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Security Hardware Distributors, Manufacturers Meet in Phoenix for Premier Industry Networking Event

By Jason Vaughan, SHDA Communications Manager

On Monday, September 20, 2021, members of the Security Hardware Distributors Association (SHDA) gathered in sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the 50th Annual Industry Advancement Summit. SHDA members were eager to again meet face-to-face with nearly 200 attendees at the Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak to reconnect — many for the first time — since the last in-person summit in May 2019.

“When it comes to building business relationships, nothing can compare with actually being across a table or side-by-side at a reception,” said David Swartz, 2019-2021 SHDA President and Southern Lock’s Chief Operations Officer. “The Industry Advancement Summit is designed to maximize the ability for distributors and manufacturers to forge new connections and strengthen existing ties.”

The first day of the summit began with a tournament at the Raven Golf Club in Phoenix. After returning from the links, attendees were eager for an association tradition: the one-on-one scheduling session. Fondly referred to as “the running of the bulls,” the session brings together security hardware manufacturers and distributors to arrange 25-minute appointments in the manufacturer’s suites during the following three days of the summit. After the scheduling session, the networking continued with an Oktoberfest celebration in the resort’s courtyard.

While the main purpose of the summit is the one-on-one appointments, the chance to meet provides an excellent opportunity for an educational session for members. At this year’s Ben Silver Seminar, SHDA welcomed management trainer and speaker Jason Lauritsen. Over Tuesday breakfast, Lauritsen spoke on improving employee engagement and performance by creating healthy and positive relationships. He shared his tips and best practices for business leaders to engage employees in today’s disrupted work environment. Click here to download slides and handouts from Lauritsen's presentation.

“Every year the SHDA Education Committee works to provide the informative Ben Silver Seminar with take-aways for our members to use in their business,” said Brad Ashley, 2019-21 Chair of the SHDA Education and Services Committee and Vice President of Commercial at Top Notch Distributors. “I was excited to hear Jason discuss how to keep employees engaged and happy in the post-Covid-19 work world. I cannot stress enough the importance of this seminar.”

Tuesday’s luncheon included the SHDA business meeting. SHDA President David Swartz welcomed committee chairs Brad Ashley (Education and Services), Charlie Weaver (Membership), and Jamie Lyn Callahan (Associate Advisors) to the stage for their reports.

After Callahan’s report, Swartz reflected on the role of the associate advisors in providing advice and input to the SHDA Board of Directors on the needs and interest of the associate (manufacturer) members. He praised Callahan’s efforts in her role as committee chair and honored her service to the association by presenting her with a commemorative plaque.

The business meeting concluded with the election of new officers. The slate, approved unanimously, will guide SHDA for the next two years —

  • President: Rob Justen, Doyle Security Products
  • Vice President: Lance Johnsen, Hans Johnsen
  • Treasurer: Charlie Weaver, Accredited Locks
  • Past President: David Swartz, Southern Lock
  • Director: William Weaver, Accredited Locks
  • Director: Brad Ashley, Top Notch Distributors

“It was great seeing everyone after a year and a half apart,” said 2021-2023 SHDA President Rob Justen. “I am looking forward to the next two years as we continue to come back together. I would also like to thank David Swartz for his last two years as president. It was a crazy term to say the least, but Dave did an excellent job navigating the organization through the rough seas.”

Before closing the business meeting, Justen presented Swartz with a plaque honoring his service as SHDA president during a turbulent two-year period.

The summit schedule following the business meeting solely focused on forging new relationships and re-engaging with existing colleagues and customers through networking. In addition to the continuation of one-on-one appointments, SHDA members enjoyed evening receptions, hospitality suites, and casual meals through September 23.

A post-summit survey found 70 percent of SHDA members felt the event exceeded or highly exceeded expectations. An overwhelming majority (96 percent) said the networking opportunities were good or excellent. Among the comments from the survey: “Hands down, one of the best summits that I have ever been involved with,” and “There is no better way to connect with our major business partners in one place and at one time.”

SHDA’s 2022 Industry Advancement Summit is scheduled to take place in Frisco, Texas on April 24-29. Organizers of next year’s summit are planning a belated 50th birthday bash for the association, which was established in 1971.

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