Weinstock Leaders throughout history have come from all different walks of life and devoted themselves to all different causes. But they all share one common quality – they blaze a trail for others to follow in. Within the security industry, we have had many shining stars to look to who have brought us to the level of sophistication, technological achievements, and professionalism that today define our industry. It’s safe to say that many of these shining stars fashioned their pursuits by following in the footsteps of the trailblazers who came before them.
Leading the charge in defining our industry and planting the seeds for continued growth was Morris F. Weinstock. He launched Morse Signal Devices with his brother Jack way back in 1934 in Cleveland and later moved the business to California. It grew to become the biggest independent installing and monitoring provider in the Western U.S. Then, in 1947, Morris Weinstock contacted Ben Call of Call’s Police Signal Corp. in Boston and together they hired an advertising agency to send letters to 165 independent alarm companies across the U.S. to see if they’d be on board with forming an Association dedicated to serving the evolving efforts of the alarm industry. Together with Call, Weinstock launched the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) in 1948, now known as the Electronic Security Association (ESA), and later also served as the organization’s president.
So it was only fitting that in 1970, to honor his remarkable contributions to the industry, that the Morris F. Weinstock Award began being presented each year to an individual who followed in Weinstock’s trailblazing footsteps to advance the security industry. Since its inception, the Weinstock Person of the Year Award has always represented and recognized the best of the best, honoring someone who shines as truly stellar in the security industry. Industry advocates who have worked tirelessly in the security space have well earned this prestigious industry accolade over the years. And Jamie Vos, the 2023 Weinstock Person of the Year Award recipient, has also risen awesomely to this distinction.
President of Washington state-based Security Solutions Northwest Inc., Vos had industry DNA in him since birth. Security Solutions NW has been in business since 1904, yes, 1904! As Vos explains, the company started off as an everything store back in 1904; it grew into locksmithing and it changed hands a few times and his Dad bought it back in the 1970s. It was his father’s military service that led him to being interested in alarm systems. “After growing the company in the ‘70s, it became clear in the ‘90s that we had to continue to grow, so we started focusing in on the electronic and life safety side of the business. We changed our name in 2004 to Security Solutions Northwest Inc. to commemorate the anniversary of the first 100 years and we haven’t looked back.”
Indeed, Vos has always looked ahead, and his forward thinking has been instrumental in advancing the ESA and the industry itself to a higher level.
Vos’ devotion to the electronic security and life safety industry has been evident through his years of volunteering, giving back to the industry, and most recently, working to ensure ESA is on a path of sustainability. In addition to his responsibilities as Chairman, he also played an active role with ESA subsidiaries, the Electronic Security Expo and Security America Reassurance Group.
So what exactly was it that led Vos to become involved in the ESA some 16 years ago? The short version, Vos recalls, is that “Ultimately, my Dad was a big proponent of associations and thought it was the best way to learn from others.” That sense of humility did not fall far from his father’s tree. Vos credits so many others for catalyzing his work for the industry over the years.
“I’ve been able, through the help of many different people in the industry over the years, to serve in different ways.”
Initially, Vos worked to support the industry in its government affairs efforts, and also went on to work on licensing initiatives. As timing would have it, Vos served selflessly as President of ESA and then right after as Chairman during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. His prior work with ESA well prepared him to weather that storm. “It all culminated to that. When you’re faced with COVID, and that really hit during my Chairmanship as I was the last President leaving and the first Chairman coming in then – it was clear that we were at a point that we had to look at sustainable financial futures for ESA,” he recalls. He points out that trade associations are in the process of changing, and when COVID hit, he recognized that the Association needed to rely on unused revenues because its members were struggling through COVID times.
“We had to take a deep dive and I’m excited that we got through that. It was very challenging but very rewarding. A lot of organizations struggled and we came through stronger; I’m very excited about where we are today.”
In fact, when asked which accomplishments in his professional career and work with ESA he is most proud of, Vos says that coming through COVID stronger ranks among the highest. “ESA came out stronger and so did my company. Weathering that challenge, taking it head on and seeing our teams rally behind it has been so inspiring. We charged forward and both organizations came out so much stronger. And we have achieved more sustainability from a financial perspective in a time when that seemed so hard to do.”
And while leadership definitely requires strength and tenacity, emotions also catalyze the effort. When asked how he has benefited personally and professionally from all his industry engagement and service, Vos is quick to say that so much of it comes from an emotional standpoint. “For me, personally, it’s been relationships, both personally and professionally, that gave me the opportunity to grow,” he points out. On the other hand, however, he adds that “Sometimes in business, you’re faced with challenges. If you’re coming from a place of emotion and not logic you have to re-look at it. That gives you the chance to take the next step as a leader.”
Vos has clearly been able to strike just the right balance. In answering the questions “What does ‘service to the industry’ mean to you? What inspires you to give back?’, he humbly replies that “It’s looking outside of yourself and your business and looking at what’s best for the industry as a whole. It’s about engaging in growing the overall betterment of the industry. So many people have invested in me. Giving back comes naturally out of getting. If anything, I’ve learned that if someone can help me, I can help someone else.”
To that end, Vos continues to set goals for advancing the Association and the industry as a whole. His primary goals are to support the efforts of the leadership coming in behind him to continue to drive a stable future for the association.
His recognition as the 2023 Weinstock Person of the Year Award recipient was a distinction he is awed by. “The lineup of people behind me and who put the effort in to grow the Association, it is a humbling experience. So many of my friends and the power of people who came before me – it’s so extraordinary to see the level of dedication they put into it,” he says.
“I am so humbled to even be considered for and then to receive such a prestigious award, to be honest, it’s something I’ll treasure forever. Boy, I hope that I did everyone of them proud. I don’t have any other word other than humbled. I so appreciate it.”
Much akin to Morris F. Weinstock himself, whose driving passion was to advance the goals and efforts of the security industry, Jamie Vos is driven by a deep care for the industry and possesses the humility of character to push those efforts forward graciously for the betterment of the industry as a whole.
May many others follow in Weinstock’s footsteps and those of all of our industry icons to continue to blaze new and innovative trails for the continued advancement of our industry!
Thank you to Resideo for sponsoring this award.