SSI Hall of Fame: 25 Dynamic People Who Shaped the Industry Since 1979

Ever wonder how things might have been different if a particular person had not existed?

We have. In fact, we believe it is the truest measure of a person’s impact and importance. That’s why, in observance of Security Sales & Integration‘s 25th anniversary, we consulted several noted authorities to identify 25 irreplaceable individuals who shaped the electronic security industry since SSI‘s inception in 1979.

Accomplishments – not popularity or politics – served as the main criteria. With an industry as rich with wonderful innovators and dedicated luminaries as this one, we generated many more names than space permits us to include. However, it’s understood that any undertaking such as this is bound to generate debate about who did and did not make the cut. That’s part of the fun!

So while the list that follows is by no means comprehensive, we believe it provides strong cases why those on it deserve to be among the pantheon of industry greats. These very special people are also the first inductees into the new SSI Hall of Fame for Distinguished Industry Service, which will enshrine honorees on an annual basis. Congratulations to all!

Tom Auth

Current Status: Owner/CEO, Vomela, St. Paul, Minn.

Career Highlights
– In 1967, earned degree in accounting from Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
– In 1969, earned graduate degree in business from Univ. of Minnesota
– Worked as CPA for Touche Ross & Co. from 1969-75
– In 1981, invested in National Emergency Action Team (NEAT), which became National Security Team (NST)
– In 1983, changed company name to Interactive Technologies Inc. (ITI)
– Sold ITI to Swiss company in 1989, reacquired it in 1992
– In 2000, merged ITI with SLC Technologies to form Interlogix
– In 2002, GE acquired Interlogix

Why He’s on the List
– In 1980s and ’90s, ITI was at forefront of industry’s technological change in residential segment
– As CEO, set strategy and business development activities of ITI and many of its customers
– Achieved year-over-year revenue growth in 19 out of 20 years
– Preached need for change in how installing dealers did business
– Developed strong, loyal dealer network

Comments & Reaction: “I would like to be remembered as the leader of a team that wouldn’t quit. During my years at ITI, I met many creative, talented, bright people who we cooperated with, and many we competed against. To be considered in their company is an unexpected honor.”

Robert Bargert

Current Status: Deceased, March 27, 1993, age 68

Career Highlights
– Served in U.S. Navy during WWII
– Graduated from Univ. of Michigan, 1950
– Served as time study engineer for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit
– Joined J. Walter Thompson Advertising as copywriter, worked with Lee Iacocca on Mustang intro
– Became editor of Rental Equipment Register in L.A.
– Hired as copywriter for Morse Signal Devices
– Moved on to editor of Security Distribution and Marketing (SDM)
– In 1979, founded Fortuna Publishing and became editor of Alarm Installer & Dealer (AID)

Why He’s on The List
– Started AID out of his Calabasas, Calif., home
– In AID, the antecedent of SSI, spent decade establishing publication representing voice of alarm dealers and installers
– Widely known for not pulling any punches
– Launched L.A.-based event called “THE Security Show”
– Supported and contributed to state alarm association events
– Instrumental in launch of National American Alarm Association (NAAA)

Comments & Reaction: “I always work at giving back to this greatindustry that has given so much to me” – Bob Bargert. “I’m sure Bob would be very proud and honored to be included in SSI‘s list. But he would probably say there were many others that deserve it more!” – Yvonne Bargert, Bob’s wife.

Glen Barnard

Current Status: CEO, Constellation Real Technologies LLC, Denver

Career Highlights
– Developed strong background in real estate and managing home building companies
– Co-founded The Alert Centre with Larry Welch
– The operation was industry’s first dealer program provider
– The Alert Centre was acquired by ADT in mid-1990s

Why He’s on The List
– Key figure in Alert Centre’s establishment of industry’s first national independent dealer network
– Provided capital to industry by monetizing monitoring contracts
– Provided accurate, consistent market value for recurring revenue generated by industry
– Increased overall level of technology, professionalism in remote monitoring business

Comments & Reaction: “It is a validation of the concept created by Larry Welch and the business co-founded by the two of us. I believe the concept will continue on with further penetration of the residential market.”

Robert Bonifas

Current Status: President/CEO, Alarm Detection Systems Inc.,
Aurora, Ill.

Career Highlights
– Alongside brothers, toiled away in father’s supermarket until grocery business became difficult for small independent operator and family decided to get out in 1968
– Having self-installed a burglar alarm system in that building, which family still owns today, was intrigued by ad for “Dictograph Security Systems” franchise
– Investigated it and ultimately went into alarm business

Why He’s on the List
– Widely recognized as industry supporter and activist
– Spearhea
ded battle to keep phone companies from entering alarm industry for 5 years, beginning with 1996 Telecom Act
– Ensuing fight with FCC to stop Ameritech from acquiring more alarm companies was continuation of that battle
– Past president of National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) and Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)
– Co-founder of the Security Network of America (SNA)

Comments & Reaction: “Most geographical markets have a very strong,very well run, profitable independent company such as ours, which, so long as the family sticks together and continues a strong work ethic, will survive profitably for generations to follow. It is a great honor to be among this list of 25 peers. I thank whatever group of people in your organization made this mistake!”


Current Status: Chairman, Labor Saving Devices Inc., Commerce City, Colo.

Career Highlights
– Beginning in 1968,worked for American Sentry, starting in sales and moving up to GM of operations
– Three years later, founded Guard-Allsecurity Centers
– Started second company called Silent Sentry Systems
– To ease installation frustrations, he designed and  manufactured drill bits, spade lugs and other wirepulling tools
– In 1978, sold Silent Sentry Systems
– In 1982, sold Guard-All Security Centers and started Labor Saving Devices Inc. (LSDI)

Why He’s on the List
– Industry leader in enhancing art of wire and cable installation
– Began LSDI out of home with a credit card, offering five specialized tools
– Spent 15 years delivering live training
– Compiled comprehensive training series on video
– Continues to design new tools addressing changing needs of professional installers.

Comments & Reaction: “I would like to be remembered as the ‘guru’ of professional installers, someone who pulled the art of installation out of the
Dark Ages of fish tape and drudgery and into a more enlightened, innovative and creative era of professional installation using advanced tools and effective techniques. I am honored to be recognized. My heart has and always will be in the security industry.”

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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