Introducing the SSI Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2021
SSI’s Industry Hall of Fame hails those who have contributed most significantly to the security industry. Here are 2021’s inductees.
Photos and VideosView Slideshow
Keith Baird | Senior Director of Sales, National Accounts, Resideo
- Born in Endicott, N.Y., in 1958
- One of three brothers, father was a chemical engineer for IBM, mother a homemaker
- Engaged to Honeywell Security’s Shellie Redden; has a college-aged daughter
- Other honors include Phi Beta Kappa national honor society; received award for work with local Multiple Sclerosis Society chapter
- He is a wine connoisseur, stemming from working in a wine shop his freshman year of college
- Says if career had taken another path he might have followed footsteps of fellow SUNY Oswego alumni Linda Cohn and Steve Levy and pursued sportscasting
- Other interests include golf, travel, cooking and reading
Why He’s on the List
- 35+ years leading with class and by example to guide and mentor teams of young professionals that built future industry leaders, and working tirelessly to support myriad trade associations including AIREF, ESA, SIAC and CAA
- Security industry start began in 1984 when SSI Industry Hall of Famer Ben Cornett hired him as West Coast sales manager for Blue Grass Electronics, which was acquired in 1995 by ADEMCO (Pittway), itself then acquired in 2000 by Honeywell, and recently spun off into Resideo
- Executive sales roles include Blue Grass Electronics (1985), western V.P. for ADEMCO (2001), national accounts V.P. (2004) and senior V.P. (2012) for Honeywell (2004), and national accounts V.P. with Resideo (2018)
- Uncommon resiliency, adaptability and perseverance to stay the course through multiple and significant reorganizations by one of the industry’s largest suppliers, greatly contributing to its retention of strong dealer relationships
- Recruited by SSI Industry Hall of Famer John Jennings several years ago, he has served as an influential board member of AIREF (now FAST), including co-chairing an annual golf outing tied to ISC West that is critical as the organization’s only fundraiser
- Industry accolades include CAA Mark Schubert Award finalist (2004), CAA Mid-California Alarm/Silicon Valley Alarm Member of the Year (2004) and CAA Mark Schubert Memorial Award finalist (2015)
Keys to Success
“I am genuinely interested in people and what makes them tick. I enjoy learning about people and hearing their stories. Clearly, I am not one of the technical wizards of the industry, so it behooves me to listen to others and learn from their knowledge. If you are not open to new ideas the likelihood of remaining relevant and successful are minimized. So for me it has been easy to listen and be open-minded to new ideas.”
Learning From the Best
“First and foremost I owe [fellow Hall of Famer] Ben Cornett for having the faith in me to provide me the opportunity with Blue Grass in 1985. He was a great mentor and taught me most of what I know about sales and leadership, and certainly was instrumental in my success. Second would be my father. He taught me about responsibility and hard work. Nothing was ever handed to me and he clearly led by example. Tom Polson also belongs on this list. He reminds me of my father, very disciplined and holds you accountable. Tom was always a great sounding board and you always knew where you stood with him.”
Transitioning Honeywell to Resideo
“We need to be very aware of the impact this has on our longstanding dealer partners. It is incumbent upon us to deliver products and solutions that allow our partners to not just compete but thrive. As with any spinoff, the spin from Honeywell caused some disruption and it took some time for us to get our legs back under us. That has clearly been the con. On the pro side, we are no longer beholden to a corporate giant and have more control over our destiny. We no longer have to compete for investment dollars against the other Honeywell businesses.”
Super Memories Include Superman
“Back to my early days at Honeywell, ADEMCO always had great kickoff meetings. We had a creative marcom team that always made our openings memorable. One year it was a movie theme and I was picked to star in the Superman segment, wearing the costume and appearing as Clark Kent. We were filming a segment in front of our headquarters in Syosset [N.Y.] and [Hall of Famer] Roger Fradin was in the scene. Tony Martin was behind the camera and as we were getting ready to shoot he told me to turn around. When I turned to face the building all I could see were faces plastered to the windows with everyone getting a good laugh out of seeing me in Superman tights and a cape. I’m not sure it was one of my finer moments!”
The Ever-Evolving Industry
“One of the most significant industry trends has been the adoption of cellular communications due to the demise of landlines, and the resulting development of new products and services. Along with that, the transition from a security-focused, hardware-driven industry to a broader connected home environment that is driven more by software solutions than hardware. This has led to numerous new, deep-pocketed entrants that are clearly changing the landscape. As the new entrants get more embedded and gain market share, they impact the way traditional security company multiples are valuated. At the same time, traditional dealers’ RMR and account longevity has increased, so it has resulted in an interesting conundrum.”
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Security Is Our Business, Too
For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.
A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!