Women in Security: Washington Alarm looks to grow

Company hopes to complete the year's second purchase
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SEATTLE—Shannon Woodman has been working with family-owned Washington Alarm full-time since 2000. Now in the role of COO, she said the company is focused on growth.

“Our biggest thing is growing—so, both growing organically and through acquisitions,” Woodman said. The company completed a small acquisition of about 100 accounts earlier this year and expects to close another by the end of the year, she said.

“In 2017 we’re going to target more acquisitions by marketing to those smaller companies,” Woodman said, adding that the company will focus on acquiring commercial accounts.

Woodman is the third-generation at Washington Alarm, making her “basically born in the industry,” she said. “Growing up, I worked various jobs—anything from janitor to inventory, special projects.” Woodman’s first full-time position in 2000 was in sales.

Woodman is also extensively involved with the CSAA. She is currently on the board, the executive committee and has been the membership chair for eight years. “Our job is to increase membership in the different various categories that we have, and then also to make sure that we’re taking care of our existing members by adding programs that they can take advantage of,” she said.

How have you seen the industry change? “It was a pretty stagnant industry when I came in. It was panels that lasted for 30 years, and technology that didn’t really change much. We saw a few things go away—pressure mats went away and motion detectors came in,” Woodman said.

“Nowadays, it’s great to see [the industry] change, with the interactive services, the use of the apps, what people can do remotely,” she said. Woodman also said video verification is an emerging technology—“that’s just going to keep growing.”

Washington Alarm has about 6,000 accounts, 80 percent of which are commercial, “a lot of that is commercial fire,” according to Woodman. The company maintains its own CSAA Five Diamond central station.

Are you seeing more women in security? “Definitely. I started going to the CSAA meetings in 2002 … and I was definitely one of the few, and now I see a lot more,” Woodman said. “It was probably less than 5 percent when I started and I’d say it’s closer to … maybe 10 or 15 percent [now].”