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Honeywell First Alert Professional 2011 Convention

Select Security lifesaver for nonprofit that helps disaster victims

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Thursday, on Thanksgiving Day, Tad Agoglia, founder of First Response Team of America—a nonprofit that uses specialized equipment to do rescue and recovery work around the nation for victims of such disasters as the deadly tornado that hit Joplin, Mo. in May—will be honored in a special television program called CNN Heroes. Agoglia’s organization also was the winner of a Special Community Service Award at the Honeywell First Alert Professional 2011 Convention, held earlier this month in Scottsdale.

But Agoglia credits Patrick Egan, founder and president of Lancaster, Pa.-based Select Security, with helping to make the work he does possible.

That’s because when Agoglia relocated his organization to Lancaster about 15 months ago—attracted by the hiring opportunities in the agricultural community of a workforce skilled in operating heavy machinery—Egan stepped up and volunteered to provide First Response with 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, for free.

The clean, heated, well-lighted space now provides a home for the tractor trailers and other heavy equipment that First Response, which Agoglia said is supported by companies such as Caterpillar Inc. and Peterbilt Motors Co., needs to mobilize at a moment’s notice to race to the next disaster anywhere nationwide.

Agoglia said others in the Lancaster community responded to an ad he placed seeking donated space as a home for First Response with offers of rental opportunities. But Egan understood the organization needed a donation, Agoglia said.

 “The donation came with no strings attached,” Agoglia told me. He said that’s actually a rare occurrence in charity work.

He said Egan told him he was donating use of the space—for which Egan could have gotten $10,000 a month in rent—because he felt that as a security provider, Select Security shared similar “core values” with First Response of helping people.

When I asked Egan about the donation, he brushed aside any praise. “It’s worth it,” he said.

‘Cookie ladies’ sweeten products showcase

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The first night at Honeywell’s First Alert Professional annual convention is traditionally an opening reception with a buffet and casual social networking time.

Well, last night at the start of the 2011 convention that I'm attending here in Scottsdale, Ariz. there was something a little different. After the buffet in a ballroom at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa—food with a Tex-Mex theme, yum!—everyone wandered over to the nearby hall where Honeywell for the first time decided to put on an after-hours Products & Services Showcase. And the showcase was enhanced by the amazing “cookie ladies.”

Convention attendees—I’m told there are about 700 this year—strolled around watching demonstrations of the latest technology and talking to vendors while sipping wine, beer and other drinks from a bar and also enjoying desserts—some of the most luscious of which were served by two beautiful young women who were literally walking dessert trays.

Dressed in bright red off-the-shoulder dresses, the two looked like Flamenco dancers from the waist up. But their bodies rose out of the middle of round dessert carts that obscured the lower half of their bodies. The round, wheeled carts were skirted with red material so looked like the women’s hoop skirts. The carts rolled along as the women walked, stopping here and there to let people help themselves to the powdered-sugar-drenched cookies spread out on the carts.

The young women were charming and gracious (one posed for a picture with me—the sight has to be seen to be believed—and I’ll get that up on this site as soon as the photographer emails it to me) and convention-goers told me they enjoyed the unique method of serving up something sweet.

One was John Loud, owner of Loud Security Systems and president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association. “In any business, you try to do something different to bring some value in,”he observed to me.

He and others said they appreciated the extended showcase hours to learn about products and services. “You get to spend more time with the vendors,” Loud said. There also was plenty of opportunity to network with others. “It’s a nice social environment,” Loud said.

At the showcase, I got a chance to see for myself something I just blogged about recently: a new system designed to alert homeowners if their windows are unlocked. It was developed by Honeywell and Andersen Corp., of window fame. John Kovach, Honeywell’s global director of marketing for sensor products, showed me how it works on a window, protecting homes from burglars and also winter drafts.

He also showed me Honeywell’s new 5816OD Wireless Outdoor Contact, which the company says “is the only wireless magnetic contact designed for harsh outdoor environments.” Used with a 5800 Series wireless sensor, it can protect outdoor things like detached garages, barns and other areas too costly to protect with a wired solution. “There’s nothing like this in the industry,” Kovach told me.

Stephen Wheeler, president of Holmes Security Systems, told Kovach he’s trying out the product. Holmes, a Fayetteville, N.C-company founded in 1908, has had four generations of the Wheeler family working for it, Wheeler told me. He said the company has been a First Alert dealer for at least a dozen years. That’s one of the things that stands out for me about this convention—how many Mom-and Pop companies are a part of the First Alert Professional program.