Howard Edward “Bud” Wulforst Named 2019 Person of the Year
This year’s Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year is industry veteran Howard Edward Wulforst. Many in the industry know him as Bud, and this award recognizes his innumerable contributions to the industry.
Wulforst has been in the industry for longer than the Weinstock Award has existed. He has been a member and president of TMA (formerly CSAA) and has been involved in ESA throughout the years as part of many initiatives and as a mentor to other businesspeople in the industry.
“I’m truly humbled as we stand here with 50 years of award recipients. I am so very proud to receive this wonderful ESA award. I’ve learned so much from so many over the years,” said Wulforst as he received the award. “The associations are the catalyst for bringing it all together. The power of networking and participating in our associations should never be underestimated. When I say thank you, I say thank you to you all.”
According to Wulforst, his path into the industry started after World War II. His uncle worked for an alarm company in Queens, New York, and helped Wulforst’s father get a job at Supreme Burglar Alarm in Manhattan. A few years later, Wulforst joined his father at Supreme around the age of 12 working as a “back room guy,” where he cleaned up equipment and materials. Wulforst remembers becoming a skilled alarm mechanic before the age of 18, and loved the technology and its purpose of protecting life and property.
The rest is history, as he built and sold five alarm companies during his successful career.
“The alarm business is like the mob – once you get in, you can’t get out,” says Wulforst. “In the 70s, I got involved in the NBFAA, now ESA, and the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. The annual conventions were a real learning experience. Laurie and I were always fascinated with the openness of the members and that they shared best practices with us.”
Wulforst also joined TMA and has served on the TMA board since his presidency from 2007-2009. He has been known to reach out to friends in the industry to offer advice and help solve business problems, and Bud’s impact has extended beyond business and into the lives of his family, friends, and the industry.
When he was presented with the Weinstock Person of the Year Award in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in the security industry, he was moved and voiced his gratitude for the honor. The occasion was tinged with sadness but also with fond memories of Bud’s recently departed wife, Laurie, who passed away in July of 2020.
“Winning this award is fantastic. I kind of thought it had passed me by and I was out to pasture. When I was told I was getting the award, I was dumbfounded. It’s the biggest award in our industry, so it’s very important,” says Wulforst. “My wife, who is no longer with me, she was the biggest asset that I ever had. And she helped me every step of the way. Always there, never looking for the lights and glory. She was always there pushing me … great woman.”
Family, Friends and Peers Share Praise for Bud
“I reached out to Bud’s peers and colleagues around the country and I asked them to give me three words that would best describe him. The words that came up most often were ‘mentor,’ ‘friend,’ and‘family.’ These carefully chosen words reflect Bud’s character and values. His children are shining examples of this character, and I’m confident that his beautiful wife is here in spirit and gushing with pride. Thank you, Bud, for your years of commitment,” says George De Marco, managing partner DECO Ventures and 2013 Sara E. Jackson Award recipient.
“We’ve gone on trips together, and I got to know him really good. Bud served as president of TMA while running a smaller company, so that’s a pretty good challenge. Those leadership roles are a real burden for a guy with a smaller company. I had to delegate a lot of stuff when I became president of an association because somebody’s got to do the day to day. When you’re busy with the association, sometimes you’re in Washington as much as you’re home. Bud was no exception to that,” says Robert Bonifas, the 1986 Weinstock Award recipient, former TMA president and former ESA president. “He’s a real fun guy … we get on conference calls every week now. He’s just a happy guy when he’s around. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
“Bud is a very focused person. Once he got involved in a specific project or had an idea, he would go jump in full blast. He would read every book and understand every aspect of it. He’s always approached things very scientifically,” says Howard Wulforst, regional sales manager at ADI and Bud’s son. “I think this is truly a surprise and something he probably wouldn’t even have imagined being awarded. When I got the news it was pretty emotional for me, as I know it is for him … He’s really used the associations to build a knowledge base and then give back to the people in the industry. That’s what I’m most proud to see.”
“Bud is probably the most unique man I’ve ever met and I couldn’t be more grateful to have him for my father-in-law. He’s so caring and everything he does is heartfelt, although he has this layer of sarcasm and wit about him which sometimes prevents people from seeing the real soft guy that he is inside,” says Cheri Wulforst, daughter-in-law of Bud. “I think he’s just been a huge leader for his children to show them how to be an entrepreneur. He thinks differently than anybody I know. He is always outside of the lines. I’m proud to know him and be inspired by him on how to go through life maybe on a different path than most people.”
“As I got into my teens and then later twenties, I realized the impacts he has brought to the industry,” says Scott Wulforst, director at Stanley Security and Bud’s son. “This award is a lifetime achievement award. The recognition that the industry has now bestowed upon him is definitely important to him. It embodies what he has brought to the industry, his friends in the industry and his family. It comes full circle. I am humbled and really proud of my father for receiving such an award.”
“I have memories since eight years old. We bought a house in New York and had an answering service.So my mom and dad were running down answering calls,” says Leif Wulforst, owner of A–1 Security and son of Bud.
“I think he has been a great teacher of what associations mean for industries, especially this industry. He was prevalent in getting people to join the industry. He participated in the industry in a big way and helped bring other associations together to work together for the greater good,” says Jeanne Wulforst, executive director of PPVAR and Bud’s daughter-in-law.
To experience the full awards ceremony, see full video below.
The 2019 Morris F Weinstock Person of the Year Award is sponsored by Resideo.