The Alarm Association of Florida, Inc. (AAF) was founded in 1968 by a group of alarm dealers who knew the time had come to organize their energies and talents and provide a resource to the security industry for services and representation to the public. However, the official date used for “the beginning” of the Association is 1970, since that is the year that the first set of Bylaws was adopted and a Code of Ethics enacted for AAF members.
The first President and founder of the Alarm Association of Florida was William Donald “Don” Kovacs in 1968 and he served from 1968 through 1970 as its President. The original officers were:
Don Kovacs, President (Alarmtec International Corporation)
Herb Fishwick, Vice President (Miami Burglar Alarm Company)
Judge Walter B. Lebowitz, Treasurer and Corporate Attorney
Barbara Kovacs – Secretary
Mr. Kovacs had completed an Underwriter’s Listed Central Station in Hollywood, Florida in 1968. This was the first U.L. listed central station in Broward County and the conversions of the accounts from direct Police connect to hard copper direct wire was imminent. The local phone company began a series of delays with claims of no available facilities, even after all orders had been submitted. Mr. Kovacs had considerable investment in the new facility and this did not bode well the longer the incomplete situation continued.
Mr. Kovacs sought the assistance of a national association, meeting in Freeport at that time, to help resolve the issues with the telephone company. However they declined on the grounds that this was a local turf battle and they could not supply the necessary legal help. On the return flight to Florida, Don and wife Barbara discussed the concept of a Florida association. With Don piloting his Cessna winging his way back to Florida, the Alarm Association of Florida was conceived and born at 2000 feet above the ‘Devil’s Triangle’.
After filing the legal papers the AAF became a corporate entity, and with the above listed officers began its existence. One of the first orders of business was for Attorney Lebowitz to file suit against the telephone company and subsequently win. This then was the first practical use for the new association, helping a dealer compete on a level playing field.
It was not long until another issue regarding circuit pricing occurred and once again the Association rose to the occasion. A meeting was held in Hallandale at the old ‘Hemispheres Hotel’, where a new slate of officers and plan of action were created. Don Kovacs was re-elected President, Jim Kertz as Vice-President and Alan Black as Secretary/Treasurer. They proceeded and prevailed again and the Association began a life of its own.
In 1976, the Association officially registered as a not-for-profit corporation with the Secretary of State’s Office and was given a Charter Number: 736383.
The first official office location of the association was found in the Fort Lauderdale home of the AAF’s first Executive Director, Floyd Neely. In 1985, Mr. Neely relocated to Lake Placid, Florida and set up the AAF office in his new home in that city.
The membership of the AAF began a building fund drive in 1987 to collect a down payment on a building that the AAF could call its own. In 1988 the dream was realized and the Association purchased their first headquarters office at 229 Interlake Boulevard, Lake Placid.
The AAF had an established identity. In the late 70′s, the Association adopted a red triangle design with an image map of the State of Florida inside and the Association’s name printed along the sides of the triangle. The logo was registered as a “collective mark” with the Secretary of State and remained the official logo of the AAF until 1994. In 1994, the Association launched a campaign that culminated in a new design that features a “squared off” Florida map cutting through the stacked initials “AAF”. In 1995, the logo was registered with the Bureau of Trademarks in Washington, DC.
Also in 1994, the AAF approved the relocation of the Association headquarters to Florida’s Capital City, Tallahassee. The association leased space for the first 10 months of relocation at 522 East Park Avenue, Suite 201, Tallahassee, and just three blocks from the State Capitol. New rental office space was found in 1995 at 1349 E. Lafayette Street, where the AAF resided for two years. Also in 1995, the old headquarters office in Lake Placid was sold to a local real estate broker and the AAF purchased a 7,000 square foot building in 1997 at 1710 South Gadsden Street, Tallahassee. The AAF occupied this building for fourteen months and it was then leased as a business investment and subsequently sold in December of 2003.
Presently the AAF headquarters office is located in Plantation Florida west of Fort Lauderdale.