TMA Past President Thomas Lewin passed away December 13, 2017 in his home town of Minneapolis at the age of 86. He was president of the association from 1963-1965, and received its highest honor, the Stanley C. Lott Award, in 1998.
In 2015, Lewin recounted his experiences in the alarm industry in a letter to TMA (then CSAA). “My company was Automatic Alarm Corporation,” he recalled. His father had been “a pioneer in our industry,” who in the 1920s started companies in Berlin, Brussels and other European cities before coming to America and founding Automatic in 1943. The company became Charter Member #11 of the National Burglar Alarm Association.
Lewin became active in the company upon his father’s death in 1951. He wrote, “We sold it to 3M Alarm back in the mid-60s. I ‘went with’ the sale and managed the 3M operations for a number of years” before retiring.
During his time in the industry, Lewin developed a technology to automate communications between central stations and public safety answering points that he called S.A.N.T.A. (Standardized Alarm Notification Alternative), which was a precursor to the ASAP-to-PSAP program. “Tom was a prolific writer – great at code – and ahead of his time,” said another TMA past president and current board member, Ralph Sevinor, president of Wayne Alarm. “With S.A.N.T.A., he established the building blocks [for ASAP]; technologies and relationships had to catch up. We are now the beneficiaries of his hard work.”
“Tom was a very young president of our association,” said Bob Bonifas, president of Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. and a TMA past president and current board member. “He was a delightful person, always helpful and willing to share his knowledge. He had developed an amazing product with S.A.N.T.A., which unfortunately could not be fully implemented until the advent of high speed internet and our partnership with Nlets.”