At seven years old, Robert Few was running wire on burglar and fire alarm installations with his father. By 14, he was working in the family-owned monitoring center. By 30, he was vice president of the family company, which had changed its name to Criticom International and become the largest contract monitoring company in the country at the time, with three locations and more than 300 employees. “I guess you could say it was just in the cards,” says Few.
SEEING THE SUCCESS Few had in his family business – where he learned what he knew from the generations before him – then seeing his close involvement with the Rising Leaders Group and Mentorship Program raises the question: Why would he take such an interest in helping others branch out from their family businesses? He was the best person to recognize the need — and was driven to give back to the industry that had given so much to him and his family.
“Having grown up in this industry, I have seen and experienced how daunting it can be to build a peer network and share ideas and challenges outside of your own company,” says Few. “Having grown up in a family business, like many of us in this industry, knowledge, passed down from generation to generation, was confined to our company.”
Few sought to expand this knowledge beyond company and family circles. He sought to include industry newcomers and rising leaders — to fill the talent gap many companies are facing today and to grow networks between companies more effectively.
To better facilitate this transfer of knowledge between generations, Few turned his efforts toward the Rising Leaders Group. After searching for inspiration in his own life, it dawned on him that a mentorship program could accomplish what he envisioned. The program would pair a younger professional or an industry newcomer with a seasoned expert.
“My dad showed that through hard work, dedication and perseverance you can build anything, says Few. “But through loyalty and caring for the people you work with, you can take what you’ve built and achieve greatness.”
Few brought his vision to ESA President Angela White and ESA Executive Director and CEO Merlin Guilbeau, who both gave him the green light to start his project.
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