Posted on August 21, 2020
By Mikkel Schultz, Senior Editor

The in-person version of IWCE 2020 — and thus the Safer Buildings Coalition Annual Members' Meeting  fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that would never stop us from celebrating our members and everything we've accomplished together. So the 2020 Safer Buildings Coalition 2020 Members' Meeting went virtual. Instead of getting together in Vegas as originally planned, we all hung out virtually on Tuesday afternoon. 

Our members are everything  and we truly loved seeing each one of you via your webcams. Thanks to all of you who joined us. We had a blast!

These are some of the highlights of the 2020 Safer Buildings Coalition Members' Meeting.

SBC Managing Director John Foley talks about our mission.

The full meeting video will be made available for on-demand viewing shortly. Stay tuned!

Headlined by a poignant keynote from Chief Jeff Johnson - CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association, the two-hour meeting featured video presentations from our five work groups, as well as updates and comments from SBC leadership, business partners and member organizations. We also had a visit from the “DAS Doctor” and a cameo by … The Simpsons. Oh, and a certain TV star made a surprise appearance!

The Simpsons and DAS Doctor ImageThe Simpsons lent the DAS Doctor a hand with Tuesday’s presentation.

We will make the entire meeting available for on-demand viewing very soon, but in the meantime, these are some of the highlights of the 2020 Safer Buildings Coalition Members' Meeting.

Chief Perdue presenting imageChief Perdue presenting.

Keynote Address
Chief Jeff Johnson delivered Tuesday's keynote. Chief Johnson covered a wide range of issues related to the future of in-building public safety, including FirstNet and the importance of location accuracy for 9-1-1 calls — particularly vertical accuracy — i.e., why it's absolutely crucial that first responders know which floor of a building people in need are calling from. The Chief relayed the chilling reality of fire fighters trying to locate people in need in a burning, smoke-filled, partially collapsed building. 

Chief JohnsonChief Johnson: “The future is ultra-reliable in-building communications."

"The future," Chief Johnson stated, "is ‘ultra-reliable in-building communications’." He went on to discuss how, Wi-Fi, LMR, public safety broadband, reliable backup technology, and artificial intelligence can help us reach that target – and what we, as an industry, can do to make public safety communications available in all buildings.

2019 Recognition Awards Image2019 Recognition Awards

Another highlight of the meeting was handing out this year's Safer Buildings Coalition Recognition Awards. Here are the deserved winners:



President's Award
Josh Gerst, RF Connect

Josh Gerst, RF Connect


Mission Impact Award

Mission Impact Award Graybar


Founder's Award

Founders' Award SoliD


Gratitude Award
Jeff Hipchen, RF Connect

Gratitude Award Jeff Hipchen, RF Connect Image


Mission Impact Award
Alliance Corporation

Mission Impact Award Alliance Corporation


SBC Staff MVP Award
Nancy Hoppe, Event Manager

SBC Staff MVP Award Nancy Hoppe


Partner Award

Partner Award IWCE

Congrats to all of you!

Work Group Presentations

We are proud to announce that the Safer Buildings Coalition now runs five work groups — Government Affairs, Codes & Standards, Advancement, Public Safety Technology and Community Affairs. Each group works tirelessly to spread the word on our key issues, fulfill our mission and connect with members, old and new. The Chairs and Co-Chairs of each work group provided an update on group mission, accomplishments and objectives. These work groups are critical to our success as an organization. To every work group member: Thank you for all that you do!

The New SBC Board

Senior SBC leadership delivered updates on the state of affairs during the meeting — and you all had an opportunity to meet the new members of the SBC Board of Directors: 

Vice President: Dennis Burns, ADRF
Treasurer: Ron Schachter, RF Solutions
Secretary: Prince Niyyar, Commdex

Meanwhile, in accordance with the rules of the Board, current VP Eric Toenjes, Graybar, will take over as SBC President while our sitting President, Patrick Lau, Comba, will step into the role of Immediate Past Present.

Once again: We loved seeing you all. Thanks for all that you do. And thanks for being members of the Safer Buildings Coalition.

From all of us to all of you: Thanks for being members of the Safer Buildings Coalition.


Oh, and that primetime TV A-Lister we mentioned at the top: Meet DEA ASAC Hank Shrader - aka Dean Norris, of Breaking Bad-fame!

Hank Schrader