Gunning Grabs the Glory at CAA Winter Conference

SAN FRANCISCO – Having grown large and important enough to rival some national events, the California Alarm Association (CAA) Winter Conference drew a record 300 people to San Francisco’s Crowne Plaza. The showing was boosted by the event’s centerpiece – a gala banquet honoring George Gunning as the 2002 George A. Weinstock Award recipient.

Gunning was recognized for his lifetime achievement and service to the industry. Widely known as a colorful character, mentor and crusader, Gunning is a founding member of the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association (GLASAA), past president of CAA, president of the Western Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA), vice president of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) and CEO of USA Alarm Systems Inc. in Monrovia, Calif.

Unfortunately, not everything at the conference was as jovial. To combat the rising interest in verified response, CAA announced it was establishing a new legal fund and urged alarm dealers to spread the news about all the positive things they contribute to their communities.

“Even though burglar captures are low, they still basically only occur when there is an alarm present,” said Les Gold of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. “We need to find a way to bring this information to the attention of law enforcement.” Ben Cornett of Ademco Group added, “You guys do so much for mankind and no one knows about it. We need a concerted effort to do a better job of getting that across.”

Cornett made his comments during a session entitled “Foundations for Growth: An Industry Outlook,” which also featured Panasonic’s Frank De Fina, Ken Boyda of GE Interlogix, Bosch Security Systems’ Peter Ribinski, Tom Few Sr. of Criticom Int’l and SLP Capital’s Bill Polk.

“We will see more very large companies coming into the security alarm industry that will cross-sell their services,” predicted Few. “However, they can still be looked at as an opportunity from the monitoring and installation perspectives. They will look to us and be willing to share revenues. We have to get the message to customers that we provide much more than big fire and burg systems.”

Moderated by Alan Pepper of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, the “Industry Incorrect” discussion barely scratched the surface of several major issues facing the industry. In delving into verified response, the multitude of viewpoints expressed proved that there still exists much division within the industry.

Panelist Michael Zawinski, publisher of Security Sales & Integration, said the magazine is doing all it can to educate dealers nationwide about important issues like verified response. He emphasized how critical it is to provide balanced information to the majority of dealers who exist outside the reach of associations.

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