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40 under 40: Steve Carulo, chief executive officer, Alarm Brokers of Florida

40 under 40: Steve Carulo, chief executive officer, Alarm Brokers of Florida

40 under 40

YARMOUTH, Maine—Steve Carulo, 38, is the CEO of Alarm Brokers of Florida, LLC, which specializes in the design, installation, integration, and service of security systems, access control systems, and closed-circuit TV (CCTV) camera surveillance systems for residential and commercial applications in the South Florida area. Find out what inspired him to pursue a career in the security industry, what being a "40 under 40" winner means to him, what appeals to him about the security industry, and more. 

SSN: Describe your roles, duties, and tenure at your current job.

Alarm Brokers of FloridaCARULO: I founded Alarm Brokers of Florida in 2016. At that time, I was the only employee, and I did everything from bookkeeping to sales to ordering parts and even climbing up ladders to install cameras. Thankfully, since then the company has grown and evolved, but like the majority of small business, I’m extremely hands on and have combined the duties of a couple of roles, CEO and CTO, into my daily responsibilities.

I manage our current and future projects including permitting and inspections, communicating constantly with our customers to stay on time and within budget. I oversee installations, visit job sites, schedule jobs on our installation calendar and divide the work among our technicians according to their strengths. Creating and maintaining strong relationships with our vendor partners is particularly important to me, especially because they keep me up to date on emerging technology trends and new products that we can offer our customers.

SSN: What inspired you to pursue a career in the security industry?

CARULO: For as long as I can remember, I was always intrigued by technology. As a kid, I disassembled and reassembled most of the electronic devices and gadgets in our home just to see what they looked like on the inside and to try to figure out how they worked. For my first job, I was actually hired as a bank teller and quickly made my way to bank management but the technology geek in me still had me playing with technology in my spare time.

A few years later, a friend who was working in sales for ADT suggested that I apply to work there and once I was onboard my career in the security industry began. I was assigned to residential sales and because I was so passionate about what I was selling, I sold A LOT of security systems. I’m a fast learner so I also learned how to install and service alarm systems by watching the technicians do it and asking questions. In 2016, I decided to branch out on my own, and Alarm Brokers of Florida was born.

SSN: What does being named a winner of SSN's 40 under 40 mean to you?

CARULO: Being a winner of SSN’s 40 under 40 Class of 2022 is incredibly meaningful and such an honor. I’ve always seen myself as a regular local small business owner. To see my name on the same list as security professionals of such high caliber and to receive recognition and exposure on a national level is beyond my wildest expectations.

SSN: As a young leader, what appeals to you about the security industry?

CARULO: I love the security industry because it never sleeps! Just when I think I’ve caught up on all the latest and greatest, a new product will be released or a new technology will be invented and then I, like our industry, will not sleep as I read and watch videos about these cool new things into the wee hours of the night.

Also, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet and create relationships directly with manufacturers of the most innovative tech in our industry  who partner with me to customize solutions for my customers as well as with distributors who  don’t just quote me prices – some distributors go as far as to offer private labeling which has really helped us in building our brand, shipping quickly and offering us excellent payment options.

SSN: With the hiring, recruitment and retention challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, how can the security industry engage young talent?

CARULO: In South Florida, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck we were already plagued by staffing issues that COVID-19 only exacerbated. During the pandemic, low voltage work in our market never slowed down due to a massive construction boom; however, we had to turn down multiple projects due to not having enough technicians to perform the work. We knew that we would have to get creative in order to recruit talent.

Prior to the pandemic, we didn’t offer any employee benefits; however, we used our quarantine time in 2020 to design a robust employee benefits package that includes medical, dental, and life insurance; a retirement plan; vacation time, and holidays off.

What differentiates Alarm Brokers of Florida from our competitors is that we pay 100 percent of the employees’ insurance premiums; we contribute to their 401(k) plans; and we pay them competitive wages everyday including their vacations and holidays, setting us apart from the pack and creating a strong buzz among the local security industry community. Since then, we have had no shortage of technician candidates.

I am a firm believer that our biggest problem is not happening now but will come in the next decade as employees start to retire, as many of the young talent we have interacted with are completely unaware that our industry even exists. Most have heard of the more common trades such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC but there are only a few trade schools who teach low voltage.

As an industry, we must create an awareness campaign promoting our trade to young talent who are choosing a career. We also need to reach out to our community’s trade schools, colleges and even high schools to find out how to get low voltage education programs into their curriculums. By training young talent early on, we are guaranteeing ourselves a capable workforce for years to come.





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