To the Officers, Directors and members of the Alarm Association of Florida

As we all know last month Bob Neely officially retired. Officially we are keeping him around for a bit in order to make sure his vast knowledge at least gets a chance to be downloaded somewhere where we can all access it. As a colleague and friend of mine stated, “The man knows everybody!”

For those of you who have yet to meet me my name is Sean Guthrie and I am the new executive director of the Alarm Association of Florida. I have been working with the association since the summer of 2000 when I was retained as an instructor for the freshly minted FASA/BASA classes that were enacted in 1998 and 1996 respectively. Over the years I worked with Bob and Linda teaching and occasionally revising the FASA/BASA courses and teaching any course which Bob couldn’t find anyone stupid enough to say, “Sure, how hard can it be?”

A bit of background for those interested, I have spent nearly forty years in the construction/contracting/service business originally as an electrician (back in the days where if it had to do with electricity, electricians responded to the call) then quickly discovered fire alarm systems. After a couple of months digging ditches, bending 6” rigid pipe and pulling 500 MCM power cables I found fire alarm systems, what with 16 gauge wire and ½” conduit a relative breeze. Add to that intercom, security and other assorted low voltage systems I decided that was where I wanted to be; and it paid better. Not to mention excavating with a single lever backhoe (aka: shovel) was rarely in the scope of work….

In the mid 1980’s I was introduced to the world of chemical fire suppression; those few years gave me rare experience in specialized fire systems and other rare electrical systems; many of which are no longer used in this day and age. Shortly after that I was at the forefront of ‘full service fire protection’; a concept so commonplace and familiar now it is the exception for a fire contractor to only engage in one discipline. Those years also saw me installing, testing and servicing every kind of electrical system that did not involve a lamp or an outlet. In 1990, at the ripe old age of 25 I entered the world of management after 11 years in the field. Since then I have been involved with and directly responsible for several start ups and expansions.

Bob Neely has done an outstanding job at making the Alarm Association of Florida what it is today; a vibrant trade association that offers significant benefits to its members. I only hope that I can continue his excellent work in keeping the association current and responsive to its members needs.

Sean Guthrie

Executive Director

Alarm Association of Florida