New UTC Fire & Security Global Security Products president outlines goals

Kelly Romano aims to accelerate new product development and introduction
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Friday, June 3, 2011

BRADENTON, Fla.— Before taking over her new role as president of Global Security Products for UTC Fire & Security, Kelly Romano spent a year as SVP of global sales and marketing. During that time, she spent a lot of time with integrators, VARs and dealers, who she said are interested in the seamless integration of access, video and intrusion and locking systems. While UTC Fire & Security already provides that kind of integration with many of its products, the company will be bringing more integrated solutions  to market, she said. This demand, and the fact that technology changes so rapidly, means “we need to accelerate the new-product introduction time to market.”

Noting that it’s been more than a year since the company acquired GE Security, Romano said she recently spent three days at an Interlogix partner conference. “What I hear is that our dealers, integrators and distributors are very pleased with the acquisition of GE Security and to partner with UTC Fire & Security,” she said.

UTC likes that fire and security business, she said. “We’ve invested more than $9 billion [since UTC got into the fire and security business with the acquisition of Chubb in 2003] and GE Security was a big piece of that,” she added. “We have big scale and full geographic coverage around the world.”

The company is investing $150 million this year on R&D, up significantly from last year, she said, and “within Global Security Products we’ve brought more than 30 new products to market this year ... and we’re going to continue to accelerate that investment,” she said.

Romano, who has a 25-year history working for UTC’s Carrier business where she was president of two different divisions, was named president of Global Security Products business on May 16. She takes over for Mark Barry, who was named president Global Fire Products on the same day. Scott Buckhout, who previously was president of Global Fire Products, was named president of UTC Fire & Security in March.

There are five services businesses and two product businesses [Global Fire Products and Global Security Products] that make up the company.

Romano’s Global Security Products business is made up of four brands: Lenel, the enterprise access control business, which also now includes the OnGuard and Facility Commander products; Interlogix, the commercial and residential intrusion and video products; Supra, known for its real estate lock box products; and, Onity electric locking systems, which are widely adopted in the hospitality industry, but are also being used more at colleges and universities and in health care facilities, Romano said.

Romano identified three other priorities in addition to bringing new products and solutions to customers quickly: global expansion, channel expansion and operational excellence.

“We want to develop a customer experience that is superior, and there are a lot of pieces that go into that experience,” she said. “How we train our partners, on-time delivery, technical support, and the quality of the products and services all make up the customer experience,” Romano said.

Romano expects growth in the U.S. and Europe will be “more retrofit and upgrades,” The Middle East, China, India and Brazil and other emerging markets are “big expansion opportunities for us.”