employees would be ideal; however, we can probably get it done faster if we do a piece of it at a time.
What is your message to dealers who don’t volunteer in association work nor provide financial support?
This is my pet peeve, the fact that a majority of industry dealers don’t contribute a penny to industry associations, even at the state or local level. That is even when there is a local issue that impacts them directly. They all run for cover when it comes to writing even a small check.
There is no way to enforce participation and I’m not too sure what to do about it. It is a very fragmented industry. There are thousands of alarm dealers — under 200 of them contribute. For a mom and pop company with four employees, $100 to SIAC would help. A couple of the national companies don’t contribute their fair share either.
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