ADT aims to stimulate business with stimulus dollars

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DALLAS—Because they believe the stimulus package will be a significant source of funding for its government and school customers over the next 18 months, ADT is hiring a person to identify and chase those stimulus dollars.

“[This person’s] only responsibility will be to accumulate data about stimulus funding,” said Keith Jernigan, ADT’s director, state and local government. Jernigan said he, Hank Monaco, ADT’s VP, commercial marketing, and ADT CEO John Koch have bi-monthly calls dedicated to stimulus package funding updates.

An ongoing part of Jernigan’s job is searching out and spreading the word among his sales force and customers about available government grants and funds. For stimulus funds specifically, time is of the essence, Jernigan said. While much of the funding has yet to be awarded, “most of it will have to be spent by 2010,” which means projects need to get on the books, and fast.

At an Aug. 24 through 26 ADT media summit, the financial and political challenges of getting a municipal surveillance project off the ground were discussed by two ADT local government customers. Ty Morrow, police chief (recently retired) of Bryan, Texas, and Peter Sheets, deputy police chief, Bryan, Texas, talked about how they’ve completed the first phase of a multi-phase surveillance project in this city that was facing major crime problems. Steven Foster, police chief of McGregor, Texas, discussed his experiences with a small city that is in the process of installing surveillance cameras as a “force multiplier” for a small police force.

Grants and stimulus funds helped both these projects, but getting local politicians and the general public on board for the project was the first step.

Morrow knew the advantages of surveillance technology from previous roles he held in Fairfax, Va. In Bryan, he spent time talking to all stakeholders, including local businesses, churches and schools, educating them about the technology and getting them to “buy into the vision of making their city the safest city in the great state of Texas.” That endorsement makes “it very difficult for them to push back on the project,” he said. And to get the project going, Morrow raised seed money ($45,000 is currently in the bank) by selling assets seized from criminals. Seed money makes it easier, financially and politically, for the city to commit resources before they see the positive effects of the project, he said. “That way I use my money first, and when I am out [I say to the city] can I have some of yours?”