Heads down, Criticom gets to work

After NACC, IASG's monitoring division focuses on station integration
Sunday, May 1, 2005

IRVINE, Calif.--Closing the biggest acquisition to date was not only cause for celebration, but also caution for Integrated Alarm Services Group's monitoring division, Criticom.
Last November, Criticom's parent company IASG completed the purchase of Irvine-based National Alarm Computer Center from Tyco Intl. for $50.3 million in cash. The deal increased monitored accounts to approximately 760,000.
Over the last several months, the company has worked on keeping experienced operators in place and merging two central stations on the West Coast by making as little noise as possible.
By working quietly, Criticom intends to draw attention to the end results of the transition and not the minutia of the changeover. At present, the company operates one primary central station in New Jersey and two in California. Another, in Minnesota, handles GPS monitoring.
As a result of the acquisition, the company decided to consolidate its West Coast monitoring operations here from its existing central station in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
"I would say we're 70 percent done," according to Tom Few Jr., director of operations, western region, Criticom, on the company's progress as of late April. "The remaining balance will be done over the next 60 days."
To ensure the company keeps an experienced roster of operators, Criticom announced earlier this year a bonus of $10,000 to any operator that commits to stay on during the transition and relocation. The amount is split between those two conditions and will be paid out over a six-month period.
"We were pleasantly surprised that 80 percent agreed to do so," said Few on the response to the offer. "It tells you that they are very valuable to this business."
As for the Santa Fe Springs facility, Criticom recently signed a two-year lease to stay in a portion of the building. The company decided to maintain a presence in the area, although it will no longer do any monitoring activity there. The site will be staffed with customer care and customer service representatives that will continue to work with dealers and represent Criticom in that part of the state.