CSAA Notes the Passing of Joseph Comunale

The members of CSAA join the alarm industry in mourning the passing of Joseph Comunale. Joseph was a sales associate at Tri-Ed Distribution, Inc. He was 26 years old, a graduate of Hofstra University and an avid hockey player. Our thoughts and prayers go out the Comunale family at this difficult time.

Family and friends may call the Lacerenza Funeral Home and Cremations Services – 8 Schuyler Ave in Stamford on Tuesday, November 22nd from 1pm – 9pm.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 10am at St. Leo Church – 24 Roxbury Road in Stamford.  Entombment will follow at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich.  To leave online condolences please visit www.lacerenzafuneralhome.com.



State Farm’s Joe Miskulin Honored with CSAA President’s Award for Leadership in Education, Proprietary Monitoring

On October 26 at the Central Station Alarm


Joe Miskulin, left, with his President’s Award and CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn

Association’s Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Joe Miskulin, manager at State Farm Central Monitoring Services, was awarded the CSAA President’s Award for his service to the monitoring industry. Miskulin, who was not in attendance at the Annual Meeting, was presented with his award at the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar (“Fall Ops”) in Elizabeth, NJ, on November 14.

“This is completely unexpected and humbling for someone like me, who came into this profession with a ton of questions and no experience to speak of,” said Miskulin. “I don’t have the words to thank all of the mentors that have helped me along the way.”

Miskulin has been with State Farm Insurance for 35 years, the last 20 as the manager of the State Farm proprietary central station. He is one of the founding members of the CSAA Proprietary Council, which started in 1999 with a change in the association’s bylaws permitting not-for-profit central stations to become regular members. He has served on the CSAA Board of Directors since 2008 and been the co-chair of the CSAA Education Committee since 2009.

“We congratulate Joe on receiving this well-deserved recognition in front of his peers and the membership that he has worked tirelessly to support for many years,” said CSAA President Pam Petrow. “As chair of the Proprietary Council and co-chair of the CSAA Education Committee, he has accepted leadership roles that have been very important to the growth and sustainability of the membership. He has led the Proprietary members, driving participation as well as content for meetings. On the education front, he has listened to the participants and worked to find topics and speakers, particularly for our annual Fall Ops event, that are relevant and engaging.”

It’s fitting that the President’s Award was presented at Fall Ops. “One of the highlights of my year is coming to the Fall Operations Management Seminar and having the opportunity to learn from my colleagues and friends,” said Miskulin, who called Fall Ops “the one industry event for central station personnel presented by central station personnel.”

“We’re an association that deals with security, yet I have never known a group more willing to share ideas and best practices with their ‘competition’ in order to achieve a common goal — to safeguard the public,” said Miskulin.

“As CSAA leaders and members have been working to revitalize CSAA, Joe’s efforts have significantly contributed to our success,” concluded Petrow.





CSAA Steps Up UL Dialogue at Marco Island Meeting


UL’s Steve Schmit leads the UL827 discussion at the CSAA Annual Meeting. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.

In the early morning of the last day of the 2016 Annual Meeting, CSAA members met with Steve Schmit, UL Engineering Manager, for an “Open Dialogue.” Despite the scheduled time of the meeting, and its billing as an opportunity to discuss “inspecting and validating provisions of Section 17.12.6 of UL827, Central Station Services”, a large and engaged group came together. They took advantage of the opportunity to expand discussion beyond a specific detailed requirement and into the broader topics, including overall network security and how UL and CSAA members can work together more effectively on Standards issues in general.

Discussion Starter

Section 17.12.6 addresses physical security for areas housing terminals at dealer or branch office locations that make temporary connections to a monitoring station automation system. These areas are required to have limited access when occupied and a monitored intrusion detection system when unoccupied. Pre-meeting concerns surrounded the ability of a monitoring station to assure compliance on the part of dealers and/or branch offices they serve. In addition, it wasn’t clear how the current requirement would apply to today’s proliferation of mobile devices.

UL’s research showed that the current language is essentially unchanged from its first use in UL1981, Central Station Automation Systems, in the mid-1990s. During the UL827/UL1981 restructuring initiative in 2013, the language found its way into UL827, 8th Edition. This was despite the fact that an Industry Working Group developed the material, it went through public review, and was adopted by an ANSI balanced-interest standards technical panel.

Two Discussions

First, based on input from meeting attendees, UL will develop alternative language that’s a better fit for today’s environment. Tools such as Certification Requirement Decisions will be used to clarify UL’s approach to compliance within their Certificate Service Program. UL will also propose a revision to UL827 so that all users of the Standard can take advantage of language improvements. Given the Jan 2018 requirement effective date for the current language, diligence will be important.

Second, the group discussed closer UL/industry collaboration as key to developing effective Standards in a rapidly changing environment.

The ANSI balanced-interest committee approach is critical to the public’s acceptance of a Standard. However, the stakeholder diversity of a balanced-interest group can make it difficult for the members to appreciate the details/nuances of technical issues and their impact on industry’s ability to deliver valuable services at economically feasible cost.

UL’s Collaborative Standards Development System allows any person or organization to make Standard revision proposals. Schmit suggested an immediate future where UL and CSAA, through its Standards Committee, could leverage our collective understanding of technology, the business, and compliance assessment processes to make timely, relevant, closer-to-complete revision proposals for the Standards Technical Panel to consider.

Action Plan

Earlier this year, UL provided the CSAA Standards Committee a list of UL827 requirements that audit experience suggests need improvement to meet contemporary business practice and technology use. Sub-committees were formed for each, effectively breaking the work into smaller parts that can be worked from initial scoping to proposal as rapidly as possible.  Issues include:

  • Protecting accessible windows in the operation room
  • Supervised sprinkler system in lieu of an automatic fire alarm system in parts of a monitoring station
  • Alternate of secondary power supply configurations
  • Industry best practices on alarm verification
  • Push notifications and other communication techniques in lieu of human operator phone calls
  • Network Security Measure (aka Cybersecurity)

Schmit noted that well-crafted Standards can provide a common language and set of expectations that help build a bridge between monitoring service providers and the community of stakeholders that rely on them. All CSAA member companies are encouraged to make people and resources available for this important work. Contact membership@csaaintl.org to get involved.

Thanks to Steve Schmit for contributing this article.

CSAA Announces New Leadership for the Proprietary Council

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhil Hempen, Manager of Physical Security & Fire Services Team for Walgreen Co., is the new Proprietary Council co-chair and is appointed to the Board of Directors as Proprietary Council Liaison. Hempen says that he has “been associated with CSAA for 10 years, starting with my first Fall Operations meeting in Seattle. I have enjoyed the experiences and getting to know other proprietary members along with industry leaders, and look forward to being part of the continuing success and growth of the organization.” Hempen has more than 32 years’ experience with Walgreens, the last 6 with the Asset Protection team and more than 19 years of support for retail technology. His experience includes both insourcing and outsourcing support functions, and managing significant growth and change within support organizations. He says he sees his new CSAA positions as “an opportunity for me to increase the depth of knowledge in the industry, contribute to improvements in our industry, and share my knowledge and experience with other monitoring centers.”

daniel-jackman-photoDan Jackman, product manager for LDS Alarm Monitoring, is the new co-chair of the Proprietary Council. Jackman says that “LDS started our central station in 2008 to monitor a handful of locations. I was asked to manage our central station in 2010 and have had that responsibility since then. We have now grown to over 3000 accounts across the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories.” His background includes being a police/fire/911 dispatcher, police officer, and Network Engineer: “Initially I was hired (by the LDS Church) as a trainer for security officers, then transferred into alarm monitoring.”

Also new to the council is Michele Levcik, Asset Protection Manager for the Communication Center, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. She will take the position of recording secretary. Prior to her current position, she worked as Asset Protection Manager, Sr. Fraud Analyst, and Team Manager for Wegmans.

CSAA sincerely thanks past chair Joe Miskulin (State Farm) and past recording secretary Umit Ozbas (Wegmans) for their dedicated service.



UCC President Teresa Gonzalez Honored with Stanley C. Lott Award at 2016 CSAA Annual Meeting


Photo by Julie Webber

Teresa Gonzalez, president of United Central Control, was awarded the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)’s highest honor, the Stanley C. Lott Memorial Award for Exemplary Service, at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Florida on October 26.

This award was created to honor the memory of Stanley C. Lott, a CSAA past president renowned for his above-and-beyond efforts to lead and financially support the Association through difficult times.

“On behalf of CSAA, I am thrilled that Teresa has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Stanley C. Lott Award,” said Pamela J. Petrow, president of CSAA. “This award is not presented each year, but reserved for the very special recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the security industry over an extended period of time. Teresa’s efforts distinguish her among the volunteers who move CSAA forward — this award is well deserved.”

Teresa Gonzalez has 25 years of experience in central station operations and technology, including 15 years managing personnel, business operations and technical advancements in the central station.  She joined UCC in 1997 and served as UCC Vice President and General Manager until being promoted to President in 2008. She is a member of the CSAA Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the CSAA Education Committee.

“I am very humbled and honored to have been selected to receive this award,” said Gonzalez. “It is definitely an unexpected but pleasant surprise! Over the last 15 years, it has been a gratifying experience to work with and share ideas with other CSAA members who are passionate about this industry and its professionalism, especially all those who have contributed to the education committee over the years. I also feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from so many great leaders at CSAA. I am grateful to them for their support and friendship.”


Pam Petrow, left, and Teresa Gonzales. Photo by Brandon Freedman.

As chair of the CSAA Education Committee, Gonzalez has been a driving force behind creating and updating CSAA’s educational content, one of the Association’s most important programs. “Be it upgrades to existing programs, such as the Distance Learning Programs for frontline staff, or bringing in relevant speakers for the Fall Operations Conference and CSAA Annual Meeting, Teresa’s vision has been critical in our effort to create relevant content that our business members can use to improve performance and bottom line results,” said Petrow. “As we have been working to advance CSAA, her work in the area of education has significantly contributed to our success.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of CSAA,” said Gonzalez. “Under the leadership of President Pam Petrow, Executive Director Jay Hauhn, and all the support staff, CSAA has had new direction and positive change. Board members have a renewed commitment of participation, a common goal and desire to re-create value and relevance for our members, and to continue the furtherance of professionalism in our industry. I am proud and thankful to work with such exceptional people.”

Find out more about the Stanley C. Lott Award and view the list of recipients since 1991 at http://csaaintl.org/stanley-c-lott-award/.