Tri-State veteran welcomes acquisition

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Thursday, September 1, 2005

BROOMALL, Penn.--Of all the changes Bob Gobrecht has seen at Tri-State Alarm over the past four years, the most welcome change by far is the recent acquisition of the company by Security Networks. (See related story on page 1.)
"This is a great moment. The best we've had over the past four years," he said.
A 20-year security industry veteran, Gobrecht has served as vice president of operations for Tri-State since 2001.
In the fall of 2003, lenders intervened and stopped sales operations at Tri-State. At the time, Tri-State was installing 800 systems per month. "Sales came to a halt, and the company went into a kind of culture shock," Gobrecht said.
In March 2004, lenders and equity partners brought in Peter Rogers to assist with operational improvements. A former executive with SecurityLink, Alarm Guard and Tyco, Rogers is now the principal and owner of Peak Management Resources, an industry consulting firm.
At Tri-State, Rogers established a new set of underwriting criteria and gradually reinitiated the sales program.
Now that the acquisition--which occurred through a public auction conducted by Safe Financial--is complete, plans are underway to get the sales program in full swing. Gobrecht said he's happy to be talking to folks who speak his language again.
"It's not too much fun dealing with banks. Since the acquisition, we're talking about new programs, the customer base and customer service issues," he said.
Gobrecht said Tri-State would be hiring in the near future. "Initially it will be sales staff. We'll be formulating exactly what we're going to do and will be meeting with the sales manager from Security Networks soon, " he said.
"We're a strong company with 14,000 accounts within a 90-mile radius of Philly....There's a great group of people here, we just needed to find (a buyer) looking for a platform to expand into this area. And, that's exactly what happened," Gobrecht said.
"It's the perfect time to grow. There's a lot of instability among small- and medium-sized companies, and we just found our stability," he added.
Rogers, the consultant, will be acting general manager through the transition.
"We've stabilized the platform and brought the company to a point of operating efficiency. We know exactly what we have and how to run it," Rogers said.
"An infusion of capital will allow us to resume a growth strategy through organic growth and acquisitions," he added.
Will Tri-State's parent company make acquisitions soon? "We may well," was all Rogers would say.
Rogers complimented the 40 Tri-State employees for recent improvements.
"There are very good people at this company. They are committed, experienced and loyal employees and they are the ones that made the company turnaround possible," said Rogers.