SSI Industry Hall of Fame 2024: Kirk MacDowell, MacGuard Security Advisors

MacDowell earned his spot in the Hall of Fame for decades of service to the security industry, including on the SIA and TMA boards.

SSI Industry Hall of Fame 2024: Kirk MacDowell, MacGuard Security Advisors

Our 2024 SSI Industry Hall of Fame class is highlighted not only by hard work but also for its service to the physical security industry.

Perhaps no one is a better example of that than MacGuard Security Advisors CEO Kirk MacDowell, who joins Kelly Bond, Aria Kozak and Andrew Lanning as the first four inductees this year, with one more honoree set to be unveiled tomorrow.

SSI created the Industry Hall of Fame in 2004 to celebrate the highest achievers and the legends in our ranks…to spotlight the people whose imprint on the security industry is indelible.

This week, we’re adding five more incredibly deserving honorees to the SSI Industry Hall of Fame ranks, saluting their remarkable careers and their ongoing service in the overarching mission that unites us all — namely, the imperative to keep people, their families and their property safe.

Each of this year’s inductees exhibits the core characteristics that any SSI Industry Hall of Famer must possess: integrity, honesty, commitment, the zeal of an advocate and the unselfishness of a volunteer.

We asked each one to write in their own voice about what their keys to success have been, who their role models are, what their most cherished memories are and what they’d like their legacy to be.

The Kirk MacDowell Hall of Fame File

  • Born 1954 in Santa Monica, Calif., youngest of three children
  • Father worked in aerospace and then for the Episcopal Church; mother was a homemaker
  • Married to Sheri for 31 years, with four children and four grandchildren
  • Earned a B.S. degree in public administration from the University of Southern California
  • Eagle Scout and former cub and scout master
  • Has served on numerous industry boards, including SIA, TMA, SIAC, AIREF and ESA’s Leadership Identification and Nominating Committee as chairman
  • Honors include ESA’s Sara E. Jackson Award and SIAC’s William M. Moody Award
  • Served in law enforcement, which he left to enter the security industry; however, continued to serve as a Reserve L.A. County sheriff’s deputy for 29 years, retiring as a lieutenant
  • Other interests: spending time with family and friends, wine tasting, car shows, mentoring others and being a grandpa
  • Role models: George Weinstock, Bob Haskins, Merlin Guilbeau, George DeMarco, Ken Nelson and Kelly Bond

Why Kirk MacDowell in the SSI Industry Hall of Fame

  • Founded an alarm company in 1982 with less than $1,000 and grew it 300% with 72 employees; named one the fastest-growing security businesses in Los Angeles and recognized as the best new business of the year in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  • Led a top 50 SDM Magazine company, Post Alarm, for seven years
  • Past president of the Los Angeles Burglar and Fire Alarm Association
  • After many years as an entrepreneur, joined General Electric Security at age 50; was selected Business Leader of the Year with team sales of $198 million
  • Served as chairman of SIAC and worked with staff to accomplish key goals: focused commitment to SIAC’s relevancy to the industry and fiscal conservatism during the pandemic
  • Has served on the boards of SIA, TMA and private industry corporations

SSI Industry, Hall of Fame

Keys to Success

“The most essential trait of a leader is integrity, which, I believe, is a key to success.  Integrity breeds trust, and, if one is trusted, one can build strong teams where taking calculated risks is encouraged, communication is transparent and success is jointly shared with the team. For someone who desires to become a Hall of Fame inductee, live your life with integrity.”

“Collaboration and a concerted effort to listen, especially in trying times, have helped me see other people’s opinions and rationales. This skill will serve one well when working in large corporations, industry associations or personal relationships.”

“Lastly, try to always place the needs of others first. It can be the hardest but also the most rewarding.”

Enduring Memories

“We had a company-wide sales meeting in Miami while working at GE Security. I had a team of nine, and two of them did not show up for our team meeting until 1pm, after an extravagant night out on the town. When they walked in, I let them get settled in and, without missing a beat, asked them to review their sales plans for the next year, as the rest of the team had done in the morning. I never brought up their tardiness, nor did I chastise them verbally in front of peers or in writing. It sent a strong message. They were never late to any team meeting again. And, many years later, they each confided independently of the other that this act of leadership impacted them both for years.”

Hall of Fame Words of Wisdom

“I spoke at an industry meeting circa 1995 and mentioned a phrase I frequently use: ‘my pleasure.’ I use it instead of saying ‘no problem,’ which are two negative words. Many years later, an individual told me that his successful integration company had been built using the mantra ‘my pleasure.’ That made me feel great.”

“In the early days, I knew every one of my customers by name. As the company grew, so did the staff, and I remember having seen a check made payable to my company for an alarm installation. The check was from someone I did not know. At that moment, I realized I had a ‘real’ company.”

Hall of Fame

Making Our Industry Better

“I would like to see more organized mentoring by seasoned professionals in the industry. We need new talent, and FAST is doing a superb job unifying the industry’s efforts. What I’ve seen in my consulting practice is that there appears to be more emphasis on hiring new people rather than on retaining existing good talent.”

“I believe in mentoring talent and think more should volunteer to advise others. If we combine mentoring, talent retention, and recruiting new and energetic employees, it is a perfect trifecta.”

Kirk MacDowell and His Hall of Fame Legacy

“I would like to be remembered for my passion for the industry, as an ethical contributor, and as a solid mentor. And to be memorialized for a few of my stories, which are all true, by the way!”

Check out all of this year’s SSI Industry Hall of Fame inductees:

Then check out the stories behind all SSI Industry Hall of Famers since 2004:
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About the Author

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Dan Ferrisi has been a B2B editorial professional since November 2004, covering the audio, video, lighting and music industries since the beginning of his career. Getting his start with Sound & Communications, he ascended from assistant editor, to associate editor, to eventually lead editor. He served as editor-in-chief of Commercial Integrator from November 2021 through August 2023 before being promoted to group editor, commercial and security, gaining oversight responsibility of the Security Sales & Integration brand, as well.

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