The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Molding a Super Model for Success
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month we feature columnist and SSI Hall of Famer Ron Davis’ own Big Idea.
DAVIS’ BIG IDEA:
Seek out the person you admire most in the industry, and ask him or her for their great idea. Write it down. Then do it again next week, and the week after that and so forth, and you will soon compile your own “success” encyclopedia.
t feels as though I have known Pat Egan for a lifetime. In fact, I have known him for better than half of my life, starting in the early 1970s. My fledgling consulting firm helped Egan and his staff develop a sales and marketing plan that propelled his company, Commonwealth Security, into the upper echelon of the alarm industry. Egan went on to become an industry icon, former president of the old National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), now, the Electronic Security Association
(ESA). Today, after having successfully sold Commonwealth sometime back, he heads up Select Security in Lancaster, PA.
Soon after you read this, I will emcee the SSI Hall of Fame awards presentation at which Egan will become one of the newest inductees (read more about this year’s induction class on page 46). In short, Egan is one of the busiest and most successful entrepreneurs our industry has ever known.
TACKLING A DIFFERENT SIDE OF THE LIFE SAFETY BUSINESS
At a recent industry conference, he and I had an opportunity to catch up, and while I thought I knew most of the major milestones in his life, I was taken aback when he referenced some work he had done as a volunteer for the local fire department. It turns out he’s been doing this for decades, and if the stories I heard that evening were any indication, Egan is truly a hero, by any definition of the word. He has helped save lives. He has gone into burning buildings. He has put himself in harm’s way time and time again. Yet to this day, very few people know about his other “full-time job” (not to mention working it while also achieving the success he has had within the security industry).
When I got back home, I started to ponder if there’s a correlation between public service and building a successful business. The conclusion that I came up with: absolutely, positively Yes — and Egan is living proof.
Would it work for everyone? I can’t help but think of the logistics of Egan’s “other job,” but I would suggest that having an insider’s knowledge of how fire departments work, as well as working with the heroes of a local fire department, it certainly wouldn’t hurt one in running an alarm business. But that begs another question: if you did it with a business goal in mind, would that work as well as having simply selfless motives for helping people? My guess is the answer is yes, and the personal satisfaction would be great but perhaps the passion might not be nearly so. It’s the love Egan has for his volunteer job really came through during the time we spent together at the conference. I saw a whole new side of him, one that is pretty much kept hidden from most people in the industry (and I suspect even from most people with whom he works).
Is there a practical application for volunteering, regardless of whether it’s a food line at Christmas and Thanksgiving, or working in a shelter one evening a week, or any of the other activities that help give back to your community? Again, the answer is a resounding Yes. The contacts made, the relationships developed and the stories that become part of your makeup are priceless. It gives credence to the adage “we help ourselves most when we selflessly help others.”
When I knew I was going to write this column (Egan and I chatted that evening), I started to look around the industry for others who did outside, mostly charitable work. I found stories on people whose work ranged from hosting sports events, volunteering, raising money for worthwhile causes, etc. The articles always referenced an individual who was a leader in the industry, as well as in a “second job.” People who have achieved this level ofaccomplishment usually don’t talk about it, rarely think about it other than while actually doing it, and are usually surprised when somebody recognizes them for it. I suspect Pat Egan will be very surprised when he reads this … not coincidentally, just before he is recognized for a lifetime of achievement in the industry
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration‘s “What’s the Big Idea?” columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.