In early March of 2006 the Society of Professional Locksmiths launched the first Internet Broadcast Network called LockRadio and announced it to the industry on April Fools Day 2006, and it was no joke. Unlike old timer Sal Schillizzi, a locksmith from Brooklyn NY who operated a AM frequency "call in" style radio program, the LockRadio broadcast network was delivered via the Internet to serve a global audience. In the spirit of Sal's memory call ins were certainly welcome, but the focus of this original broadcast network was to provide the locksmiths a voice in the industry at a time when they were being ignored by their national association. It also also acted as a mechanism to deliver online education, entertainment and even the industry's very first virtual trade show. All of which was operated and developed by actual locksmith members of the SOPL.
On March 30th, 2007 the Society of Professional Locksmiths launched the industry's very first complete online Learning Management System with Proficiency Testing, known as the Security Technical Institute (STI). The educational programs offered a "blended" learning environment never before offered to the industry which utilized the power of the Internet to deliver lesson plans ebook courses,professional development assignments powerpoints, and testing along side of live seminars. As it grew in popularity the STI program added live interactive webcasts and live regional seminars with simulcasting across the country in real time creating opportunities for local associations to access instructors and course which normally may have been unavailable or cost prohibitive. Locksmiths in California were attending classes being given in NJ and vice versa, without leaving their homes or business thereby reducing expenses normally associated with traveling to an event.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths harnessed the power of the Internet in a positive manner unlike any others within the locksmith industry and did so with peer development without the use of sponsor money or political interference. This successful model set a new standard within the locksmiths industry that is now being followed by other associations, manufacturers and even a trade magazine! The SOPL vision to provide the industry with a light weight, robust depository for the delivery of educational material and is now being emulated industry wide. Unfortunately, some are actually utilizing methods suggested to them in confidence by the SOPL staff when they were openly invited to participate within the STI program. I guess you can't trust everyone in the security industry all the time, but the SOPL is a transparent program which seeks dignified partners and you gotta take the good with the bad.
So it looks like the new benchmark of Gold Seal of the locksmith industry is and continues to be the Society of Professional Locksmiths and the creative training opportunities it offers. So as the industry improves using these forward thinking initiatives, and you all are sitting at home saving money on travel, lodging and more, please remember where it all came from.....
Lock Radio - You heard it here first!
Security Technical Institute- You learned it here first!
Society of Professional Locksmiths - You saw it here first!
Tom Lynch, CRL