First Alert Pro Convention Soars in San Diego
As 20-year anniversaries go, Honeywell’s First Alert Professional convention in sunny San Diego was one impressive get-together. Held Nov. 19-22, more than 700 attendees from among First Alert’s 340 or so independent dealer companies convened at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel for the “Come Soar With Us”-themed proceedings.
As this was my second First Alert Pro convention — the ’07 edition in Scottsdale, Ariz., being the initial — I knew to expect much energy, camaraderie and laser-focused business dialogue from the gathering. The event did not disappoint.
First Alert Professional President Joe Sausa and Honeywell Security President Ron Rothman reassured the assemblage during the opening general session that Honeywell was making major investments to maintain a cutting-edge product and services portfolio for its members.
Member companies were lauded for their perseverance in a down economy and for making First Alert Pro a premiere independent dealer program.
“This is the finest gathering in the security industry in the world. And how proud are we that it’s part of First Alert and Honeywell? I congratulate you, and all of us, on our 20th anniversary,” Rothman said.
Rothman’s address was peppered with earnest, straight talk about industry trends and the necessity for dealers to move progressively forward in order to keep pace with technological and cultural change.
Specifically, Rothman zeroed in on the forthcoming demise of phone lines and consumers’ insatiable appetite for mobile technology. He shared his own experience as a father to illustrate the ramifications of new generations growing up with mobile devices. To reach his son at home Rothman doesn’t call on the landline, he dials his son’s cell phone.
But even now young Rothman rarely answers his cell phone, dad said. To reach him immediately, “I have to text to him,” Rothman quipped. The crowd erupted with commiserating amusement. More to the point, however, Rothman’s personal analogy was meant to be an ah-hah moment.
He cited that 42 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 29 only use a cell phone. In five years, he told the gathering, many in this demographic would be their customers and half of them won’t have a land line.
“So if we don’t pay attention to the implications of what this means and the fact that the phone lines are truly going away, whether the phone companies take them out or not, the consumers have made a choice. They are using something mobile,” Rothman said.
It was fitting that Roger Fradin, president and CEO of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions (ACS), also addressed the general session. After all, he’s responsible for launching First Alert and presided over the program’s inaugural meeting in Chicago in 1989.
“In those years we really had no appreciation of how important conventions like this would be for the networking that really drives ideas sharing and best practices sharing which drive the success of the program,” Fradin said.
Roger Fradin, president and CEO of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions, addressed the opening general session of the First Alert Pro convention in San Diego. Fradin launched the independent dealer program in 1989.
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