Rodger Reiswig Receives Sara E. Jackson Award 2020
A family man and motivated spokesman for industry standards, Reiswig has been at the same companycontributing to the industry for 34 years. He started at Simplex Time Recorder, which was bought by Tyco International and later merged with Johnson Controls.
“When I started out, I was going to school for electronics at night and working during the day as a diesel mechanic. And just when I was getting close to finishing my electronics education, the manager of the local Simplex office — a family friend — offered me a job with Simplex. He took me into the office, and I jumped in. It just kind of grew from there,” says Reiswig.
The industry veteran first got involved with ESA after hearing about the opportunity to join the Standards Committee. Reiswig’s impact on the committee has been praised by leaders in the industry, and his influence has made a mark that will be remembered.
“I want to congratulate Rodger on this well-deserved honor. His leadership, experience and guidance have taken the Standards and Fire/Life Safety Committee to new heights,” says Chris Heaton, ESA vice president of advocacy and government affairs. “This is reflected with a three-fold increase in ESA representation on important NFPA technical committees in the last 2 years under his leadership as Chair for the Standards Committee. Few people understood the importance of industry representation on these technical committees, which develop the standards for virtually everything our members do on a day-to-day basis.”
Reiswig joined the Standards committee when the primary focus was on security and intrusion codes, like NFPA 730 and 731. He believed the association had a real opportunity to expand its involvement in the many other codes that directly impact the work of electronic security and life safety companies. Reiswig believes in making your voice heard, getting involved and having a mentor.
“I always want to encourage others that when you find an organization that you believe is doing the right thing and for the right reasons, get involved! And if you don't think you're smart enough or know enough or are involved enough yourself, there's no better way than to jump in with both feet,” says Reiswig.
Looking back at his path to the present, Reiswig credited many industry mentors and figures he has learned from. Among them are Bruce Fraser and Wayne Moore, two mentors Reiswig said have inspired him during his career.
“My first industry mentor was Bruce Fraser. He was the professional liaison for Simplex to the industry as the industry relations director. He retired in 2006 and I filled the role in his absence. He was a great influence on me and I thank him a lot for all that he did. He paved the way,” says Reiswig. “There’s other industry icons that I look to that are great mentors. Wayne Moore with Jensen Hughes has been a fantastic mentor. I remember Wayne from when I was a technician way back. He truly wanted to helpthe industry and educate the industry and be part of the codes and standards and the life safety process.”
Along the way, Reiswig picked up insights from his mentors that would shape the trajectory of his career in the security industry. As he became more involved as a liaison and figure in the standards community, he found the advice from his mentors and members of the associations continued to be helpful to him. He encourages others to follow suit and get involved.
“In anything that you do, find somebody that does what you would like to do – somebody that could be a mentor to you – and just absorb the information that you can. Just try to do what they do but make it your own if you can,” says Reiswig. “This is a call to action for a lot of our members. You have the ability to be on these codes and standards committees. And if you don’t know the process and are asking ‘what am I supposed to do’ or ‘how do I act’ or ‘what do I say,’ we can coach you through all of that.”
Reiswig also thanks Chris Heaton and Merlin Guilbeau, CEO of ESA, for approving his efforts in building a larger Standards Committee with more seats at the table.
“Two years ago, I was tapped and asked if I would become chair of the committee. When I did that, Iworked with Chris Heaton – a fantastic guy to work with. I worked with Chris to actively solicit people to join the codes and standards and become a rep for ESA,” says Reiswig. “None of that would have happened if Merlin didn’t back it. When I talked to him about it, he was all in. He said ‘yes, absolutely, let’s do this.’ And that helped so much when we are able to go out and ask people.”
Reiswig’s final thanks for the award went out to his family for enduring his absences while he is away.He says his wife Lori and two daughters make him miss their home in Orlando, Florida, because they are such a close-knit family.
“We love to go to the beach. And I love going to the theme parks, dragging the family with me. One of the disappointing things was when my kids got older and got to college, I lost my excuse to go to Disney and Universal Studios. So now I’ll drag my wife to the park once in a while or go when a friend comes to visit. If anybody’s out there and would like to go to a theme park in Orlando, let me know. I’m your guy.”
ESA congratulates Rodger on receiving this award and thanks him for his many contributions to the industry through his involvement on the Standards Committee.
“As the staff liaison for Standards and Fire/Life Safety, I am honored to work with you and once again congratulate you as this years’ recipient of the Sara Jackson award,” says Heaton.