CentraLarm begins major expansion

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Wednesday, January 1, 2003

MANCHESTER, N.H. -A 16-year-old monitoring company here has broken ground on a major expansion of its central station and administrative offices that will add about 9,000 square feet to its operations and provide breathing room for its suite of monitoring and other ancillary services.

CentraLarm, which monitors about 55,000 accounts for about 150 dealers in New England and in the Northeast, will build an addition onto its facility, which the company has occupied for the last six years. Administrative and customer service functions will move into the addition, while the company’s monitoring operations will occupy the entire 8,000 square feet of the existing structure, said Stew Helmig, president of CentraLarm.

“We have diversified a little bit from just monitoring alarm to satellite tracking, remote video, and…a number of client services,” Helmig said. “With that natural evolution of growth, we ran out of room.”

Within the three-story monitoring center, the different aspects of CentraLarm’s offering will occupy three distinct areas: traditional alarm monitoring; satellite tracking and remote video and client services, which includes outbound telemarketing and a contract answering service called Execucom that CentraLarm purchased a few years ago, Helmig said.

Another facet will be added to the company’s suite of services, when a new ASP hosting service is rolled out in early 2003. That’s where Centralarm will rent the use of high-powered and expensive software programs to its smaller dealer customers, giving those companies access to new technology without having to make a substantial investment in in-house servers and other expensive hardware and software.

The addition will also house the company’s new national account sales manager as well as a new kitchen and break area for the company’s 55 employees. That number is expected to grow to between 70 and 75 over the next few years, Helmig said.

To make room for the new addition, the original section of Centralarm’s headquarters, formerly a private residence built a century ago, was torn down. A modern addition to the house that houses the central station was built where a barn once stood, said Steve Johnson, vice president of operations for the company.

“What we have here is very upscale in terms of the design and the amenities,” he said.

Along with the investment in the structure that houses the monitoring operations, a major emphasis was placed on keeping the company ahead of the technological curve. Centralarm converted in early December to new receiver technology for the central station and updated many other systems and software, right down to the operators’ desktops, Johnson said.

The company expects to have its expanded operations up and running sometime in late April or May.