The purpose we serve
When you first meet someone outside work or out of uniform, one of the first things that person may ask is, “So what do you do?” Everyone has a personal life, yet we often are defined — and partly define ourselves — by our jobs, by the work we do.
There are moments in our lives when we step back and think about our work and what it means to us, what it says about us. Not only do we ask ourselves if we are doing a good job, but if the job is worth all the effort we put into our working lives.
Every year at the annual APCO conference and exposition, many of us find ourselves on common ground. Many of us in the exhibit hall work for a commercial business enterprise and market our products and services to attendees. Our companies are competitors, yet at the APCO show we’re all under the same tent, as we serve the same marketplace.
To some extent, even in supporting roles in a commercial business, we share the same objective: enabling communications for purposes of public safety. In business we must understand the real world on the front lines for those who use our products and services, and we must engineer our products and services to meet their practical needs.
Those are the values and concerns and communications we share with the people we meet in our booth at the APCO show every year. That’s true for our competitors as well, and for all of us attending the event.
When we look around at APCO, we share a certain pride in what we do, in our respective jobs. We are proud of our long association with APCO, with our customers and prospective customers who work in the field of public safety, and of what we try to do to support them.
Two-way land mobile radio equipment has long been the infrastructure of public-safety communications in this country and around the world. Such radios are used by firefighters and rescue teams, officers of the law, emergency responders, military personnel, and homeland security and government agency professionals who must be able to communicate instantly with their teams whenever and wherever needed.
Such radios are used by those who work to protect and save lives.
It won’t hurt any of us to admit that each and every one of us at the APCO show is trying to serve a useful purpose. And when we look at the work we do and the purpose we serve, we can take some satisfaction in being part of something that is useful and helpful.
Beyond homeland security and public safety, there are other business and industrial applications for our radio products. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in products that serve commercial applications, but that isn’t the number-one priority in our industry.
For us it’s about a technology that indeed serves a vital purpose for those in emergency situations. And we’ll say it again: Radio communications help radio users protect and save lives.
After APCO, after work, someone who works at our company might be introduced to someone who asks, “So what do you do?”
Assuming that person may know nothing about mobile radio technology, we might answer simply by saying something like, “Our company makes two-way radios that are used by police, firefighters, EMS and rescue crews, military teams — people like that.”
We say it with a smile, proud of the company we keep, the work they do, the work we do for them, the common purpose we all serve, especially in times of greatest need.
David P. Storey is president and CEO of RELM Wireless Corp., a manufacturer and marketer of mobile radio equipment for public-safety and government agencies, as well as business-band radios serving a wide range of commercial applications, for six decades.