Introducing the SSI Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2020

For security pros there’s no greater recognition than earning passage into the SSI Industry Hall of Fame. Here are 2020’s inductees.

Introducing the SSI Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2020

George De Marco | Managing Partner, DECO Ventures LLC

Bio

  • Born in Glendale, Calif., in 1957
  • One of three children, father was a quality control manager for an ad firm, mother a homemaker
  • Married to wife and current business partner, Julie, for 27 years, with two daughters, two sons and one grandchild
  • Other honors include ESA’s Sara E. Jackson (2013) Award, CAA’s George A. Weinstock Lifetime Achievement and ESA’s President’s Award
  • As a young man, spent three years as a nature photographer
  • Says if career had taken another path would have still been an entrepreneurial business venture
  • Other interests include camping, hiking, travel, skiing, fitness, gardening and photography

Why He’s on the List

  • 40+ years blazing a security business trail as a successful entrepreneur, trade associations leader and trade show figurehead, prominent industry advocate, and forward-thinking analyst and consultant
  • Starting out working out of his garage and VW Bus in the early 1980s before partnering with brother Jim on what would become Orange County (Calif.)-based Greater Alarm
  • From 1987-1990, Greater Alarm, an early promoter of connected homes, was among the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies
  • In 2005, sold Greater Alarm to Interface Security of St. Louis
  • Was founding member of the Western Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA), and a unilateral apprenticeship program for the California Alarm Association (CAA)
  • Took leadership role in launching and maintaining joint ESA-TMA (then CSAA) trade show, the Electronic Security Expo (ESX)
  • As ESX chairman, has ensured the event featured high-profile speakers, promoted first responder relationships and offered strong educational programs
  • Developed the CAA Executive Symposium, which for 17+ years has brought business and thought leaders before industry professionals

Keys to Success

“It began with my parents and grandparents, who instilled a strong work ethic and faith in God from early on. From my childhood through today, I was extremely fortunate to have access to amazing people, guiding and encouraging me along the way, especially during those challenging moments in life. I learned that luck rarely has anything to do with success. It takes being purpose-driven, dedicated, and passionate about a vision and mission that you believe in.”

Got It Together for ‘Greater’ Good

“Being stubborn-driven got me through difficult moments as I figured out my future. At 18 I became an assistant grocery store manager, having to supervise employees much older than me. That gave me many painful learning experiences that helped prepare me for life as co-owner of Greater Alarm, although running a company at such a young age is effectively on-the-job training. My collective experiences, including running Greater Alarm and years of association involvement, helped me formulate how to set the vision for ESX — especially as it relates to education, networking and mentoring opportunities geared to elevate the industry. The same can be said for consulting. I enjoy unlocking potential in others.”

Something People Might Not Know

“A group of friends and I walked into our sports club one Saturday and realized Magic Johnson and his team were holding court in the basketball gym. We waited patiently to have our chance to play a four-on-four game with a legend. Our chance finally arrived. I was tasked with guarding Magic. At one point, Magic asked me what the score was; I said, ‘We have 18 and you have 9.’ In a blink of an eye, Magic’s team went up 20-18. Knowing we had to make a three-pointer for the win, I launched the basketball as my horrified teammates looked on. The ball bounced off the rim three times before falling through for the win! We beat Magic Johnson … to the dismay of everyone waiting for their chance to play a legend.”

Giving Back to the Industry

“I first attended association meetings out of curiosity about our competitors’ operating strategies. I was surrounded by industry icons who, at first, were guarded toward newcomers. However, I learned the inner workings of the industry from experienced veterans, which helped my company gain knowledge and a competitive edge. I believed it important to give back to the industry through volunteerism and held various positions with the local, state and national trade organizations. I gained something far more priceless though — life-long friends. I also found that associations can help you grow your company with added resources from across the country, as well as tap thought leaders willing to share their wisdom.”

Continue to the next page for a profile of Rod Garner…

About the Author

Contact:

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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