SSI Editors Become a Class Act

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. In other words, this quote by Algerian-French novelist Albert Camus means the absence of knowledge is never a good thing; ignorance is NOT bliss!

Security Sales & Integration believes in this philosophy. Not only do we go the extra mile to educate and inform our readers, we do everything possible to heighten our own expertise.

By covering the industry daily; traveling to several meetings, conferences and exhibitions yearly; constantly speaking with dealers and suppliers; visiting readers; accompanying installers on installations; interacting with SSI‘s Editorial Advisory Board and other luminaries; attending seminars; and scouring all media, our editors strive to comprehend every aspect of the electronic security industry.

We immerse ourselves in your business because we believe it better qualifies us to assist you. Recently, we have pushed ourselves even further by attending the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) National Training School’s (NTS) Certified Alarm Technician course to become certified.

Our editors found the class, which includes 24 hours of instruction and culminates with a 50-question exam, well worthwhile. The NBFAA is to be applauded for assembling the solid curriculum, which was presented by an instructor who made it both interesting and enjoyable. Mark Falkiewicz, a 15-year Brink’s Home Security veteran, brought the material to life with patience, personality and plenty of real-life examples.

I also appreciated the NTS experience because it afforded me the opportunity to hang out with the guys who drive the trucks – the installers and technicians. The camaraderie brought back fond memories of my prior life as a cable-TV installer, when crawling through attics and fishing wire was part of the adrenaline rush of a seamless installation.

In speaking with these young people, I found that they had taken some interesting paths to our industry.

One guy looked at it as a way to escape a dead-end job at Lowe’s. Another followed his father’s footsteps into accounting, only to discover he was more cut out to read VOM meters than balance sheets. Still, another was a former marine who served in the Gulf War and felt fulfilled to be in a line of work where he was helping safeguard people. The common thread was that they had all found a rewarding career they enjoy.

One of the most startling aspects of the class was that, aside from SSI staff, the approximately 20 students were exclusively Brink’s employees. When I asked Falkiewicz why that was, I received a disturbing answer. He told me that he rarely sees non-Brink’s employees in any of the classes, despite notifying the local associations and offering discounts!

In this case, Falkiewicz said the California Alarm Association (CAA) was informed about the course and allotted five spots at a reduced rate. Yet, as has been the case with most other states most of the time, no one from any of the CAA companies enrolled. If not for Brink’s, perhaps the program would disappear altogether!

This was an astounding revelation, when time and time again – whether it’s at a major industry function or SSI‘s Dealer Survey – security practitioners lament the lack of training. Considering there are many existing sources besides NTS, I am starting to believe this may be more of an excuse than a legitimate void.

My advice? Stop complaining! It’s time to fill the empty chairs and take advantage of the training that’s out there right now, TODAY. It’s the people that make the company; make sure yours are more knowledgeable than the next! Kudos to Brink’s for providing a strong industry role model, but I hope to see more balance when I take Level 2.

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