Tired of old career, exec joins space

Thursday, September 1, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio--Burned out after 35 years in the insurance industry, Paul Bergnesi decided it was time to take a break and figure out what to do next.
Bergnesi looked at the security industry as one market that might provide some spark into his professional life.
"I lost the passion for the business," Bergnesi recounted. "So I said, 'Paul, what do you want to be when you grow up?' And I started looking at the security industry; the thing I found compelling was the recurring monthly revenue."
Bergnesi then sold his company and spent the next six months traveling the country to learn about the security market. After meeting with a number of dealers and monitoring station owners, he came to the conclusion to start a third-party central.
In July, after investing $500,000 of his own money, Bergnesi opened the doors to AssureRite. The company had already put on 1,500 accounts and signed agreements with six dealers by mid-August. He forecasts 40,000 accounts within 24 months.
To help identify what products to install and what services are in demand by dealers, Bergnesi enlisted the help of Dave DeBraccio, principal at industry consulting firm Victory Security Group.
AssureRite features Micro Key Software's Millennium central station software, Digital Security Controls' Sur-Gard receivers and OzVision remote video compression software. The central, which can handle up to 100,000 accounts without further enhancement, will undergo UL inspection for fire and burglary certification in late August.
"By keeping up with the latest technology, we will be able to develop more sources of revenue for his customers," said DeBraccio. These services include video surveillance, two-way voice and global position systems applications, including asset and people tracking.
Before becoming a consultant, DeBraccio, for example, worked as a national sales manager at Emergency Response Center in Cleveland, Ohio, until it was sold to Security Associates International in 1997.
Now as owner and chief executive officer, Bergnesi looks forward to filling a hole in the central and southern Ohio market. According to Bergnesi, AssureRite will be the only independently owned UL-listed central station serving the central Ohio market, pending approval. Calls to Underwriters Laboratories to confirm this were not returned as of press time.
"Many we are talking to are switching from out of state and coming local," he said.
AssureRite will require an additional investment of up to $500,000, Bergnesi projects. Bergnesi declined to discuss whether a geographic expansion is in the company's immediate future.
"This is our pilot program, here," he allowed.
DeBraccio is focusing on cold calls and his existing relationships in the industry to bring business to the central station. He is also helping to buy accounts.