Alan Higgins has been part of the security industry for 42 years and spent the last 23 of those years at ADI as the sales manager for Florida, South Carolina and Puerto Rico. During this time, he has built lasting friendships inside and outside the company and made a big impact on ADI, and everyone around him. We caught up with Alan before he says his goodbyes to see how it all started for him, what ADI has meant to him and what’s next after a well-earned retirement.
In the late 1970s, Alan Higgins owned and operated a small cleaning service. One evening when he was sweeping the floors for a client, he struck up a conversation with one of the workers who was always fond of Alan’s bright personality. The man suggested Alan sell his business and get into sales, where his personality would serve him much better. Sure enough, Alan sold his company and began working for a small independent distributor and then moved on to work at Security Warehouse, which was the first distributor in Cincinnati at the time.
Alan started at the sales counter with Security Warehouse and later became vice president of operations. Security Warehouse was eventually purchased by USSCO, another electronics supply company. Alan spent time with USSCO working in the New York area until he began to miss his southern roots. He then moved back to the Atlanta area where he co-founded a manufacturing representative company, Heitner-Higgins Reps.
“Several years later I visited with Suncoast Security Distributors in Florida, and they asked me if I would relocate and run their company,” Alan said. “I agreed, and we built that little company up and added more branches. This eventually led to my introduction into ADI – almost 23 years ago. And that’s how I got started in the security industry.”
Evidently by the time Alan was looking to work with ADI, his reputation had already proceeded him.
“I called ADI and spoke with the regional vice president of sales at the time,” Alan said. “I told him I would be leaving the company I had been at for the past nine years and was looking for a new opportunity. He told me he would call me back. A few hours later, ADI called me and said I had the job, and could start Monday.” Alan started work the following Monday and the rest is history.
Industry Over Time
In the 23 years Alan has been at ADI, he has experienced countless changes and technology advancements that have revolutionized the industry.
“When I first started in this industry, we had one single computer to run nine branches,” Alan recalled. “It had a maximum storage of 64 megabytes, not to mention the box was bigger than a car, filling up an entire room.”
During his tenure, Alan experienced one of the first ordering systems and has continued to watch the electronic age alter the security industry. Even as an old-school sales guy, Alan recognizes the benefits of the electronic evolution and digital transformation and sees what it can do for business. Technology is not the only aspect that has changed over the years, the way we conduct business has shifted as well.
“In the early days, we had to educate customers on the value of buying through a distributor versus direct from a manufacturer,” Alan said. “And to think now customers can buy directly from our website or app is pretty cool. The advances in technology and the resources made available to help sell, really has changed this industry in a terrific way.”
Relationships and Achievements at ADI
Alan has taken pride in striving to achieve the very best during his time at ADI. He has been named “Sales Manager of the Year” at ADI three different years. Based on the relationships and impact Alan has made on this industry – it is clear why he has been recognized.
“I’m really proud of these achievements and the recognition from these awards,” Alan said. “I take pride in trying to do the best job possible, not just for me but for the team I work with. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to lead some great people at ADI.”
As Alan discussed all the awards and past achievements, his teams had accomplished, he recognized every time that it was in fact a team effort. And expressed how much he was going to miss the team.
“There are people I view as mentors, those I have grown close to and a lot of people I have worked with for a long time. There have been so many great things about this job but more than anything, I am going to miss the people – the ADI team, our customers and supplier partners,” Alan noted.
It is bittersweet for Alan to say goodbye, but his retirement has quite a bit waiting for him that he is excited for. With six grand kids, Alan plans to spend a lot of time with family and those he loves. He also plans to do some writing, photography and traveling, once things get back to normal.
“I have a lot to look forward to and lots of time to spend with family to enjoy the small, but very meaningful things in life. I had a wonderful career at ADI, and I will miss everyone dearly. I wish ADI, and those I’ve had the pleasure to work with, all the best,” Alan concludes.