First Alarm solidifies reach with acquisition

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Monday, August 1, 2005

APTOS, Calif.--Two competing independent alarm businesses are consolidating efforts in a move that will solidify the combined entity's position as one of the largest security companies in the Monterey Bay region of California.
Full-service alarm company First Alarm purchased Pierson Security Systems--a company that employed 10 and accounted for more than 1,000 accounts in the commercial and high-end residential market--in early May.
This is the company's largest acquisition since purchasing Cypress Alarm in 1996, according to Dave Hood, First Alarm's vice president and general manager.
Though financial terms were not disclosed, Hood said the negotiations were initiated by First Alarm and that the relinquishing of the business was the "right time" for Hugh and Audrey Pierson, the former owners of Pierson Security.
Hood points to Pierson Security Systems' excellent customer service as one of the benefits the merger brings to First Alarm, as well as custom software that Hugh Pierson developed that provides "flexibility and control with the customer's security systems through an enhanced remote management tool."
"We're looking forward to adopting some of their processes to help us manage our business more effectively," Hood said.
First Alarm has made several small acquisitions over the past year, Hood said, which is part of a business plan that revolves around growing a customer base in relatively small geographic clusters.
"Ideally, a branch office will support clients within a 25-mile radius," Hood said, adding the company's offices are all within a one- to two-hour drive from each other. "This has been an important way for us to differentiate ourselves from the other national or 'mega regional' competitors. And it enables us to provide great customer service from employees who live and work close to their customers."
The Piersons owned the electronic security and fire alarm company since 1991. Hood said Hugh Pierson has chosen to semi-retire, and may continue to operate a software consulting business.
His wife, Audrey, will remain within First Alarm's sales department.
Founded in 1966 by Jarl Saal under the name of Seascape Security, First Alarm now has approximately 500 employees.
In the last four years, First Alarm opened branches in the state in San Jose, Oakland and Petaluma.