During ESX 2022, Steve Firestone, long-time industry professional and ESA volunteer, accepted ESA’s Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award — the association’s most prestigious honor. Here’s what he had to say…
[Full Video Of Speech Available Below]
I am shocked, overwhelmed, humbled beyond belief, because unlike the gentlemen and ladies behind me who have spent in almost every case their entire careers in this wonderful industry, I haven’t. And unlike I think all of them, I haven’t started my own security business. I happen to have stumbled into this industry a number of years ago. And to receive this kind of recognition and to be on the stage with these guys, I can tell you, is one of the absolute highlights of my career.
So I can’t thank this group enough for inviting me into the club. It’s really very humbling. Early in my career. I was very blessed to have had people that introduced me to the value of learning from others in other industries or in the same industry to get involved in volunteerism and to be afforded the opportunity now to do the same kinds of things is really pretty special to me.
In my time as a volunteer, the great majority has been as much fun as I’ve had in my career. But those of us who have been on the inside know, there are moments where sometimes as a volunteer, it feels like you’re in front of the Senate committee confirming a Chief Justice nominee — where you’re taking arrows. Because as volunteers, our charge as volunteers is to do the best thing for the industry, even if it’s not always the most popular thing. And I’m proud to be associated with the group of men and women who have done that throughout their time of volunteering in the industry.
A couple of specific “thank you’s.” I will start with Pat Egan, who during my presidency at Select Security believed in the value of volunteerism. And I was able to give the amount of time that I gave to the association. So that’s the first thank you.
The second thank you is to the management team that I worked with at Select Security. And some of them, I think, are in the room, but I’m not sure. I’m going to mention them by name so it actually goes on the record. Thanks to Roger, Steve, Alex, Joe, Bob, and Bob. Thank you! Hopefully, you’ll see this video at some point because I would not have been able to give the amount of time that I gave without their support.
And next, I’d like to thank those who have served on the executive committee with me over the years and in no particular order. And yes, I had to write them down because I don’t want to forget anyone.
And the first name that I’ll mention is the winner of the award yesterday, the Sarah Jackson Award. Dee Ann, Chris, Tim, Marshall, John, James, Steve — and, yes, he’s known as Bad Steve. I’m known as good Steve. Jamie and Angela, thank you. And a gentleman that couldn’t be here today, Dom. Thanks for being part of my indoctrination into volunteering in the industry. There’s some other industry friends that I think weren’t mentioned and I’ll name your first name so you know who you are. George, Kirk, Robert, John and Mark. Thanks a bunch for being there side-by-side with me through this. The second last group is the ESA leadership team and the professional staff who I have had the great pleasure of working with for quite a long time now.
The ESA Leadership Team gets mentioned by name frequently. I’m going to mention them by name, but I also want to mention, and I think most of them are seated over there, I see them waving. Their names don’t get mentioned often and I’m now going to call them out by name. But first we’ll start with Merlin. Thanks a million.
I can’t believe how good a friend you become. So Merlin, Jillian, and Michelle. You guys are phenomenal. You get kudos and credit, but the audience doesn’t really know how much you really deserve, so a million thanks. Tom and Chris, thanks a million. Jess and Kaleigh, Lexi, Sophia, Leshauna, Kyndal, Hannah, Daniela, Daniel, Pat, Amanda, Bethanay, Matt, Mashawnda, Vickie. I thank them for all they do.
And the last two are the most important too. And they’re here. And it’s my wife Rebecca and daughter Jessica and my son-in-law Brian — who’s an attorney and can’t be here. It’s interesting. Jason Lutz and I were talking in the hallway about half an hour ago and we’re talking about when someone volunteers.
Whether it’s in this association or another. It means that you’re making a choice to do something and give back to a group or an industry. And that’s a really commendable thing to do. But it also takes people at home who believe in you and support you through good times and bad times. And I’ve got the best.
So…. Rebecca, Jess, Brian. I love you guys. Thanks for being an example of what a human being should be. I’m honored to be your husband and your dad and your father-in-law. So thank you.
Scripture says that older people have a responsibility to make themselves available to impart wisdom and guidance and leadership based on their experience to younger people.
And younger people have a responsibility to listen and learn and gain from that experience that you only get through years of doing what you do.
Now, younger people have a responsibility to listen and do something with it, but they also have a responsibility to in turn give the enthusiasm and new ideas and different perspectives to older people. And it is not a coincidence that it is in scripture that we learn about that.
But didn’t I just describe what an association is? Isn’t this what the people like us on this stage do? It is the responsibility of younger people to challenge us. I’m in this group to challenge us. And I am thrilled that the Electronic Security Association by its very nature is built around those tenants that we find in scripture. I think that is the coolest thing that there could possibly be. So again, thank you, gentlemen and ladies, for the honor.
I appreciate this more than you can possibly know, because I know I don’t necessarily fit the perfect mold if there is one. And if there was one, then I guess we just broke it. So, thank you very much.