By Jason Vaughan, SHDA Communications Manager
On Monday, April 25, 2022, members of the Security Hardware Distributors Association (SHDA) convened in Frisco, Texas for its annual Industry Advancement Summit. The week-long event provided multiple opportunities for distributors and associate manufacturing members to meet face-to-face to strengthen existing business ties and forge new connections. The 2022 summit hosted a record-breaking number of first-time attendees (nearly 60) and served as a chance to belatedly celebrate SHDA’s 50th anniversary. A total 250 attendees met at the event north of Dallas.
“In the security hardware industry, there is nothing quite like the association’s summit,” said SHDA President Rob Justen of Doyle Security Products. “There is a great balance of programming, with an educational component, one-on-one appointments for associate manufacturing members and distributors, and informal networking functions.”
The first day of the summit began at Tour18 in Flower Mound, Texas for the annual golf tournament. 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.
To cap off the first day, members were finally able to throw a suitable celebration of SHDA’s 50th anniversary. After cocktails and appetizers, the 250 attendees sat down for dinner and ended the evening with casino games.
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 Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Director of Cybersecurity Rachel Wilson. Over the Tuesday breakfast, Wilson spoke on the steps all should take to protect ourselves, our companies, and our customers in this increasingly perilous cyber world. In the presentation, she also described her path from leading counterterrorism operations at the National Security Agency to the high-pressure world of Wall Street.
Over lunch on Tuesday, the association conducted its annual business meeting. After a moment of silence to honor members of the SHDA family lost in the past year, Justen presided over a favorable vote to approve new bylaws for the association. He then welcomed committee chairs Will Weaver (Education and Services) and Bob Stetson (Associate Advisors) to the stage for their reports. During his report, Weaver recognized the 2022 recipient of the Al Hoffman Memorial Scholarship: Holly Blankenship of IDN Acme. The scholarship covered Blankenship’s registration to the March 2022 University of Innovative Distribution.
After Tuesday afternoon’s one-on-one appointments, about 40 members participated in a lively game of softball at Frisco’s Riders Field. Home to the Double-A Rough Riders, the field provided a perfect venue for a bit of rivalry between distributor and manufacturer teams.
The summit schedule for the following days 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, a hospitality suite, and casual meals through April 28.
The post-summit survey confirmed what SHDA staff heard on-site: everyone agreed that the 2022 summit met, exceeded, or highly exceeded expectations. “The opportunity to see so many customers in such a short period of time is tremendous," said one summit participant. “That along with the opportunity to network makes this a great conference.” Another stated: “SHDA has changed my relationships with my customers in an extremely positive way. This is an invaluable event.”
SHDA’s 2023 Industry Advancement Summit is scheduled to take place in Orlando, Florida on April 24-28.