Former telecom exec opens locally operated Calif. central

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Sunday, December 1, 2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Less than a year after SureWest Communications Inc. sold its RTC Alarm Monitoring operations to a national contract monitoring company, the former head of operations at RTC has opened up a new central station to serve independent dealers here.

Tim Sproul, who developed and ran RTC for SureWest for more than 12 years, went live in September with accounts from a new central station called Total Monitoring Services. Sproul had already left RTC before Criticom, formerly King-Monital-IDC, bought those operations, but already had a business plan in the works to build a new contract central station that would operate in California.

With dealers already online from Washington to Florida, Sproul, TMS' chief executive officer, said he hopes to have reached 20,000 accounts in a year's time.

"I took Roseville basically from three dealers to almost 400" throughout his tenure at RTC, he said. "Most of those dealers are still out there."

Criticom bought RTC in December 2001 for an undisclosed sum, closed the RTC central station in Roseville and moved the accounts to another California location. Plans then called for the construction of a new dealer care center in Roseville to service the dealers there. That facility is one of six such Criticom locations in the U.S.

The closure of the RTC central left Sproul with an ample labor pool of experienced workers that have filled the company's 15 operator positions in a 3,000-square-foot UL listed central station on which the company has a 10-year lease. The facility received its Underwriters Laboratories listing in September.

"Our technology is already built," Sproul said. "The building is planned for well over 100,000 accounts."

Current growth has been entirely word of mouth to this point, he said, but the company's marketing staff will be brought up to full capacity in a few months, and the company will participate in industry trade shows and launch a marketing campaign. TMS has already joined many industry associations.