Special 2009 Hall of Fame Bonus Coverage

Established in 2004 to represent the ultimate recognition for outstanding performance, SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s Hall of Fame annually enshrines those uncommon people who have etched out an impression within the profession and maintained it throughout an entire career. Inductees are honored each year in an official induction ceremony held during the SAMMY Awards the eve of ISC West (March 31) at the Venetian Hotel. To date, nearly 50 people have been enshrined.

As a preview and expansion upon our March issue that features the official announcing of this year’s inductees and features their profiles, I have compiled bonus material to share with loyal readers of Under Surveillance. As you will see, there was more addtional material for some interviews than others. But keep in mind you are not only gaining access to exclusive material here but also among the first to learn who has newly earned a place in the pantheon of industry greats.

The Hall’s class of 2009 (in alphabetical order) is: Allen Fritts, president of Honeywell Fire Systems; George Gunning, CEO of USA Alarm Systems; Ken Kirschenbaum, managing partner of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum; George Lippert (deceased) co-founder of the Security Industry Equipment Association (later SIA) and Alarm Installer & Dealer magazine (later SSI); and Mel Mahler, chairman/CEO/owner of ADS Security. I hope you enjoy this extra coverage (and exclusive images!) and insight into their amazing careers.


What have been your greatest professional accomplishments? How would you like to be thought of/remembered by your Colleagues?

Fritts: My greatest accomplishments have been being appointed Honorary Deputy Chief of FDNY, and receiving the George R Lippert Memorial Award. One of the reasons I received the George R. Lippert Memorial Award was because I helped strengthen SIA’s role at the ISC Expo and Conference. As SIA’s president, I focused on growing the association’s industry groups and strengthening relationships between SIA, NBFAA and AFAA, which led to more member participation and valuable networking. I would like to be remembered as someone who was committed to life safety professionally by helping bring advancements in fire protection products to the market with Honeywell Fire Systems, and personally as a volunteer fire fighter.

How, when and why did you become involved in volunteer firefighting?

Fritts: I enjoy helping people and have been involved for 12 years. I find it exhilarating knowing that when we are radioed out I am going somewhere to help someone.


(l-r) George Gunning, sons Mark and Sean, Ryan Burke and his father, Frank.

What is something that most people might not know about you?

Gunning: I no longer believe that there is a false alarm problem based on the studies of the issue that consider the contribution our products and services make to public safety.

How and why did you become involved with trade association/committee work? Please also discuss the apprenticeship program and false alarm issues.

Gunning: When my son asked me to help out in a new business venture, which was buying an alarm company, I thought I should learn something about the industry. I joined the local association to network with companies that had been in this business for some time. I soon got to know the politics of the industry and also the licensing issues. I learned from attending meetings and networking with the local, state and the national associations what this business was all about. I then became an association addict. I wouldn’t change a thing on how I did things. Associations are the best place to learn about an industry and also stay current with the trends and changes.

The apprenticeship program signals the maturation of our industry and that our technicians are now recognized as professionals and have a career path to follow. I believe this program will significantly change our industry and serve as the foundation for the future growth of our industry and the professionalism of our labor force.

What are you currently most heavily involved with?

Gunning: I am thinking about retirement. I am also serving on the executive committee of NBFAA and supporting the leadership of our trade associations. Beyond that, I am involved in my homeowners association, and continue to be active in local government issues relating to senior issues and business policies.


Ken Kirschenbaum in his New York offices.

What do you believe has been your greatest contribution(s) to the electronic security industry? What have been your greatest professional accomplishments? How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?

Kirschenbaum: The many alarm defense cases litigated in New York has helped shape the law affecting the alarm industry. My standardized contracts are used by thousands of alarm companies in every state in the United States. These contracts have no doubt contributed to the law in many of those states. The recurring revenue features in the contracts have encouraged alarm company growth and increased value, while t

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