Sour Economy Can’t Dampen Spirits at CAA Winter Convention

SAN FRANCISCO — The flagging U.S. economy may have been a central point of many discussions at the California Alarm Association (CAA) Winter Convention & Western Security Conference in San Francisco, and yet the downturn did not chill the enthusiasm of the more than 300 attendees.

Held Dec. 11-13, alarm company operators were joined by leading product vendors and other service providers at the Hilton San Francisco for networking, social activities, educational sessions and other official goings-on.

During a business management forum, Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network, said the business climate in the East Coast region is particularly difficult.

“People who didn’t bust our chops over a point are now really busting our chops,” he said. “We’re especially seeing softening in access control.”

Felix Gonzalez, vice president of strategic initiatives at Stanley Convergent Security Systems, was a featured panelist at an executive forum. Gonzalez said Stanley recently polled 8,000 of its customers to determine, in part, how the economy will affect business.

Lending a bit of a silver-lining to the economic mess, Gonzalez said the majority of respondents reported that during the next 24 months they would not be changing their intentions for making security purchases.

The social highlight of each CAA Winter Convention is the tribute dinner, where the 2008 George A. Weinstock Award was given to Tony Smith. The lifetime achievement honor recognizes Smith’s decades-long leadership through work with associations on the local, state and national level.

Master of ceremonies for the formal affair was everyone’s favorite funnyman Ron Spiller, who led a rollicking, sometimes touching roast of Smith and other industry notables.

The 2009 Winter Convention will again be held at the Hilton San Francisco, Dec. 10-12.

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