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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Don Erickson
CEO
Security Industry Association
www.siaonline.org 

SecurityStockWatch.com: As CEO of the Security Industry Association (SIA), you certainly need no introduction to our audience, but please give us a brief recap of your background and tell us about your role at SIA.

Don Erickson: The Security Industry Association Board of Directors provided me with the honor of serving as CEO in November of 2011; prior to that I served as director of government relations for SIA from 2006 to 2011 and worked closely with SIA's Government Relations Committee on initiatives such as the enactment of legislation establishing the GSA Schedule 84 Cooperative Purchasing Program and efforts to increase the federal government's awareness of SIA's PIV activities.

Before coming to SIA, I served as manager of legislative affairs for Alcatel and was legislative director for another association, OPASTCO. Prior to that I was a senior advisor to U.S. Sen. Rod Grams (R-MN) facilitating the enactment of legislation pertaining to telecommunications and technology policy.

SecurityStockWatch.com: What is different about SIA under your leadership?

Don Erickson: With the strong support of our Chairman Jay Hauhn and our Board of Directors, SIA is becoming a more open organization. We have worked hard to collaborate with other organizations within our industry, such as ASIS, ESA and CSAA; with IT organizations like Tech America; and with associations representing numerous vertical markets, such as the County Executives of America. Those are all great organizations and there are projects we can work on together that will benefit the industry.

Our outreach is also intended to help communicate our members' technology expertise as a means to help end users solve significant security challenges.

As an organization that works to strengthen the entire industry, we are also focused on membership diversification. For example, SIA is working to increase the benefits offered to the independent integrator segment of the industry to compliment the work of organizations such as PSA Security Network and to help them address potential disruptive "game-changers" to their business and bottom-line.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Since you were the director of government relations before becoming CEO, what are some of the initiatives happening in that department?

Don Erickson: In particular, our government relations team has been very busy this year working on issues surrounding school safety and security. In January, the GR team worked closely with SIA Chairman Jay Hauhn to send a letter to President Obama supporting funding for the Secure Our Schools program. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013, which was recently moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee . SIA has proactively worked toward the passage of this legislation, which is also supported by the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Association of Education Service Agencies, the National Rural Education Association, and the Rural Education Advocacy Association.

There have also been measures introduced in Oregon, Missouri and Texas to limit the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) in schools, and our government relations team has been busy contacting those legislatures to advocate for the use of the technology. RFID is a proven solution for the protection of people and assets, and these legislative efforts do not take into consideration the safety and security benefits that the use of such technology can provide.

SIA has created a LinkedIn Group, SIA School Safety, to discuss policy, technology, compliance issues, and the design and installation of security systems to protect our nation's schools.

Last year, SIA Government Relations launched its inaugural Fiscal Year Informer (FYI) , which provides valuable budget information, analyzes appropriations trends and allocations, and offers insight into federal funding decisions -- helping SIA members and independent integrators to more closely "follow the money." This complements SIA's State Policy Digest, which is a quarterly review of state legislative proposals, activities and trends impacting the electronic and physical security industry.

SecurityStockWatch.com: SIA is a leader in the area of standards for the industry. What are some of the new initiatives SIA is working on in that area?

Don Erickson: SIA Standards has been very busy over the past year. In October they released version 2.1.5 of the SIA Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) SIA Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) specification -- a communication protocol that allows devices, such as card readers, control panels or other security management systems to work together.

The Digital Video Subcommittee released the Digital Video Quality Handbook in December, and an updated version will be released in early spring. The handbook is a "go-to" practitioner's guide for achieving maximum video quality for various applications of digital video through proper system design, and contains guidelines based on established best practices within the industry. The Video Perimeter Security working group is creating a guidebook for video surveillance in large outdoor applications that will be released later this year.

We are also offering a series of monthly webcasts, which we kicked off on March 13 with a webcast on Security Applications for the Cloud. Our next webcast, which is focused on the migration to IP video, will take place on April 28.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Does SIA offer credentialing for the industry?

Don Erickson: SIA Education offers the SIA Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) Program, which is a thorough, knowledge- and experience-based credentialing program that supports the professional growth of security project managers. This year we're offering a CSPM course at the Sands Expo Convention Center April 7-10, and this is the first time the course has been offered in the same venue as ISC West.

SIA Education has also brought back its SIA/ APCO Central Station Operator Instructor Course (CSOI) 'Train-the-Trainer' program, with newly revised content reflecting advancements in Central Station operations and practices. This instructor-led course remains the industry standard for central station managers seeking a comprehensive training program for their call center operators.

SecurityStockWatch.com: What is the relationship between SIA and ISC Events, the producer of ISC East and ISC West?

Don Erickson: "SIA and ISC together" is the best way to describe our relationship. In my more than seven years at SIA, I honestly believe the relationship between our two organizations has never been stronger. One simply needs to see the incredible branding of SIA that occurred at ISC East last year, and the ISC team has gone even farther with our branding at ISC West -- I cannot wait to see it next month. This is an excellent partnership that displays excellent collaboration between the ISC Team and SIA for our industry - most of which are SIA members.

SIA is proud to be the sole industry sponsor of ISC West, which is the most important security event of the year supported by SIA members -- the industry's technology leaders. The networking at ISC West is unparalleled; it's a unique opportunity for 25,000 security professionals to network with representatives from the security manufacturing industry. It's the perfect place to find the products and services you need, with 300,000 square feet of exhibition space and nearly 1,000 exhibitors.

One of the benefits of SIA membership is free registration for ISC East and ISC West, the biggest security conventions in the country. In addition, SIA members exhibiting at ISC West can receive substantial discounts on exhibit space at the show.

ISC West attendees can interact with SIA by stopping by our booth (#3063) on the show floor, and visiting the SIA New Product Showcaset (NPS) display, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for vendors to show their customers the latest innovations. Don't miss the NPS awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 10.

SIA members and buyers of security products can join us at PURE nightclub on Tuesday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m. for our annual Customer Appreciation Reception. It's a great opportunity to network with industry partners and, more importantly, with end-users of security solutions.

For those who are staying in Las Vegas after the show, SIA's Ride for Education is being held on Saturday, April 13 at 9:00 a.m. This annual event raises money for educational opportunities for first responders, and registrants can rent either a car or motorcycle to participate in the event. Last year's ride included stops in the Valley of Fire and at Hoover Dam.

SecurityStockWatch.com: How is SIA working with ISC on the educational program at ISC West?

Don Erickson: We have been working closely with the ISC Education Advisory Board to present the SIA Education@ISC conference program at ISC East and ISC West. The program offers high-quality training for integrators, central station operators and end users.

SIA Education restructured the 2013 educational program to provide attendees with practical information on how to unify current and future infrastructure technologies. We've also introduced "Learning Labs" -- workshop-style sessions where participants practice what they learn -- to help them gain hands-on experience while onsite. We also shifted the conference program schedule to allow attendees more time to explore the show floor without sacrificing learning opportunities.

We recently announced that participants completing sessions and labs through SIA Education@ISC may be eligible to receive ASIS Continuing Professional Education Credit (CPEs), ALOA Education Credits (AECs) and NICET Continuing Professional Development Points (CPDs) toward recertification for a variety of credentials. Individuals seeking recertification credit should check with their respective credentialing organizations to review guidelines and filing processes.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Are there any particular upcoming events you would like to talk about?

Don Erickson: The thing that is foremost in everyone's minds right now is ISC West, however the SIA Government Summit SIA Government Summit will be coming up in just a few months (June 4-5) in Washington, DC. SIA's Securing New Ground™ and the S500 executive conferences will be taking place Nov. 5-6 in New York, and ISC East is scheduled for Nov. 20-21, with the Security Industry Gala on the evening of the 20th at Chelsea Piers.

We are currently in the processing of forming The SIA Safe School Industry Group and The Mobility Interest Group. The Safe Schools Industry Group will liaise with a diverse set of stakeholders within the education and school security communities to identify and help address technological and situational challenges facing local school districts, colleges, and universities. The Mobility Industry Group will champion security solutions within Mobile Device Management and BYOD policies that compliment traditional physical security hardware and software developments.

Also in development is SIA Technology Insights, a semi-annual journal that will feature articles by SIA members about trends in electronic physical security. The first edition, which is scheduled to come out in June, will focus on the transition to IP-connected devices in all segments of the industry.

SecurityStockWatch.com: SIA's Membership Directory is truly a blue chip listing of security industry leaders. For those companies considering membership, please summarize SIA Membership Benefits.

Don Erickson: SIA Members receive valuable exposure through SIA's online membership directory, and free subscriptions to SIA Update , the Fiscal Year Informer (FYI), the State Policy Digest, and other SIA publications. They get the opportunity to participate in the development of standards, and receive federal and state legislative tracking, analysis and reporting.

Members receive significant discounts on courses, webinars, and market reports and insights from around the globe. Member who participate in ISC West get special pricing on booth space, $1,000 off the New Product Showcase registration fee, and are included in an exclusive networking opportunity with end users during the conference.

All SIA members have free access to meeting facilities in SIA's new Silver Spring, MD headquarters.