i3 - November/December 2017 - 41

Darrell Issa
FOUNDER, DIRECTED
PUBLISHER,
ELECTRONICS;
TWICE MAGAZINE
U.S. CONGRESSMAN
(1947 -0000)
(R-CA) (1953 - )

he words "entrepreneur"
and "politician" do not
often describe the same
person, yet both portray the
unique career of Darrell Issa.
He is the founder of Directed
Electronics Inc. (DEI), which
became the premier vehicle
anti-theft device supplier in
the U.S. In 2000, he switched
careers and became the
premier technology-centric
member of the U.S. Congress.
Issa was born in Cleveland,
OH, the second of six children of
Martha and William Issa. At age
17 as a senior in high school, Issa
enlisted in the Army and became
an Explosive Ordnance Disposal
technician. Thanks to an ROTC
scholarship, Issa graduated with
a business degree from Sienna
Heights University in Adrian, MI,
was commissioned as an Army
officer and ultimately achieved
the rank of captain.
After leaving active service
in 1980, Issa and his wife pooled
their savings, borrowed from
family and invested in a business
that assembled goods for a
number of clients, including
car alarm manufacturer Steal
Stopper. When Steal Stopper
faltered, Issa bought the
company and turned it around by
procuring contracts with major

T

C TA . t e c h / i 3

Darrell Issa founded Directed
Electronics Inc. in 1982 to design
and sell a ermarket car security
systems. As a Congressman in 2011,
he spearheaded the defeat of the Stop
Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the
Protect IP Act (PIPA).

carmakers to supply factoryinstalled auto security systems.
In 1982, Issa founded Directed
Electronics Inc. (DEI) to design
and sell aftermarket car security
systems. In 1989, DEI introduced
Python and, later, Viper, which
became the industry's premier
anti-theft auto system. Viper
could detect motion and
pressure on a car, triggering the
alarm and horn.
In 1992, Viper added Back
Talk, featuring Issa's own voice
saying: "Protected by Viper!
Stand back!" and "Please step
away from the car!" Versions of
Viper also introduced remote

alarm control, remote door lock
control and remote starting, all
from a wireless keychain fob.
DEI's sales more than
doubled between 1989 and
1990. In 1992, DEI trebled
its operating space with a
66,000-square-foot corporate
HQ in Vista, CA on newly created
Viper Way - a building soon
dubbed "The Snake Pit." That
year, DEI had record sales of $47
million and shipped more than
400,000 systems, 35 percent
more than the year before.
The following year, DEI reached
42 percent market share
thanks to several new products

including Failsafe, which could
shut down a car after a theft, Soft
Chirp, a quieter overnight alarm,
and Sound-Off, an undercar
material that dampened road
noise. By 1996, DEI was selling
700 different products.
In 1994, Issa was named
Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc.
Magazine. He also served as
chairman of CTA.
In 2000, Issa was elected
to the U.S. Congress for
Southern California's 48th
District, since renamed the 49th
after redistricting. During his
political career, he has authored
and advanced legislation
important to the consumer
technology industry.
As a holder of 37 patents,
Issa has been especially vigilant
about protecting the intellectual
property rights of entrepreneurs
and America's position at the
forefront of innovation. In 2011,
Issa spearheaded the defeat of
the controversial Stop Online
Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect
IP Act (PIPA). In recognition for his
legislative support for technology
and innovation, Issa was named
one of the four inaugural CTA
Digital Patriots in 2005.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

41


http://CTA.tech/i3

i3 - November/December 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2017

Contents
i3 - November/December 2017 - Cover1
i3 - November/December 2017 - Cover2
i3 - November/December 2017 - Contents
i3 - November/December 2017 - 2
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