Security Business

JUL 2019

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Page 14 of 108

14 Security Business / / July 2019 SECURITY WATCH BY PAUL ROTHMAN, EDITOR•IN•CHIEF Association News ESA Votes to Transform State Chapter Program Association to allow security companies to join state or national organizations individually The Electronic Security Association (ESA) Board of Directors has voted to sunset its charter chapter program within the association. ESA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau, along with Board of Directors member Steve Firestone of Select Security, outlined the reasoning behind the decision in a formal press conference at the ESX show in Indianapolis. “One point we want to make clear: We are not saying we dont want to have a relationship with states...that’s not the case,” Guilbeau said. “Any state association that wants to have a relationship with us, we will embrace it, but it is not going to be tied to a (formal) agreement anymore – it is going to be because the two organizations bring value to each other and believe that it is good for the members.” The Board vote included representatives from 23 of ESA’s 27 state chapters. Firestone and Guilbeau said the measure was passed by an approximate two-thirds vote. “The Board of Directors believes this is the right time to do this, and it will give both the state associations and ESA the flexibility that is needed to adapt to market conditions – some of which are association-related, along with challenges of the rapidly changing world we live in,” Guilbeau said. After extensive research, Guilbeau and the ESA Board found that the model ESA has followed for nearly 30 years, where state chapters were required to join the national organization, has become outdated. “We found a benchmarking study and learned that only 27 percent of current trade associations have chapters,” Guilbeau said. “Taking that a step further, it shocked us that only 7 percent of that 27 percent have a contingent relationship (where the member must join both the state and the national associations together).” “An analogy to this, in many respects, is the relationship between a local community chamber of commerce, a state chamber of commerce, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Firestone explained. “While they have mutually beneficial services, products and relationships, a business owner in a community is not required to belong to all three just because they belong to one.” The changes, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, mean security company members will have options. “Beginning in 2020, members will have an option to join their state association, ESA individually, or both – and we are excited about the opportunity for the marketplace to have a choice,” Guilbeau said. “I think the members will be excited too – we will see some join either ESA or the state association, who, for whatever reason in the past, didn’t join – likely because they had to join both.” By eliminating the agreement and developing relationships with the individual states and chapters, Guilbeau and Firestone agreed it will benefit everyone. “This model gives us the flexibility to offer a unique service and a unique relationship with whatever the needs are of that individual state in a way we couldn’t have as restricted by the agreement in the past,” Firestone said. “Even though they are a chapter of ESA, it was obvious to us that their independence was important to them,” Guilbeau added. “We don’t own them – they have their own boards of directors, their own financials and monetary aspects. We certainly provide services and programming for them, but in the end, they are their own organization...We don’t want them to feel like they have been forced to join our community.” Both Guilbeau and Firestone cautioned that the change in relationship will have little to no bearing on the training and advocacy programs that ESA currently offers, including at the national and state levels. “Most people think ESA only advocates at a federal level, and while we don’t go into a state and lobby – that really needs to be the local constituents – we are behind the scenes making sure the players in the state know what’s going on,” Guilbeau said. “That’s an important resource to our members at the state level and we will continue to provide that.” Guilbeau added that the ESA National Training School, which features some content geared toward specific states, will not be affected. “NBFAA and ESA has been around for 70 years – we are not going anywhere, and the (state chapters) are not going anywhere,” Guilbeau said. “This is how are we going to transform ourselves to be relevant for the industry in the future.” ■ ESA Board of Directors member Steve Firestone, President Chris Mosley, and Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau held a press conference at ESX to discuss the associations vote to end its state chapter program.

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