Crowd of 1,000 attend APX Grand Opening

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PROVO, Utah—Envision an artfully choreographed political event and you have some idea about the Dec. 3 grand opening of APX Alarm’s new 125,000-square-foot corporate headquarters.

It took place in APX’s “Final Four Gymnasium,” part of APX’s corporate campus, here in Provo, where there are big rocky mountain views in every direction. The house was packed for the event, with 450 seated guests and another 550 standing. While the APX executives were dressed in business suits for the event, others of the mostly 20-something, outdoorsy-looking APX staffers in the audience were in their accustomed casual wear—kind of a hiker-skier version of Silicon Valley’s T-shirt and jeans look.

Special guests included local legislators, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The security industry was also well represented. Among the guests were George DeMarco, George Gunning, Les Gold, Matt Westphal, Mel Mahler, Stan Oppenheim and Daniel Demers. Seated up front with the industry VIPs were numerous financial folks including representatives from Goldman Sachs, Peterson Partners and Jupiter Partners.

The fast-paced, 40-minute program itself included a testimonial from Sonny Rast—a customer who said his APX Alarm medical pendant/alarm system saved his life—and comments from Apx executives Alex Dunn, Shawn Brenchley and CEO Todd Pedersen.

Pedersen told a couple of stories about trying unsuccessfully—“like 20 times”—to get a door-to-door sales job when he was first out of college. “This is the result of not getting that job,” he said to much laughter. When he first founded APX, someone else told him, “This door-to-door thing is never going to work … it’s one of my fondest memories.”

He moved on to more serious topics, talking about starting this business out of a van, and now having 375,000 customers across the country. APX has broken the mold in many ways in the security industry, he said, notably with its sales model. APX intends to keep breaking new ground, particularly with new product offerings, and services, he said. “We intend to make great changes to this industry,” he said. “It’s been a great ride, and it’s going to be a blast in the future.”

Gov. Herbert spoke at length about the positive economic impact of APX Alarm in Utah and across the country. “The ripple effect of APX is significant in many ways,” he said. “It helps the economy, and adds to the quality of life.”

APX COO Alex Dunn, who worked for Gov. Romney when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, introduced the governor, saying Romney has much to do with the success of APX. During long car rides, “We talked about what made him successful,” Dunn said. “Many of the principles we talked about, we’ve put to work here at APX,” he said.

Romney lauded the executive staff of APX and said it’s notable that APX was able to get a $440 million credit facility during these economic times. He also stepped onto the stump, saying, “The president today is at a jobs summit … I wish he were here instead to see how real jobs are created in the private sector.”  

Lights were dimmed for two short videos (made in-house by the APX creative team), one at the beginning of the program and one before the actual ribbon cutting. The 30-second spot prior to the ribbon cutting featured shots of construction of the new headquarters, interspersed with photos of employees and customers, backed by Led Zeppelin.

A lavish lunch for all guests followed in the first-floor cafeteria of the new headquarters, which was designed after representatives from APX went out to visit Apple’s and Google’s headquarters for inspiration.

It’s modern, open and light-filled throughout, and decorated with updated versions of classic mid-century modern furniture and lighting.

The ceilings are high and HVAC systems are exposed, giving the spaces an industrial-chic look. More than 50 percent of the exterior walls are glass and the best views are reserved for departments such as customer service and the central station.

There is much open space, “for future growth,” Matt Barrett, APX training manager, service and inside sales, said. APX will hire 200 new employees over the next several months to work in different roles in the new headquarters.

The second floor has a main corridor called Main Street and the different departments are organized into neighborhoods. There are very few interior walls that are not glass. Throughout the building, quotes from APX customers are stenciled on walls.

There are multiple gathering spaces, enclosed and not enclosed. Some with smoky glass, but most with clear glass.

“It’s all about openness and the exchange of ideas,” Barrett said. Indeed, the managers’ offices are all open; the executive suite includes offices, but all of the walls are glass. There are flat screen monitors all over the building that can be used for a showing up-to-date statistics, customer testimonials, new products, etc. And there are no white boards anywhere. They’ll use the glass walls of the meeting rooms as white boards. It’s all for everyone to see, Barrett noted.

APX designer David Gallulo said the space was easy to design because “the company had such a clear idea of what they wanted.” The building, he said, “is all about family. It’s a space that’s built to build family.”