To Form a More Perfect Union?

To form a more perfect union. These words, familiar to most, reflect a historic piece of American history — The Constitution of the United States. During times of war, division and turmoil, this document has solidified our nation and reminded us that united we stand, but divided we fall.

There were times in our history when many became wary of the actions being taken by our nation’s leaders and the democratic process and decided it would be easier to simply deviate from the plan and start over.

Thankfully, our nation’s leaders chose to staunchly stare adversity, opposition and division in the face. They firmly stood their ground, never abandoning or relinquishing our country to the hands of opposition.

The history of our nation speaks volumes of what time, commitment and democracy can achieve. But what may be more important here is how it correlates to the state of the electronic security systems industry and its representative associations.

NBFAA Learned From Past Errors
Currently, several associations represent security professionals. As the oldest and largest association of its kind, the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) is in many ways viewed as an industry leader.

For 56 years, we have represented the interests and livelihoods of security professionals by working in cooperation with fellow industry associations, law enforcement, fire officials and government leaders. And though NBFAA has stood the test of time, it has not been without moments of uncertainty, indifference and adversity.

During trying moments of our association’s history, many factors played into the day-to-day business practices and effectiveness of NBFAA. I would be remiss to not first look at past leadership, because I believe you must show accountability from the top down. And in my opinion, previous NBFAA leadership made business decisions that caused extreme financial concern; so much so that the association’s ability to exist was once in serious jeopardy.

Ultimately, this period of uncertainty proved overwhelming for some association leaders (victims of their own folly), as they chose to “abandon ship.” It is ironic to me that those same people are in the process of forming a new industry association.

Faux Associations Damage Industry
Being an industry veteran of many years — as a business owner, former president of the Louisiana BFAA, past NBFAA vice president and current executive director of NBFAA — I know the industry very well, and I believe that another association cropping up should cause industry concern. What we need is not a repackaged model of NBFAA, but more individuals committed to the betterment of the industry who will not throw in the towel simply because they do not agree with the majority.

To believe that starting a new association — under a new name, but with the same old leadership — benefits the industry disrespects those that remained with NBFAA, rolled-up their sleeves and put forth the tremendous effort to turn this association around. It also shows extreme disregard for the security professionals that entrust their designated association with their livelihoods.

The creation of another association provides no value to electronic security professionals and will further weaken and fragment our industry as a whole.

State Relationships Are Important
Though we at NBFAA put our members first, our partnerships with Chartered State Associations (CSA) are important as well. Anyone can promise and flaunt lower rates, but can they produce and deliver results? As a member of this or any other association, this is the question you need to ask.

You should be aware of the affiliations your state association has — are they standing firm with NBFAA and fellow CSA’s in a united effort or are they supporting those that will fragment and weaken? Contact your state association, make your opinion, voice and dollars count — they may be making decisions without your knowledge or approval.

The NBFAA has existed to represent electronic security systems professionals for almost 60 years; there have been good and bad times, but through the democratic process we will continue to be governed by the majority for the good and the welfare of the whole. We will uphold the legacy of our forefathers and remain united for a stronger and better industry.

At no time in our history has it been more important for us to remain united … because united we stand, divided we fall.

Guilbeau is the executive director of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA). He can be reached by phone at (301) 585-1855 or by E-mail at [email protected].

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