All for one, one for all

Security industry comes together under the Mission 500 flag
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Monday, March 25, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—As an avid runner and someone who has always tried to give back through charitable events, Brinks Home Security President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Gardner, loved the idea of participating in the Mission 500 Security 5K in Las Vegas when he first heard of the event from an employee at the company several years ago. But as he tells Security System News, little did he know at that time how inspired he would become, and, more importantly, how many families and children would benefit through Brinks Home Security’s — and other security companies’ — efforts to come together and raise money for families and children in need under the Mission 500 flag.

Photo: Mission 500 Service Trip to Puerto Rico

“When I heard about Mission 500, and what George Fletcher and others there were trying to do to unite the industry around a single effort, I decided to get really involved as the CEO of one of the national security players,” Gardner told SSN. “I wanted to do something similar, in addition to the Security 5K and to really try to assist George and Mission 500. Helping families and children in need is something that has always been important to me. So starting a Brinks Home Security 5K was something that we needed to do and that we have really benefitted from as a company."

Mission 500’s George Fletcher told SSN that industry companies such as Brinks Home Security, and industry leaders like Gardner, truly embody what Mission 500 is trying to do.

“With Brinks Home Security, CEO Jeff Gardner runs his first Security 5K in Las Vegas and then goes off and launches what was first the Moni 5K in Dallas, which is now going on to its fourth year as the Brinks Home Security 5K — to me that is an example of a phenomenal story,” said Fletcher. “They are one of many companies, like Alarm.com, Anixter, Axis, Altronix, Avigilon, Convergint, COPS, DMP, Galaxy Controls, HID, LRG, Napco, Pelco, Reed Exhibitions, STI and countless other organizations, that are now embracing this as a way of saying, ‘It is not only about social impact and helping kids but this is part of our corporate strategy now; it is part of our DNA of who we are and what we want to do to give back as an organization.’”

Now in its fourth year, the Brinks 5K takes its inspiration from the Mission 500 Security 5K that will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Las Vegas April 11.

“My son and I got the first one started with the help of Mission 500, and we raised $25,000,” Gardner explained. “And then the next year we raised $35,000, and last year we raised $52,000, so we are the second largest fundraising event for Mission 500. What I really liked about it, was the community engagement and employee involvement building backpacks for these children. We also had a group of about 40 employees who were really involved behind the scenes in the preparation and run.”

As Mission 500’s Jeff Eichenlaub tells SSN, Brinks Home Security is a great example of a company that has taken the Mission 500 example and ran with it, no pun intended.

“Brinks Home Security represents a company that has been inspired by what we are doing, and then they go on and emulate that in their own way, and make it their own and become a great leader in the industry for excellence in corporate social responsibility,” Eichenlaub said. “They also engaged tons of their organizations volunteer wise. So it kind of fires on all of these different levels, and at the same time they are serving and advocating for children in severe poverty.”

Eichenlaub pointed out that proceeds from events like the Brinks Home Security 5K go a long way to help families in need, both on the local and national level.

“On the funding and support side, in addition to making it possible for us to do service trips, like the last one to Puerto Rico, the funds allow us to do the backpack kit builds for families and children,” he explained. “For example, funds created by events like the Brinks Home Security 5K not only helped support families and children locally where the company is, but it also goes to do the same for families across the U.S. By Brinks Home Security sponsoring us, we were able to do relief kits for the California Wildfire relief efforts, so that one event helps us to multiply our effort, and spread our reach and help more people.”

Leaders of the Pack

In addition, there are numerous security companies leading by example, raising greater awareness for Mission 500 while raising money for families in need locally and across the U.S.

“Axis Communications has been there from day one and Fredrik Nilsson was our inaugural board chair members, highly involved in the initial strategy and what we have done and has been a huge influence in the industry,” Eichenlaub explained. “He’s also a great leader in excellence in corporate social responsibility, and giving back; it has just been an incredible partnership. Fredrik also has helped us get in front of a much bigger audience at some of their large Axis partner events, which is phenomenal and we can get in front of industry leaders and get more people involved.”

Photo: The annual Mission 500 Charity Softball Game.

Eichenlaub shared a story that exemplifies the giving spirit and advocacy of Axis Communications: “At the SIA Honors Dinner at ISC East last year Fredrik came up with an incentive match idea as part of our end-of-year fundraising campaign to match dollar for dollar up to $12,500. And what was even better than that great act of generosity, he said Axis was also going to match their employees’ gifts. And because he wanted other companies to be inspired and a catalyst for change, he encouraged other companies to match their employees’ gifts for this campaign. But, if they didn’t, he said he would match their employees’ gifts for them, which was just beautiful! Just a great example of a company advocating for Mission 500 and helping raise money for those in need.”

“We have been involved with Mission 500 since the beginning, and I met George Fletcher for the first time when he was launching this initiative more than 10 years ago,” Nilsson told SSN. “We are lucky to be in a good and successful industry, and we feel it is important to give back and find something that you believe in, which is why we decided to get involved with one great organization like Mission 500. We have our own vision and meaning here for the company, the Axis vision of innovating for a smarter and safer world, but focusing on corporate social responsibility really gives even more meaning to the mission and vision of the company in general.”

Within the company, Axis has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) committee and encourages everyone to take eight hours per year on company time toward CSR efforts. “We had 90 people book time and 650 hours of time devoted to CSR, which is a big increase from the prior year,” noted Nilsson. “So, it is about making people aware of this program. We always send employees to the Mission 500 service trips each year and we get a lot of people applying to go. The ones who do go come back and share their stories and what it has meant to them, and talk about how rewarding it is for them.”

Alan Forman, CEO of Altronix, one of the founding sponsors of Mission 500, told SSN that over the years the company has continued to embrace this organization in many ways.

“Our team has led the charge in promoting numerous events including the annual ISC West 5K Run and Mission 500 Softball Game,” he said. “Additionally, I have personally participated in two mission trips to different countries over the past two years accompanied by my sons to help assist families in need. I’ve also served as the CEO of the organization, currently serve on the Advisory Board and am the proud recipient of the organization’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. Overall, Altronix’s relationship with Mission 500 has been most rewarding to all involved.” 

Forman said that CSR is one of the drivers to success at Altronix, which goes beyond Mission 500, as the company supports numerous initiatives focused on improving the lives of others. 

“There are so many positive takeaways from Altronix’s corporate involvement, as well as my personal engagement with Mission 500 over the years,” said Forman. “For example, the appreciation we received on our mission to help families in Puerto Rico rebuild homes devastated by hurricane Maria makes one rethink their priorities, seeing how basic needs for food, shelter, medical attention and education outweigh the materialism people too often get caught up with in their everyday lives. Experiences like this continue to provide a positive impact on our corporate culture, inspire us all to support Mission 500 and encourage others to participate in giving back to those in need. This continues to be a priority at both the personal and corporate level.”

In addition to Brinks, Axis and Altronix, many other security companies are becoming inspired and taking action, For example, Hikvision USA Inc. recently worked with Mission 500 to assemble 250 backpacks with school supplies for students who attend East Hartford, Conn.-area Title 1 schools. Backpack supplies were purchased with donated funds from Hikvision.

“In addition to the kit build with Hikvision, we are working with them to do a big event out West similar to the softball game we do on the East coast, which is very exciting to see that enthusiasm spread,” Tom Nolan, director of strategic partnerships for Mission 500, told SSN. “Similar to what Brinks Home Security, Axis and others are doing, these are all great examples of corporate responsibility under the Mission 500 banner. We are seeing a wave of inspiration where different organizations are doing things on higher levels and inspiring others to step up.”

All for One, One for All

With Mission 500 celebrating its 10th anniversary Security 5K, Fletcher reflected on the event, and how it has helped bring leaders in the industry together to work in cooperation toward one cause.
 
“For me, personally, where this is best manifested is the Security 5K, just the energy there on that early morning before the show; if you could capture and bottle it, you’d have something special,” Fletcher said. “And I have always felt that, and it doesn’t matter what your flag is or what company you are with, we are all together there on the same page and it is one of the few opportunities to do that each year. This is a unique event and really cool.”

Photo: Volunteers gather early morning to help prepare for the annual Mission 500 Security 5/2K charity race during ISC West.

Fletcher said that Mission 500 is working with ISC and their sponsors to make this year’s event special.

“We want to make it the best event ever — really up the ante,” he said. “If we could get to a thousand participants, that would be a great outcome. Let’s make it a celebration of what we have been able to do when we come together as an industry.”

“Because 2019 is our 10th anniversary of the 5K, we are planning something bigger at ISC West,” added Nolan. “Another thing we are seeing that is exciting is the whole ISC team has really stepped up to help increase our presence because they love to see the industry step up and do more to get more companies involved.”

Moving forward, Fletcher said Mission 500 will continue to be guided by the AIM acronym, which stands for “Advocating” for children; “Inspiring” people and giving them opportunities to serve; and “Mobilizing” the industry.

“So part of our work is not only doing a 5K and raising a lot of money to help these kids, but also getting companies to realize, ‘Wow, there really is value in engaging our people and inspiring them,’ so let’s find ways to do that, whether you are a 10-person company or a thousand people, there are things you can do to get involved and help.”