Congratulations to All PSA Rising Star Leadership Award Nominees

February 16, 2016

PSA recently announced the winners of the 2016 Rising Star Leadership Award. Congratulations to all of the nominees who were recognized as emerging leaders in their organizations. Each of the individuals below has shown promise for reaching the highest levels within their organization. See what the submitters had to say about each rising star nominee at their company below!

Western Region Nominees


Annette Leslie – Director of Client Management– Aronson Security Group

Annette Leslie Joined the ASG team In October of 2012 as a Strategic Program Manager handling some of ASG's largest clients

She quickly proved that with a careful and deliberate approach so much more can be accomplished when you partner with customers. "Everything is solved with communication," Annette says. She is the epitome of customer service in this aspect.

Annette was promoted to Director of Client Management in Jan 2015, where she immediately made an impact on a high functioning but very silo'd sales team, using her style of constant communication, she refocused the sales team inwardly with process management and work flow plans to optimize the team’s efficacy and accountability. Annette in the last three years has proven that she has skills and leadership to tackle any challenge that either client or colleagues present. She is definitely a rising star!

Ken Robinson – Operations Manager – California Commercial Security

Ken has evolved into a critical employee (and minority partner) at CCS. Once a field technician, he now is Operations Manager for our $5M business. He has pro-actively studied management books and guides to improve his ability to manage our staff, improve customer service and help our organization manage growth. Additionally, Ken has taken on the task of professionalizing our sales department via formal sales training and a battery of evaluative tools we use to monitor our team's performance

He has become more involved in PSA over the past several years and has attended TEC and an owners meeting. Ken is the "poster child" for an employee who has broken out of his earlier technical roll and has--through his own motivation and effort--grown into an exceptional manager and leader within our organization.

Shad McPheters – General Manager, Americas – Northland Controls

Shad took over Americas general management responsibilities from Paul Thomas in 2013. In just three years at the helm, Shad oversaw our growing our Americas operations from $20 million to $40 million. Not only did he have to manage the doubling of our workforce, but he had to ensure our culture was well disseminated across employees and local partners. While taking on two new global customers...Facebook and Visa, and still ensuring our existing customers such as eBay, Apple and Stanford were happy.

Given the dearth of qualified project managers, technicians and application engineers in our industry, this is quite a feat. He also helped to ensure we were profitable and maintained healthy cash flow.

Steve Lowrance – Operations Manager – Aronson Security Group

Steve continues to take classes to better himself and work with his employees on Manager coaching thru pod casts and one on one conversations with his subordinates to help improve the people below him. He goes above and beyond to work with his employees to help them be the best that they can be within our organization and their future career path. Steve is part of many committees within our organization to help the company continue to move forward.

Central Region Nominees

*Winner* Keith Kranz – Market Development – Low Voltage Contractors

Keith has been an integral part of LVC for over ten years. He has held positions with LVC that have included, technical field technician, systems designer, integrated systems sales and was recently promoted to Market Development for our newest satellite office in Rochester Minnesota. Keith has also spent time on PSA committees which include the technical committee and Cyber security sub-committee. Keith holds a degree in Industrial Electronics Technology and has been actively involved with the Twin Cities Healthcare Engineers Association (TCASHE), Minnesota Education Facility Management Association (MASMS) and the Minnesota Chief Engineers Guild (MNCEG).

Keith has built relationships within the industry as well as within the PSA network that pay dividends for LVC every day. He shares his expertise, thoughts and ideas with his peers as well as the network he has built for the common good of the industry. Keith has been on a steady upward climb in our organization due to his hard work and dedication.

Keith has also shown his willingness to go above and beyond in organizational tasks such as research, development, technical software upgrades and implementation. Keith holds multiple manufacturer certifications and he is an employee that is consistently educating himself and others within our organization. He has been a great marketer for LVC and a valuable resource for many internally and externally. Additionally; I believe Keith deserves strong consideration for this award because he is consistently striving to achieve more, and better himself and others every day. He leads by example and Keith is truly a rising star!

Midwest Region Nominees


Matt Haughey – Vice President, Government Relations – SDI Solutions

Matt Haughey is one of our finest employees. He manages our delivery teams which represent approximately $27M of revenues to SDI. Last year SDI began to experience high levels of customer conflict in one of our transportation accounts. During the year, the customer asked to have three of our project managers removed (over a period of 3 months), and in one case we had to terminate an individual due to his aggressive actions with the customer. In July, Matt took over the management of this account. He met with the customer to develop standard work flows to reduce miscommunication, and also restructured the existing team to better match the service requirements of the customer. He divided the leadership role into two separate functions, and selected two individuals to promote into these new roles. After years of tension between the customer and SDI, Matt's actions have made our customer's view of SDI to become very positive, and our relationships positive and productive. In fact, only last week, the customer for the first time sent a note of thanks and appreciation to the team.

Matt's insight and experience helped him to make these positive adjustments, and increase this customer's satisfaction. These actions are not only demonstrated in this one example, but are seen daily in all of the accounts that Matt has under his responsibility. With each year he continues to grow and develop. His project management skill set is A1, and his customers love working with him. Matt is truly our Rising Star, and is well deserving of the honor.

Andy Boyd – President – Integrated Protection Services

Andy first started with Integrated Protection Services after changing career paths at age 25. He knew nothing about the industry, its products, its services, its operations or its opportunities. Over the course of his 20 years at IPS he became an account manager. He developed many new customers that fostered IPS's growth, but more importantly, he accomplished this with the highest level of integrity by instilling trust in some significant end users that created IPS a position as trusted business partner as opposed to just a service provider. As an account manager, he lead IPS in total sales every year during his tenure in sales. There were several years where he produced over $ 3.0 million in new orders, all while also assuming the role of VP of Sales.

Andy showed drive, hard work, leadership and dedication to the organization and was motivated to do better at all times. I knew he had potential and finally realized he should succeed me as President of the company. In a move to foster a succession plan and have it in place while I could still watch over it, I made the moves necessary to secure the future success of the company. In doing so I broke some of the biggest rules that advisors would warn you about. Never make your VP of Sales the president of your company. Never make your best salesperson the VP of Sales. I did both and made Andy Boyd president of the company in 2012.

Since, Andy has exceeded my expectations and never disappointed me. During CYE, 2015 IPS had its best year in our company history. Under his leadership our revenues have grown and our profitability has grown at a greater percentage than our revenues. Cash flow and working capital are well above industry averages. Our equity has increased, our personnel turnover is low, and our reputation has stayed the same or increased and we continue to attract new customers while maintaining confidence and loyalty from our existing ones.

The only thing that has occurred that has disappointed me is, that he does such a great job, I have become bored. He has done such a great job that I often find I have too little to do. He has done such a great job, I have more time to travel and do other things like spend time with my grandchildren. But, in doing such a great job, I do not have to spend time worrying about IPS now or in the future.

Ammy Janiszewski – Outside Sales – Windy City Wire

Thompson Electronics Company is centrally situated in the center of Illinois, almost equal distance from the two key regions best represented by manufactures (Chicago & St. Louis), commonly referred to as "no-man's land" with few personal visits. Ammy has repeatedly ignored that distance and makes routine stops to insure all of our divisions are well taken care of when it comes to cables & associated accessories. This takes on greater meaning when you consider we provide a wide variety of cable types associated with our security, fire alarm, audio/video and healthcare communications products. She has personally introduced us to their "Rack Pack" which has been extremely popular with every technician in the field and has improved installation times considerably. By interjecting herself into all correspondence with the Windy City Wire inside sales and support teams, she has made sure we receive the correct answers to our questions in a timely manner and saw to it that any "better" alternative is provided to us so we can maintain the competitive edge the PSA Security Network provides.

Southern Region Nominees

*Winner*Sharon Shaw – Client Development Manager – Tech Systems, Inc.

Tech Systems nominates Sharon Shaw for the Rising Star Award. Sharon has demonstrated a passion for the security industry and for the people that she works with in that community. She regularly volunteers on a variety of committees/boards to help guide the education that is delivered, and thus, the direction in which the industry is headed. She has been a champion in the implementation of managed services for security systems integrators and has presented to hundreds of industry professionals on this topic. She was featured in the Security Systems News “Women in Security” article where she encouraged other women to embrace the opportunity in the industry. Sharon was named in the 20 Under 40 at TechSec Solutions in 2015. She has achieved two highly-regarded industry credentials, the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Physical Security Professional (PSP) sponsored by ASIS International. In her short tenure she has made a significant impact and we believe she will only continue to rise higher.

The Boards she serves on include:

  • Education Advisory Board for SIA (ISC W and ISC E)
  • Advisory Board for TechSec Solutions
  • Chairman of the PSA Sales & Marketing Committee
  • Education Advisory Board Member for PSA Security Network (PSA-TEC)

Austin Robinson – Operations Manager – Altec Systems

Austin Robinson is my 34-year-old Operations Manager and has been with Altec Systems since 2007. Austin is my key manager and has stepped up greatly for Altec Systems when Tim Feury (prior owner) passed in 2014. He has gone from managing sales locally to managing sales across the U.S., all while advancing the skills of his technical team to take on the additional responsibilities. He now manages sales and leads his own technical team, as well as subcontractors, across the U.S.

In addition to taking on these greater responsibilities, he also studied for, and passed, the Georgia State Low Voltage License exam, which we needed another employee to possess, as Tim Feury's was no longer valid for the company. His dedication, loyalty, intelligence, and innovative thinking are all respected by our whole team. Most importantly, Austin already exhibits great leadership in his ability to attain a new client’s trust, act as a trusted advisor to our existing clients, and lead the technical team to excellent performance-based installations and service.

A few key metrics we have at Altec Systems are 1.) Maintaining long-term relationships with customers (low attrition) as well as 2.) Gaining additional sites and opportunities from existing customers. Austin has excelled in both, in addition to 3.) Bringing on new business in this same time period.

Austin's current leadership abilities are apparent to us at Altec Systems, but as a small company, we don’t always have the opportunity to put as substantial a leadership conference as BLC in front of our up and coming leadership team. I respectfully request that Austin be nominated for this scholarship.

Thank you for your consideration of Austin as a recipient of this leadership award.

Northeast Region Nominees

*Winner*Mark Robinson – Director of Operations – Securitronics

When Mark Robinson came to Securitronics a four years ago, he was a program manager at a juvenile detention facility and came to us with zero industry experience. However, Mark had qualifications that no other candidate brought to the table. He was (and still is) a Coach. Mark has coached high school wrestling teams, Junior Olympic Volleyball programs, youth baseball and at every level has been successful in not only achieving success for these players, but in molding and modeling the way for these young men and women.

For years, our company relied on managers who knew how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but did little to challenge the norm or get the most out of new employees let alone tenured technicians. We set a high priority on finding someone that would help us develop a culture of teamwork and ownership.

A number of our employees scoffed or railed at this outsider being put into a position where he would be telling them what their schedule was going to be, who would be responsible for projects and how much he was expecting from each and every one of them. However, in a few short months, they all rallied around his personality, they recognized his drive to succeed and all wanted to work with him to achieve more than they had been previously accomplishing. Mark thrives on asking questions. His questions are short and open, which encourages our techs to think and reflect on what they are being asked, and from that learn to apply common sense and useful thinking to their day to day responsibilities.

He sets goals with each player on the teams that he coaches and has brought that same mentality to our team to help move that person forward towards a goal. Mark’s coaching abilities challenges our employees to think constructively and take ownership of their decisions which allows us to react quickly and efficiently to our customer’s requests and needs.

Before Mark arrived here at Securitronics, our team lacked accountability. Within the coaching world, accountability is one of the most influential aspects of leadership. When our teams gives a commitment to doing something for a client or for one another they know that they will be held to that commitment and it drives them to treat their decisions as if they were all owners and had a personal stake in our company.

Mark’s leadership style embraces encouragement and support to all our team members and that makes the difference between someone keeping going or giving up.

Robert Vezina, Jr. – Senior Vice President – Life Safety Engineered Systems, Inc.

Rob came to Life Safety as a "temporary" measure while looking for his next position in Hotel Management, over 15 years ago. He graduated a few years earlier from the State University of NY in Plattsburgh with a degree in hotel management and held managements positions in Boston, MA and Buffalo, NY.

He quickly went from installer helper to various sales and management positions over the years to reach his current position in January of Senior Vice President, USA Systems because of his significant contributions in doubling the size of Life Safety over the last two years. He is one of four reports to the CEO/President.

As a dedicated seasoned veteran of the industry he has held the position of President for many years for the Buffalo chapter of the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS).

Because of his belief in the benefits of continuing to grow and gain leadership ability, he has graduated from the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program from the University of Buffalo and also went on to graduate from the advanced version of the same program. He also recently joined the Vistage Key Executive Group to expand his leadership capabilities by learning and sharing with other key executives from different disciplines.

Michael Vezina – Senior Vice President – Life Safety Engineered Systems, Inc.

Michael started with Life Safety in 1994 while still in college doing whatever needed to be done. After graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree he stayed on selling service contracts. He left Life Safety to follow his soon to be wife in Minneapolis where he was able to land a branch management position more closely related to his field. While there he went on to get an MBA degree from the University of Minnesota. He came back to Life Safety to manage our growing National Accounts division which services the retail sector. He recently was promoted to Senior Vice President, one of four direct reports to the CEO/President, because of his significant contribution to the YOY increase of over 40% for the last two years in a row doubling the size of Life Safety over two years.

He has been a very active member of the Restaurant Facility Management Association (RFMA) where he is a chair of the Resources Committee and won the Resources Rockstar Award for his dedication to furthering the interest of the organization.

He also is a long time member of Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM). He is contributes by being a member of the National Conference Committee and is a Subject Matter Expert for CO detection systems putting on Webinars and live demonstrations.

The PSA Rising Star Leadership Award recognizes emerging leaders from the PSA Security Network owner community who have demonstrated exceptional professional growth and leadership skills in their career. Each winner received an all expense paid trip to attend the 2016 NSCA Business & Leadership Conference to be held in Dallas, TX on February 25-27, 2016.