John Hakanson

SSI Hall Of Fame: 2010

Current Status
President, Honeywell Sensing and Devices (includes System Sensor)

Why He’s on the List

  • More than 20 years of leadership in electronic security, fire/life-safety and gas detection technologies
  • Only second president in history of System Sensor, serving in that capacity since 1997
  • Served six years as president/CEO of Sentrol, now part of GE Security
  • Among products credited to his leadership: SpectrAlert Advance notification appliances; i3 Series smoke detectors; Innovair duct smoke detectors; ExitPoint directional sounders; and broad range of addressable and intelligent sensors
  • Served on several industry association boards, most notably Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and Security Industry Association (SIA)

Keys to Success
“I have had two main mentors in my life, not in this industry, but excellent role models who showed me how to conduct myself as a person and a manager — to respect people. These mentors also prepared me to face challenging times — how to not be broken by them, but to learn and grow stronger from them. As a result, the difficult times in my career have provided me with a wealth of experiences that I believe have made me a better leader and a better person.”

How Things Have Changed
“When I started in the 1990s the big discussion in security was how cable companies would enter and dominate the industry, and take over independent dealers and installers. The technology trend of the time was around wireless and how smart homes’ consolidation of multiple technologies would dominate businesses and homes. However, neither the cable company domination nor smart home ascendancy developed as anticipated. The future of our industry will focus on three areas. First, the recession is going to put long-term pressure on local government to reduce expenses — this will increase the need for our industry to reduce false alarms exponentially. Second, consolidation of manufacturers and installers will continue along the trend lines already established. Third, new technology will continue to play a major role in shaping our industry, although in ways we cannot foresee today, similar to how the iPod’s eventual impact on communication was not clearly predicted or understood a few years ago.”

Participating in Trade Associations
“I was given the opportunity of being on SIA’s board in 1995. I was also asked to join CSAA’s board and did that for five or six years. These were enjoyable experiences where I met many security industry people. I saw this as an opportunity to explain that the issues faced by security dealers are different than those of manufacturing companies. Thus I argued that a combined association between security dealers and manufacturers was not in the best interest of either group.”

What People Might Not Know
He and his wife own and operate a farm, hotel, and restaurant in Venezuela. “This provides an endless amount of entertainment, stress and stories for us. It’s a lot of fun, although my wife does most of the dirty work.”

Biggest Wish for the Industry
“One of my biggest challenges, and the challenge for the industry, is to figure out a way to get fire systems to embrace technology at a faster rate than they have so far.”

Reaction to Being Inducted
“I am very proud of being selected. In large part, I owe my success and accomplishments to the many people I’ve worked with at System Sensor over the last 13 years. Most of these people are still in the industry and with System Sensor. I’m proud to be active with them to help guide our company into the future.”

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at

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