Last month, we left off at, “Who are we in this dogfight?”

Our industry, our whole world is changing. It is evolving at a pace that is threatening all that we are familiar with. Technology is tripping over its own shoelaces with new discoveries and new products. What we
knew and trusted today is old by tomorrow!

We must engage in learning and growing or be left behind. I am humbled and honored to be your new president. As such, I can promise nothing more to you, than what you as members are willing to bring to this association!

As members, this is your work to do. This is your Association. You are the creators and you own this organization, and you own the responsibility to make it succeed and work for you.

In 1970 when the Alarm Association of Florida was first established, it was motivated by a compelling ambition from pioneers of this organization to make it succeed in serving the collective interests
of a growing industry who specialized in communication products designed to report security signals to police and fire departments.

We have come a long way since the days of tape dialers and such, but the nature of our business is still the same. We are still the specialists in security signals communication!

It is long past due for the AAF to re-establish our own communication skills and tools that have long served this association! Here is how The AAF plans to learn and grow in 2011:

As your newly installed president, I am proud to announce the reestablishment of the regular monthly publication of the Online Handshake Magazine as your primary tool of communication with the AAF. Ron
Toole, our current AAF Board Treasurer and Past President is managing this effort as of now. It is still in the works, but you should be receiving it regularly in the next month.

If not, please contact Ron directly at toole@gnt.net.

In turn, you who are regional directors of this association, please keep your promise to provide regular reports/minutes from your monthly/quarterly meetings to the AAF office. This is actually a promise made by each Regional Director as he takes the oath to serve. Send us your minutes! These minutes will get published into the monthly edition of the Handshake, provided that they are submitted by the regional secretary within 15 days after your meeting… Head count, business discussed.

Remember that everything that happens in your region counts! This is your contribution to the rest of the membership!

You are the Alarm Association of Florida! As President, I promise to have a new improved website for this association completed at some point before 2011-12.

Eventually, we will have a forum established on this website, so that you as members will be able to log on and praise, complain, question, or belly ache about the work being done by your Board of Directors, Executive Director and office staff, as well as discuss new ideas, technology, trade practices, and code changes. Basically anything related to our business.

Past President Mary Galloway is leading the work in progress now, to rebuild the AAF
website. To be sure, the current website is behind the times as regards communication tools. Our current site is presently a vintage technical tapestry of various, time marked efforts to post information, but we
will now introduce a more powerful tool that will allow all of us to log in and engage in a forum that allows us to speak to each other, as members of the AAF in the 21st century!

Keep in mind that just having the platform to communicate is not the final solution… we will call on you as members, to communicate your thoughts and ideas and concerns…frequently, and consistently! Log in! Engage!

Start making contributions to the Handshake Magazine Online now! Send your letters, suggestions, stories and articles to the Handshake Editor, as often as you can think of them. toole@gnt.net, lneely@fla-alarms.org

This is your organization! Make it work for you!

As President I commit this board to a promise to have new improved training programs for this association completed before 2011-12.

The cornerstone of our training project so far, has been travelling field visit training classes. These classes have worked well with AAF Past President Mike Fletcher at the helm!

Several hundred students have been successfully trained and FASA/BASA “badged” in 2010-11 with classroom style training. Our current training has been very effective for members and the Association as a whole,
and now it needs to expand to internet based online training for FASA/BASA Florida Certification this year!

Your AAF board has been working to install training at all levels, wherever possible… FASA BASA, 12 Hour Qualifier courses, Fire courses, and more for the last 20 years. AAF internet based training has been explored for at least the last 15 years!

There always seems to be a hitch. This year, we had already submitted for approval, some of the frontier AAF online training programs ready to be launched, and the DBPR pulled back on it’s own online course approval requirements and basically stopped us from launching our planned online courses for 2011 FASA/BASA training!

In fact several previously approved courses from other FASA BASA providers were also pulled from the DBPR’s list for re-evaluation! With Past President Bob Ireland chairing the Education Committee this year, AAF is
continuing to submit courses however, for approval anyway and when the DBPR and Florida.gov gets its act together for online training requirements, we will approach them again, and continue to work to get you
online FASA/ BASA training in 2011!

We’re focused to make this happen now! Education and training are the keys to our success into the future!

As President, I commit this board to a promise to remain vigilant in protecting our interests regarding all legislative decisions that may affect our industry!

Every year we battle in a real dogfight in Tallahassee to address industry issues that threaten the integrity of the security industry and how we can best provide service to our clients.

Be it journeyman issues requiring our industry to meet electrical union demands for compliance to their agenda, or private interests from those who wish to abolish previously established fire codes that protect
Florida’s communities, or working to prevent poorly written ordinances that inappropriately punish alarm system users.

Our focus in legislative issues remains relevant to our business interests and remains sharp with a skilled team made up of you, Legislative Chair and Past President Bob Worthy, fellow members, and our professional lobbyist, Eric Prutsman for 2011.

Last year our Legislative team reduced the sting of an ugly bill designed to punish any business that used automatically renewable contracts. This is the work done on your behalf as members, ongoing!

I invite you all to engage! Get in the fight to protect your business! We have a powerful and aggressive team this year, and this board of directors promises results for action!

These points are part of our vision and commitment as your new board for 2011-12. Let’s stay in this dogfight to succeed together. And that is who we are in this dogfight! Very Best Regards.

Greg Gracer, President,
Alarm Association of Florida
maxsecinc@hotmail.com