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Rick Sheets Joins CSAA Board of Directors

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Rick Sheets

Rick D. Sheets, SET, has been appointed to the CSAA Board of Directors to replace Steve Shapiro, who leaves the board due to new CSAA bylaws limiting the number of directors from any company.

Sheets is the Director of Compliance for AT&T Digital Life. During his 25-year career in the Security, Fire and Home Automation Industry, he has played many roles from technician to senior leadership. He was previously the Director of Security Licensing, DIRECTV; the Director of  Licensing and Training Compliance, Comcast; the Vice President of Training and Certification, Electronic Security Association; and Director of National Accounts, ADT.

Sheets has also played a large role in industry affairs, currently acting as chair of the newly-formed CSAA Government Relations Committee and participating on the ESA Government Relations Committee, the ESA Standards and Life Safety Committee, the NFPA 70 Code Panel 3 Committee, and the North Carolina Licensing Task Group.

ASAP Kicks Off 2017 with First Implementation in Pennsylvania

2017 is just a week old and already there is positive ASAP news. On January 6, Bucks County, PA went live with the service. This is the first ASAP implementation in the state of Pennsylvania.

“Bucks County went live with the ASAP program and VeASAP-Concept1Dctor Security on Friday, January 6, 2017 just before noon,” said Bill Hobgood, IT Project Manager for Public Safety at the City of Richmond VA, and ASAP subject matter expert. “The ASAP implementation by Bucks County is very exciting for the program and represents another project milestone. Aside from Bucks County being the 20th PSAP to implement ASAP, this is Northrop Grumman’s first implementation with the Northrop Grumman CAD product line, and the first ASAP implementation in the state of Pennsylvania.”

“Since Friday, Bucks County has received 17 alarm notifications from Vector Security,”  Hobgood added. “Pennsylvania is the eighth state to join the program and is open for ASAP business!”

For more information on the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) and how it can benefit PSAPs and alarm companies, visit ASAP. 

AT&T says 2G network in ‘soft lock,’ decommissioning to begin in coming months

On January 4, 2017 FierceWireless’s Mike Dano reported that “AT&T is in the process of turning off its 2G network. But that doesn’t mean the carrier is taking the network apart just yet.”

Read the complete update at FierceWireless.

CSAA members are reporting varying degrees of 2G sunset activity in their networks.

2016 CSAA Annual Meeting Photo Gallery

The 2016 CSAA Annual Meeting provided a panorama of value to attendees for its combination of education, networking, and enjoyable events. Don’t miss the 2017 CSAA Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, October 7-11!

CSAA thanks Brandon Freedman for his photography. Click on images to enlarge.

 

State Farm’s Joe Miskulin Honored with CSAA President’s Award for Leadership in Education, Proprietary Monitoring

On October 26 at the Central Station Alarm

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Joe Miskulin, left, with his President’s Award and CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn

Association’s Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Joe Miskulin, manager at State Farm Central Monitoring Services, was awarded the CSAA President’s Award for his service to the monitoring industry. Miskulin, who was not in attendance at the Annual Meeting, was presented with his award at the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar (“Fall Ops”) in Elizabeth, NJ, on November 14.

“This is completely unexpected and humbling for someone like me, who came into this profession with a ton of questions and no experience to speak of,” said Miskulin. “I don’t have the words to thank all of the mentors that have helped me along the way.”

Miskulin has been with State Farm Insurance for 35 years, the last 20 as the manager of the State Farm proprietary central station. He is one of the founding members of the CSAA Proprietary Council, which started in 1999 with a change in the association’s bylaws permitting not-for-profit central stations to become regular members. He has served on the CSAA Board of Directors since 2008 and been the co-chair of the CSAA Education Committee since 2009.

“We congratulate Joe on receiving this well-deserved recognition in front of his peers and the membership that he has worked tirelessly to support for many years,” said CSAA President Pam Petrow. “As chair of the Proprietary Council and co-chair of the CSAA Education Committee, he has accepted leadership roles that have been very important to the growth and sustainability of the membership. He has led the Proprietary members, driving participation as well as content for meetings. On the education front, he has listened to the participants and worked to find topics and speakers, particularly for our annual Fall Ops event, that are relevant and engaging.”

It’s fitting that the President’s Award was presented at Fall Ops. “One of the highlights of my year is coming to the Fall Operations Management Seminar and having the opportunity to learn from my colleagues and friends,” said Miskulin, who called Fall Ops “the one industry event for central station personnel presented by central station personnel.”

“We’re an association that deals with security, yet I have never known a group more willing to share ideas and best practices with their ‘competition’ in order to achieve a common goal — to safeguard the public,” said Miskulin.

“As CSAA leaders and members have been working to revitalize CSAA, Joe’s efforts have significantly contributed to our success,” concluded Petrow.

 

 

 

 

CSAA Steps Up UL Dialogue at Marco Island Meeting

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UL’s Steve Schmit leads the UL827 discussion at the CSAA Annual Meeting. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.

In the early morning of the last day of the 2016 Annual Meeting, CSAA members met with Steve Schmit, UL Engineering Manager, for an “Open Dialogue.” Despite the scheduled time of the meeting, and its billing as an opportunity to discuss “inspecting and validating provisions of Section 17.12.6 of UL827, Central Station Services”, a large and engaged group came together. They took advantage of the opportunity to expand discussion beyond a specific detailed requirement and into the broader topics, including overall network security and how UL and CSAA members can work together more effectively on Standards issues in general.

Discussion Starter

Section 17.12.6 addresses physical security for areas housing terminals at dealer or branch office locations that make temporary connections to a monitoring station automation system. These areas are required to have limited access when occupied and a monitored intrusion detection system when unoccupied. Pre-meeting concerns surrounded the ability of a monitoring station to assure compliance on the part of dealers and/or branch offices they serve. In addition, it wasn’t clear how the current requirement would apply to today’s proliferation of mobile devices.

UL’s research showed that the current language is essentially unchanged from its first use in UL1981, Central Station Automation Systems, in the mid-1990s. During the UL827/UL1981 restructuring initiative in 2013, the language found its way into UL827, 8th Edition. This was despite the fact that an Industry Working Group developed the material, it went through public review, and was adopted by an ANSI balanced-interest standards technical panel.

Two Discussions

First, based on input from meeting attendees, UL will develop alternative language that’s a better fit for today’s environment. Tools such as Certification Requirement Decisions will be used to clarify UL’s approach to compliance within their Certificate Service Program. UL will also propose a revision to UL827 so that all users of the Standard can take advantage of language improvements. Given the Jan 2018 requirement effective date for the current language, diligence will be important.

Second, the group discussed closer UL/industry collaboration as key to developing effective Standards in a rapidly changing environment.

The ANSI balanced-interest committee approach is critical to the public’s acceptance of a Standard. However, the stakeholder diversity of a balanced-interest group can make it difficult for the members to appreciate the details/nuances of technical issues and their impact on industry’s ability to deliver valuable services at economically feasible cost.

UL’s Collaborative Standards Development System allows any person or organization to make Standard revision proposals. Schmit suggested an immediate future where UL and CSAA, through its Standards Committee, could leverage our collective understanding of technology, the business, and compliance assessment processes to make timely, relevant, closer-to-complete revision proposals for the Standards Technical Panel to consider.

Action Plan

Earlier this year, UL provided the CSAA Standards Committee a list of UL827 requirements that audit experience suggests need improvement to meet contemporary business practice and technology use. Sub-committees were formed for each, effectively breaking the work into smaller parts that can be worked from initial scoping to proposal as rapidly as possible.  Issues include:

  • Protecting accessible windows in the operation room
  • Supervised sprinkler system in lieu of an automatic fire alarm system in parts of a monitoring station
  • Alternate of secondary power supply configurations
  • Industry best practices on alarm verification
  • Push notifications and other communication techniques in lieu of human operator phone calls
  • Network Security Measure (aka Cybersecurity)

Schmit noted that well-crafted Standards can provide a common language and set of expectations that help build a bridge between monitoring service providers and the community of stakeholders that rely on them. All CSAA member companies are encouraged to make people and resources available for this important work. Contact membership@csaaintl.org to get involved.

Thanks to Steve Schmit for contributing this article.

UCC President Teresa Gonzalez Honored with Stanley C. Lott Award at 2016 CSAA Annual Meeting

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Photo by Julie Webber

Teresa Gonzalez, president of United Central Control, was awarded the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)’s highest honor, the Stanley C. Lott Memorial Award for Exemplary Service, at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Florida on October 26.

This award was created to honor the memory of Stanley C. Lott, a CSAA past president renowned for his above-and-beyond efforts to lead and financially support the Association through difficult times.

“On behalf of CSAA, I am thrilled that Teresa has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Stanley C. Lott Award,” said Pamela J. Petrow, president of CSAA. “This award is not presented each year, but reserved for the very special recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the security industry over an extended period of time. Teresa’s efforts distinguish her among the volunteers who move CSAA forward — this award is well deserved.”

Teresa Gonzalez has 25 years of experience in central station operations and technology, including 15 years managing personnel, business operations and technical advancements in the central station.  She joined UCC in 1997 and served as UCC Vice President and General Manager until being promoted to President in 2008. She is a member of the CSAA Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the CSAA Education Committee.

“I am very humbled and honored to have been selected to receive this award,” said Gonzalez. “It is definitely an unexpected but pleasant surprise! Over the last 15 years, it has been a gratifying experience to work with and share ideas with other CSAA members who are passionate about this industry and its professionalism, especially all those who have contributed to the education committee over the years. I also feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from so many great leaders at CSAA. I am grateful to them for their support and friendship.”

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Pam Petrow, left, and Teresa Gonzales. Photo by Brandon Freedman.

As chair of the CSAA Education Committee, Gonzalez has been a driving force behind creating and updating CSAA’s educational content, one of the Association’s most important programs. “Be it upgrades to existing programs, such as the Distance Learning Programs for frontline staff, or bringing in relevant speakers for the Fall Operations Conference and CSAA Annual Meeting, Teresa’s vision has been critical in our effort to create relevant content that our business members can use to improve performance and bottom line results,” said Petrow. “As we have been working to advance CSAA, her work in the area of education has significantly contributed to our success.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of CSAA,” said Gonzalez. “Under the leadership of President Pam Petrow, Executive Director Jay Hauhn, and all the support staff, CSAA has had new direction and positive change. Board members have a renewed commitment of participation, a common goal and desire to re-create value and relevance for our members, and to continue the furtherance of professionalism in our industry. I am proud and thankful to work with such exceptional people.”

Find out more about the Stanley C. Lott Award and view the list of recipients since 1991 at http://csaaintl.org/stanley-c-lott-award/.

UL 827 at the CSAA Annual Meeting: Seeking input and participation from wholesale and multi-site branch monitoring centers

A new session has been added to the CSAA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, October 24 that focuses on UL 827 and remote locations.

Numerous member companies have expressed concern about how UL will be inspecting and validating the provisions of section 17.12.6 — specifically, the provision for remote locations to have Extent 3 coverage if access to customer information is available in these locations. This would potentially include dealer locations, remote branch offices and other locations that aMarco-Island-Logo_vertre not within your central station site. UL has agreed to open dialogue on how to address this issue from an alarm company perspective and from that of field inspectors. Your input is critical!

Please join us at the CSAA Annual Meeting for a working session in which we’ll discuss this recent change and how it could impact your company. We will explore options for alternative language for this section, plus have the opportunity to discuss with UL’s Steve Schmit any questions about changes in the 2017 inspection expectations.  Individuals who wish to attend but have not registered for the CSAA Annual Meeting should contact meetings@csaaintl.org  for details.

UL 827 Work session: Wednesday, October 26, 7:30 am-8:30 am, Marriot Marco Island, Coconut Room
Visit http://csaaintl.org/2016am for Annual Meeting information.

 

CSAA 2016 Annual Meeting: The Impact of the New Overtime Rule and Minimum Wage Increases on Your Business

 

Join our “sofa round-table” panel moderated by John Colehower, Managing Director of Mergers & Acquisitions LLC, to discuss the impact that overtime and minimum-wage laws will have on the security industry, and Marco-Island-Logo_vertwhat businesses can do to cope with the changes.  John will be joined by Kelly Kolb, a shareholder of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, who will review the legal issues; Mike Bodnar, President of Security Partners, who will discuss the challenges to Contract Central Stations; and Shannon Woodman, COO of Washington Alarm, who will discuss the impact on Installing Security Dealers.

Specifically, the panel will cover:

  • The new rule announced by
    the Department of Labor that would extend mandatory Overtime Pay to more than 4 million workers on December 1, 2016;
  • Existing and proposed state law changes to Minimum Wage Standards; and
  • Proposed federal law changes to Minimum Wage Standards.

There’s still time to register for the CSAA Annual Meeting!

 

 

 

Monitoring Industry Faces New Threat in Illinois

The monitoring industry is facing another threat in Illinois. Schaumburg, a community with 1200 commercial fire alarm systems, has passed an ordinance where the municipality prescribes that all commercial fire alarm systems must be monitored by a single local monitoring center of their choosing.

In the minutes from a recent public safety meeting obtained by Illinois ESA, a trustee asks about fixing various identified issues, and the fire chief responds: “The fault lies with their monitoring company that is failing to do the job the business is paying them for.” In another meeting record, the chief is cited as saying, “Remote companies hire minimum wage staff and aren’t diligent on how they do their job.” This leads to the mandate that the local municipality dictates who may monitor commercial fire alarms.

The IESA is working to engage the business community on this issue and will attend the next Schaumburg Board Meeting on October 11. CSAA leadership is closely involved. If you monitor in Illinois, please contact IESA Executive Director Kevin Lehan at k.Lehan@emergency24.com for more information. Please direct any other comments or questions to Executive Director Jay Hauhn at jhauhn@csaaintl.org.