To the Officers, Directors and members of the Alarm Association of Florida
To my esteemed colleagues, friends, associates and family,
After 55 years in this crazy industry I am retiring. I spent 25 years as a licensed contractor, 8 years in distribution and twenty years (that’s TWO ZERO/20 for those of you in Chattahoochee) as your AAF Executive Director. Yes, I blinked my eyes and marvelous things happened in that moment.
My wife Linda and I beheld the birth of our beautiful daughter who is now a doctor. Linda and I acquired and developed an alarm company and central station for twenty years and sold it in 1990. After the distribution run I was selected by your Board of Directors for the job as Executive Director and as of February 8, 2019 I will have served 20 years in that position. Yes, time does indeed fly.
Along the way I witnessed phenomenal changes in the industry. When I started crawling attics in 1963 we were using a two-relay control panel from Ademco powered by 4, 1 ½ volt dry cell batteries. For every false alarm we had to go change out the batteries. For bank video we had film cameras; some with 8mm and some with 35mm film rolls. For every false alarm we had to go change out all the film rolls.
My first video camera installation was an exercise in body building. The housing, brackets and CRT camera weighed almost 125 lbs. My partner and I violated every OSHA code you can think of trying to mount this on the side of a condominium on Fort Lauderdale beach.
The first ultrasonic motion units were fantastic for area coverage, until you activated them. They responded to every single teeny tiny item including falling leaves and cockroaches. Next came microwave motion detectors with health warnings that they might cook you through and through on the highest settings. Followed by new and improved smoke detectors of the ionization type which again were industry gold, until you used hair spray in the room, or a police radio walked by.
I laugh now as I remember seeing for the first time at a security show in New York City in 1976 a ‘digital dialer’. It was programmed through the insertion of nuts and bolts on the circuit board. But it worked flawlessly.
Eventually this industry ceased chasing its technical tail and caught up to modern electronics, research and marketing. New manufacturing and computerized systems, media pathways and methods have produced a $35 billion dollar a year industry with highly skilled managers and trained technicians.
I have enjoyed every minute of it with you as my directors and you should be proud of what you have produced. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and I thank you for your confidence and support. I would ask that you lend your support and expertise to my worthy successor, Sean Guthrie and welcome him into his new role.
My sole regret is not being able to share this retirement with Linda. Her passing this last May will forever leave me with the fondest of memories being with her among colleagues, friends and family. God speed to all of you and may you be at peace. Bob.
Alarm Association of Florida