Honeywell Dealer Convention Sizzles in Arizona Desert

Nov. 13, 2007
First Alert Professional dealers treated to fun, training, and networking at Scottsdale resort

On November 8-10 Honeywell Authorized Dealers from North and South America attended the First Alert Professional Convention at the scenic Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. The three-day event proved to be popular with the attendees and included appearances by renowned motivational speaker Keith Harrell and reigning Miss America Lauren Nelson.

After the first day’s (Thursday) registration and evening cocktail reception with live music, the convention’s grand opening session took place on Friday morning. This year’s theme was “Are You Ready?” and Joe Sausa, president of First Alert Professional, explained during his opening remarks that Honeywell wants to make sure that its dealers are “ready for tomorrow,” both from a security standpoint and a business standpoint. Sausa went on to explain how people use technology is rapidly changing today and recounted a story of how his 4-year old grandson already has a laptop and knows how to search for wireless networks in his neighborhood.

A little later Friday morning Keith Harrell, who spent 14 years in sales and training with IBM and authored the best-selling “Attitude is Everything,” gave the convention’s most exciting speech. Dressed in a nice suit and tie, he ran onto the stage and jumped around to blaring dance music before beginning his speech. Within minutes, his flair for getting people into a positive state of mind was on display in full force. He had the crowd clapping, high-fiving, jumping, and chanting “Yes!” many times during his talk while he explained the three “master keys” to success.

Convention attendees had many options regarding class sessions to attend, ranging from topics such as “Home Invasions – A Frightening Trend” to “How Security Information Moves Through Networks.”

The class titled “Life Safety and Your Community” was a panel discussion about how dealers can find ways to partner with their communities and make a positive difference. One of the panelists, Duncan Hubbard, central station manager, Holmes Electric Security, Fayetteville, N.C., mentioned some creative ways that his company has partnered with CrimeStoppers and the local newspaper to improve safety in their community. Although, Hubbard has been asked, “Given your line of work, why in the world would you want to reduce crime?” But Hubbard’s response is a simple (and human) one. He says that he’s not focusing on selling security systems; instead, he’s focusing on safety. “I live and work in this community, and I want it to be safe.”

Many people and companies were recognized with awards during the convention, but there was some intrigue and mystery prior to the closing session as to who would be “the very special guest” to receive the community service award for helping keep children safe. When the time came to give this particular award and reveal the secret guest, a video was played that detailed the threats posed by child predators online. John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted, narrated the video in which he helped orchestrate a sting operation on “The Phantom,” a child predator who law enforcement had been tracking off and on for two years in chat rooms. As part of the sting operation, a girl posing as a 14-year old had been in communications with the man via the Internet and phone, during which time he indicated that he wanted to meet her for sex. It was then arranged for him to meet at her house when her parents were gone. However, when he showed up, things didn’t work out quite the way he had expected. After she let him into the house, her phone rang in the other room, giving her a chance (and excuse) to jog to safety as he slowly checked out the foyer. Then John Walsh appeared and confronted him, followed by cameramen—and cops who arrested him.

The video went on to reveal that the “14-year old girl” who had helped with the sting was actually 20-year old Lauren Nelson, the reigning Miss America from Oklahoma. After the video gave some background on her work in protecting kids in cyberspace, she made her way onto the Westin Kierland’s ballroom stage to a loud ovation. During her address to the First Alert Professional crowd, Nelson emphasized the fact that the best way to keep kids safe online is to educate them about the dangers.

When attendees had free time during the convention, many of them took advantage of the resort’s amenities, including the golf course, spa and waterway. Next year the First Alert Professional Convention will be in Orlando, Fla.