Notes from the Editor: Perception and Reality

Sept. 4, 2017
Our industry must recruit younger locksmiths with an eye towards electronic access control

Another ALOA convention has come and gone. For over 35 years I have attended every ALOA convention regardless of its location.  During those years my job description fluctuated between locksmith business owner, security product trainer, lock product developer and magazine writer.   Because of this wide array of activities, I have been fortunate to become acquainted with many different members of the locksmith security community. 

A slogan printed on the official ALOA17 brochure invites conventioneers to "Connect With Your Peers."  I could not agree more.  From locksmiths to manufacturer representatives, my conversations were wide and varied.  Most discussions centered around what this business had been, and where it was going.   Most of my locksmith friends talked of their many memories of days gone by.  Most manufacturer reps spoke of future developments.

This all has a logical explanation since my locksmith acquaintances connect me with our earlier meetings in past years while people manning the booths were more interested in future sales.   Regardless of the topics discussed, there is no question that ALOA was a good place to visit and strengthen relationships with "your peers."

The first thing I noticed on the convention floor was a lack of the future as I see it.  Some manufacturers displayed only mechanical product lines while omitting any mention of electronic lock products they also have in their lineup.  Perception is reality.  My takeaway from the convention floor was that manufacturers aimed their product mix at what they thought conventioneers wanted to see. 

A second slogan printed on the ALOA17 brochure was "Master Your Skills."  Out of the 14 teaching topics ,only one topic featured access control.  This is an admirable start but a larger percentage of electronic classes should be considered.  As usual during the last few years, booths featuring anything to do with transponder car keys were all busy.  

Generally speaking, older locksmiths at the ALOA17 convention gravitated towards manufacturers who featured mechanical products while younger locksmiths lingered at automotive displays. The sooner we can interest younger people in the wide future possibilities available in our locksmith profession, the sooner we can change the unfortunate reality perception that now exists.