AAF Annual Convention Focuses on Education, Recognition

Alarm Association of Florida (AAF) annual convention in Orlando in early February features 60 sponsors and more than 200 attendees.

AAF Annual Convention Focuses on Education, Recognition

The Alarm Association of Florida held its 2023 AAF Annual Convention filled with networking and education for the 200+ attendees, along with industry recognition.

“First convention of any organization that I did not hear a single complaint — only praise. Hats off to all the volunteers that made the event a success,” said Rick Seymour, COO of Guardian Hawk.

The first day featured association meetings where real work was conducted to move AAF’s workforce development, training, and membership growth initiatives forward. Meetings were followed by the opening reception sponsored by Alibi Security and the Casino Night.

The event featured 3 General Sessions on Tuesday morning including:

  • Hiring & Retaining Talent in Today’s Environment—Panel discussion facilitated by Rick Seymour and sponsored by TEKsystems Global Services
  • Keynote: Workplace Security—Recognize. Respond. Survive.—Presented by Andy Sexton
  • Tax Credits—When & How to Take Them—Presented by Mitch Reitman

Attendees poured into the tradeshow floor on the second day and spent valuable networking time with manufacturers, distributors and service providers.

“The Florida Alarm Association convention is a well-organized event that is well worth attending. I was able to connect with alarm companies who could mutually benefit from a partnership as well as existing vendors that we already do business with. There are ample opportunities for networking and learning!” said Sarahi Sanpedro, Senior Manager, Regional Partnerships with Brinks Home.

AAF Elects New Board, Recognizes Members

AAF held the Annual General Assembly Membership Meeting and elected new officers to the Board of Directors. The officers were installed during a special ceremony on Tuesday evening. The new AAF officers include:

  • President—Grady Medcalf
  • Vice President/President-Elect—Marvin Smith
  • Secretary—Adam Martin
  • Treasurer—Mark Astrom
  • Past President—Jorgia Wooten
  • Director at Large—Rick Seymour
  • Director at Large—Danny Harrod
  • Director at Large—Ed Greer
  • Associate Director—Jake Voll

AAF also brought back its prestigious awards program during AAF Honors Evening on Tuesday, February 7 to recognize members and volunteers that give so much to the industry and the association. The recipients include:

  • The 2022 AAF Youth Scholarship Recipient: Justin Millican
  • The 2022 AAF False Alarm Reduction Award Recipient: Doug Bassett, Executive Director, Head of Licensing & Compliance with Comcast
  • The 2022 AAF Life Safety of the Year Recipient: Chandra Mitchell with COPS Monitoring
  • The 2022 AAF Central Station Operator of the Year Recipient: Barbara Basile with COPS Monitoring
  • The 2022 AAF Support Person of the Year Recipient: Jerry Todtenhagen, Vice President, Client Relations with Orlando Emergency Signal
  • The 2022 AAF Technician of the Year Recipient: Terry Huston, Technician with Crime Prevention Security Systems
  • The 2022 AAF Salesperson of the Year Recipient: Russell Minns, Regional Manager with Crime Prevention Security Systems
  • The 2022 AAF Marketing Genius Recipient: Katia Tsuboyama, Web Designer & Graphic Specialist with WorkHorse
  • The 2022 AAF Associate Member of the Year: Jake Voll, President of SS&Si Dealer Network
  • The 2022 AAF Regional Director of the Year: Adam Martin with Wiginton and AAF NE Region Director
  • The AAF 2022 Industry Most Valuable Person of the Year: Rick Seymour, COO of Guardian Hawk
  • The AAF 2022 Association Most Valuable Person of the Year: Grady Medcalf, Director of Licensing & Compliance with Comcast

In addition, the association presented a special President’s Award to Danny Harrod with Wiginton for all of his efforts as AAF Legislative Committee Chair in getting SB 1140 passed in July of 2022.

“There is no doubt the Alarm Association of Florida is re-energized and focused on delivering value to members! This great association has re-engaged members and has a renewed sense of purpose evident in the 20%+ growth in membership since August of 2022. I can’t wait to see all that 2023 has in store for AAF,” said Shannon Few, AAF’s Executive Director.

AAF Charity Event Held

The association made it a priority to give back to the community through AAF Cares by partnering with Embrace Families to provide over 200 backpacks and other needed items like diapers, wipes, and comfort gifts to children in foster care. A special thank you to Gator Fire Equipment Co. for their generous donation of items to make this event possible.

“These backpacks will be given to children when they are removed from their families and enter foster care. Having something to call their own that was intentionally and lovingly stuffed with items to meet various needs, including hygiene, comfort, and creative expression, will let these children know how much they are loved and supported on what tends to be one of the most difficult days of their lives. Embrace Families feels so fortunate to have partners like the Alarm Association of Florida, who selflessly used their statewide conference as an opportunity to educate their members on the needs of children in foster care through Florida and took things a step further to meet those needs. We are so grateful – thank you!” said Morgan Donovan, Community Engagement Director with Embrace Families.

On Wednesday, the convention concluded with 4 more educational sessions including:

  • AAF Business Benefits—Panel facilitated by Shannon Few
  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Model Alarm Ordinance—Presented by Chief Joseph Estey (ret.)
  • Respond. Survive. Workshop—Facilitated by Andy Sexton and Brad Grice
  • Florida Building Code Advance Module—Presented by Robert Rosen

Mark Astrom, with Gator Fire Equipment Co. shared, “Hard to believe that I could overhear so many extremely positive reviews, without them being planted.  But there were just too many.  And I was giving them as well.  I heard one license holder saying it was the best conference he had ever attended.  With respect to age, this did not look like his first conference.”

Among the 60 sponsors of the event were Silmar, ESA, Security America, COPS Monitoring, Merrill Insurance, NAPCO Security Technologies, Snap One, AJAX, SimPro, Alarm.com, Avantguard and SS&Si Dealer Network. The 2024 Annual Convention will take place January 22-24, 2024 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

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About the Author


Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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