COVER FEATURE: Associations Give You the Upper Hand

A lot of the success of and positive things about the electronic security industry can be traced back to the efforts and actions of its trade associations. Cynics may argue this point, but detractors are often the ones who don’t participate in associations anyway. They are like bleacher bums who, insulated by the anonymity of the crowd, heckle no matter how the home team plays. They don’t seem to grasp the tremendous trials and tribulations with which associations must contend.

For starters, by their very nature trade associations are immensely difficult organizations to manage. Typically, you have representatives from competing businesses coming together who must put aside their differences and self-interest for the common good of the industry. That’s why members, particularly those who volunteer their time in an administrative or leadership capacity, are more deserving of cheers than jeers.

As the industry has evolved and become more complex, so too have the myriad issues facing industry associations. Integrated systems, IT-security convergence, homeland security, standards, legislation, false alarms, shortage of skilled labor, public relations, education and training, and new industry entrants are just some of the daunting challenges keeping association leadership on their toes.

To make matters worse, maintaining, let alone growing membership, can be an overwhelming undertaking. Despite the well-worn truism about there being strength in numbers, it is somewhat disheartening to realize that the vast majority of industry professionals do not belong to any association.

Fortunately, groups such as the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Int’l, Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), National Alarm Association of America (NAAA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), PSA Security Network and Security Industry Association (SIA) have committed leaders in place who are ready to face these issues head-on.

In seven interviews conducted roundtable style, Security Sales & Integration spoke at length with these association’s presidents: Frank Spivey (ASIS), John Murphy (CSAA), Gene Riddlebaugh (NAAA), George Gunning (NBFAA), James Shannon (NFPA), Bill Bozeman (PSA) and Bill Gorski (SIA).

These stalwart industry patrons explain the benefits of membership and how their organizations are addressing the industry’s critical issues. To read what they have to say, Click Here (opens new window).

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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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