Security Pros fired up for the future

Three months after the UTCFS/GE deal closes
Monday, July 12, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn.—Three months after the UTCFS/GE Security deal closed, some of the top GE Security Pro dealers say they’re feeling re-energized about the program. Not a whole lot has changed on the outside: the dealers and most of the management are the same; and UTCFS has a deal to hold onto the GE brand for its dealer network and its products well into the next decade. 

There’s a new sense among dealers, however, that their program will take greater priority at UTCFS than it did at GE.

John Whitehead, CEO of True Steel Security, serves on an advisory council made up of six Security Pro dealers. “The senior management of the security division within GE all moved to UTC, and they’re all excellent people,” he said. At an advisory council meeting after ISC West and an April dealer meeting, several of those senior people attended a day-long advisory council meeting, including Bob Haskins, VP and general manager Security Systems for UTCFS.

“Now that they’re working for a corporation [UTCFS] that’s more focused on the security industry than a massive corporation like GE ... they’re in a better position to make decisions and move things forward quickly,” he said.

Jeff Johnson, Security Pro director, said he “hopes to roll out several new initiatives throughout the remainder of the year,” and said there are three areas of focus. First “differentiating ourselves and achieving success in local markets.” One way is to create a robust training and certification program that expands on the training offered today and also recognizes those who have gone through the training. Second is “developing demand for our Security Pro dealers through local lead generation and brand development program.” This involves initiatives like web site development, search engine optimization assistance, and referral programs.

Third is “providing business support for dealers to help them run their businesses better from a day-to-day management perspective.” This means “tangible ideas and tactics,” Johnson said, everything from core documents and forms a company might need to more comprehensive programs.

Keith Avery, director of Protect Services, another advisory council member, said he “really looks forward to the sharing of ideas at regional and national meetings.”

Best practice sharing and group troubleshooting also takes place through a very active listserve. The listserve comes in handy on a daily basis said Dwight Sears of Silent Guard, an advisory council member and GE Security Pro dealer of the year in 2008. “The networking is the biggest plus and the fact that you can do it [daily through listserve] with dealers across the country,” he said.

Whitehead said the dealer network remained strong through a number of past owners, and “now our manufacturing partner is in better position to serve us. We weren’t broken before and now we’re in better shape than ever.”