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In The Boardroom With...


Mr. George De Marco


Electronic Security Expo (ESX)


Is Unlicensed Activity Fake News? ESX Explores the Issue

Alarm company licensing is not new, but its enforcement and the public’s awareness seem to suggest otherwise. Industry experts will discuss why licensing should matter to the industry – and whether it really matters to the consumer at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX). The ESX CounterPoint Forum, titled “Unlicensed Activity – Fake News or Real Issue?” will take place on June 21 at 9:30 a.m. in Nashville.

“Unlicensed activity has plagued the industry for years,” says George De Marco, ESX Chairman. “Ever since state licensing began, new entrants are ignorant of the law or interpret it to benefit their strategy, rather than following the law."

More Thank you for joining us today, George, and congratulations on the traction the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) has gained in the industry. Before discussing ESX 2018 in greater detail, please tell us more about your background and DECO Ventures.

George De Marco: I founded Greater Alarm in California in 1981, which grew into a multi-branch organization that served residential, commercial and governmental clients. In addition, I became involved with industry associations, taking on leadership roles and responsibilities. After selling the company in 2004, I continued to stay involved in the industry with consulting opportunities through DECO Ventures LLC, which partners with companies and organizations in various ways to achieve growth and market potential for various opportunities, and help with strategic and tactical planning and execution as well. I have been the chairman of ESX from its inception. I work with various business and industry thought leaders and the two largest industry trade associations that own the show to develop an exceptional program for electronic security and fire life safety professionals. This year, ESX returns to Nashville, TN, June 19-22. What is ESX and what makes it special?

George De Marco: ESX is designed to allow industry professionals the ability to learn more, share more, and interact more. It’s an event made up entirely of industry professionals who are passionate about the business of electronic security and life safety. You can really feel the heartbeat of the industry there. The best of the best gather at ESX to help elevate their companies and the industry. It’s a great team-building opportunity, to get entire organizations energized, educated and inspired about why what they do every day is mission critical. It’s comprised of three components.

EXPO: ESX has a targeted expo floor, where professionals can have quality conversations. It’s large enough to see an array of the latest products and services in categories, like: access control, video surveillance, monitoring station equipment, sound/communications/automation products, digital health, IT/networking and much more.

I believe the decision makers and influencers who attend this show appreciate that they are more than a badge scan here. That they have the opportunity to seek answers to questions on marketing, merchandising, installation and more. So often, industry expos leave us lost in a crowd, visiting booth-to-booth for shallow product demos. That’s not the case at ESX.

EDUCATION: ESX has been touted as the strongest education programming in the industry. ESX 2018 will offer 35+ peer-to-peer driven seminars, covering topics, such as: increasing leads and referrals, launching new products, video monitoring, commercial access control, sales team management, KPI’s that impact business, creation cost oversights, onboarding new employees, technician development, and more.

In today’s competitive landscape, it is critical for security and life safety professionals to enhance their industry knowledge and hone their business skills. These sessions will provide insights and inspiration to help companies achieve operational and financial excellence — and gain valuable business intelligence on trends, technology and opportunities.

NETWORKING: The ESX Community is a group of passionate professionals who share, learn and brainstorm each year to elevate their game both personally and professionally. To create, support and energize this community, ESX focuses on quality engagements and creative ways to interact and break the ice. I learned that ESX is owned by the two not-for-profit associations, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and The Monitoring Association (TMA), both representing the electronic security and life safety industry. Care to elaborate on what impact this has on the show?

George De Marco: Each association brings a unique industry expertise, which covers all aspects of security and life safety installation, service, and professional monitoring for end users. Together, through ESX, the associations have been able to build a vibrant ecosystem that is relevant and meaningful for owners, entrepreneurs, next gen leaders and executives. All profits made from this event are funneled back into the industry through these not-for-profit organizations.

We are fortunate to be partnered with companies like Interlogix, our diamond sponsor, and NAPCO Security Technologies and TRI-ED, an Anixter Company, our Platinum Sponsors. They help to make ESX a must-attend event each year. A full listing of all of our sponsors can be found, here. ESX 2017 attendees perhaps say it best in this video here, but what is your perspective George. What can professionals expect from ESX 2018?

George De Marco: There are many great components of ESX that set us apart. Our Main Stage Keynote Speakers have a sprinkling of inspiration, strategic focus from business thought leaders, and a highlight of public safety partnerships.

This year, we have Scott Stratton for our Opening Keynote. His message is unique and hard hitting about competing in a disruptive business world. There are 35 peer-developed and peer-delivered educational sessions, broken down into four tracks, that give our attendees best practices and practical ideas on how to better run, grow, maximize their businesses — and rethink their future.

Industry professionals will return to their offices with tangible, actionable advice that can make a meaningful difference in their organizations’ top line revenues and bottom line profits. Security threats and cyber breaches are, unfortunately, in the headlines almost every day now. What can attendees expect to see, hear, and learn at ESX in this area?

George De Marco: Cyber breaches are frightening on many levels, especially since the industry is so focused on delivering security and peace of mind to the end user. That’s why we believe it’s paramount to shed light on the subject on a recurring basis, so organizations can take the proper proactive cyber-health steps to help reduce their exposure. We have two sessions specifically designed to help our attendees be more cyber-aware. One is in the Maximize Your Monitoring Center track that addresses this, “Monitoring Center Down: Important Steps to Take AFTER a Cyberattack.” This will scare you into doing things right before an attack happens! And the other session is in the Run track, “The Evolving Cyber Threat for Connected Devices and Cloud-based Services.” What other features of ESX are unique?

George De Marco: During the Opening Celebration, we recognize great companies and individuals for their hard work and dedication in delivering exceptional security and life safety services to end users. In 2017, we added CounterPoint sessions that essentially challenge the status quo thinking with a topical debate of the day. Most of the CounterPoint conversation is off the stage and handled by the audience, giving them a chance to openly discuss it among peers. It’s meant to give other perspectives that may change the way you think about the subject or reaffirm your beliefs.

In addition, we have the TechVision Challenge, a “Shark Tank”-style competition, held live at ESX before a panel of “industry sharks,” focused on selecting the “Best of Show” product or service. The entrants are chosen from the field of ESX Innovation Award category winners. It’s exciting and fun, but more importantly, the judging process means that the winners truly earned the title of Best of Show, based on criteria that is important to dealers, integrators and monitoring companies.

And for fun, we have the ESX Crawl. It’s a great way to reconnect with friends and colleagues in an informal setting, where business discussions continue to flourish. Remember, what happens in Nashville is being recorded on video cameras! What are the registration options?

George De Marco: The ESX Premium Pass is the most popular option. It gives the attendee full access to everything that ESX has to offer, including the Opening Celebration, Main Stage Events, education sessions, the exhibit hall, and additional networking opportunities. Because the price point is so reasonable, many owners and C-suite executives use ESX as a teambuilding opportunity, bringing their management team and key staff. Premium Passes are currently being offered at $199.

It takes people to drive profits. At a time when market competition has never been fiercer, it's important to invest in people. I urge owners and executives to think hard about their professional and industry development for themselves and their staff — I'm confident there's no other event that can deliver the same impact to their business and to their team. If you’re a professional in the electronic security and life safety industry, I strongly encourage you to register for this show at

For video highlights and photos from last year, you can experience what ESX has to offer here:

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