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Connect 2012

Connecting—with costumes and without—at Honeywell's Connect 2012

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Imagine Scott Harkins, president of Honeywell Security Products, lumbering about in an inflatable sumo wrestler suit. Envision Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, stalking around in a long cape as Count Dracula, looking for blood as well as donations to SIAC. And then picture Patrick Egan, president of Select Security, scarily attractive in drag as a red-lipsticked brunette in an elegant gown.

Those attending the Honeywell First Alert Professional Convention here in Hollywood, Fla. didn't need to conjure up those images—they were all there for everyone to see tonight as security dealer attendees let their hair down (quite literally in Egan’s case) at a belated Halloween costume party.

They got into the fun with inventive costumes, which included a nun and monk, wizards with tall hats, a beekeeper, a gladiator, a Wizard of Oz scarecrow, Popeye, cave men and cave women in leopard skin clothing and one brave dealer in a Scottish plaid kilt and matching tam–o'–shanter.

It may sound silly, but it turned out to be a good way to break the ice at a networking event—and it was just another way to connect at Connect 2012.

Earlier today, Harkins, in his more familiar attire of a suit and tie, explained why the event was given that name this year.

Speaking on the first full day of activities of the annual event, which launched yesterday and runs into this weekend, Harkins said, “Why the name ‘Connect’? … We wanted to rebrand the entire experience.”

Networking was one reason, he said—“connecting companies and individuals.”

But he said the word also shows how home automation services are transforming the security industry. “It’s not just a security space anymore,” he said. “It’s a connected home space.” And, he added, “we think interactive home services will continue to expand under our brand Total Connect.”

Harkins’ talk this morning also included a sober moment that contrasted with the lighthearted event that ended the day.

He asked everyone in the audience to pause a minute to think about fellow FAP members who couldn’t make the event because of Hurricane Sandy.

He said this year’s event was slated to have had pretty much the largest attendance ever, with 165 companies represented and 740 people total. But he said about 50 of those companies were “in the eye of the storm,” which early this week battered the East Coast, especially New Jersey, where Honeywell is located, so some people couldn’t attend.

However, Harkins said he was impressed with the numbers of people who did turn up despite problems like delayed flights and power outages in their homes. “There has to be about 400 to 500 people here,” he said. And some attendees were still arriving Friday evening.

Harkins already has set his sights on 2013, which will be the 24th year for the dealer program, which Honeywell bills as the “longest running” in the industry. “Our goal is 250 companies and 1,000 people next year,” Harkins said.

And what will the name be in 2013? Expect something similar. Harkins said that “Connect” also will be “a brand going forward.”

Sandy is gone, and Honeywell has new president of authorized dealer groups

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Here in Hollywood, Fla. on the first night of Honeywell’s annual First Alert Professional Convention, the weather is balmy and we dined on shrimp and key lime pie—and felt lucky to be here.

Not too many days ago Florida was being buffeted by the high winds generated by Hurricane Sandy, and of course other parts of the East Coast—particularly New Jersey, the state Honeywell calls home—took a beating from it early this week.

And what with the damage, loss of power and thousands of cancelled flights, some East Coast dealers areas who regularly attend this event haven’t been able to make it this year.

Still, attendance tonight at the convention, called Connect 2012, looked strong. And Honeywell officials tell me that while they don’t have an official count yet, they’re pleased at the numbers who did make it. The conference attracts dealers from across the nation and Canada. There also are dealers from places such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad. I had interesting conversations with some of those attendees at dinner.

And I’m looking forward to the first full day of the conference tomorrow. Among those we’ll hear from is Marek Robinson, a longtime Honeywell employee who recently was promoted to be president of authorized dealer groups.

Robinson, with Honeywell since 1995 and most recently western region director of sales for Honeywell Systems, will be focusing on the First Alert Professional and Commercial Security Systems dealer programs. He'll be introducing himself at the convention to dealers who haven't met him yet. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say.