Mace CS posts growth in 'transitional' year

Central station boosts revenues, accounts amid management changes
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Mace Central Station was a bright spot for its parent company in 2012, posting an 11.8 percent increase in revenues through the first nine months of a “transitional” year for the wholesale monitoring operation, Mace Security International CEO and President John McCann told Security Systems News.

McCann said Mace CS, based here, is now “very stable” after a turbulent 2012. Morgan Hertel stepped down as vice president and general manager in March and was succeeded in August by Michael Joseph, a 30-year industry veteran. Other changes included the promotion of Michael Kallio to vice president of business development and Jason Pak to operations manager.

Through it all, Mace CS was able to add to its customer base, growing from about 72,000 accounts at the end of 2011 to more than 75,000 at the close of the third quarter. McCann said revenue and account numbers hadn’t been finalized for the fourth quarter, but he expected the trend to continue.

“We had a lot of changeover in management at the senior level at the central station, and to be able to maintain the account level and grow it is a testament to [Joseph’s] team and to himself,” McCann told SSN.

Joseph said organic growth averaged 4 percent to 5 percent in 2012, reflecting a change in the economy and a positive outlook among dealers.

“The second half of the year, things really stabilized,” he said. “The word that I can use to best describe the marketplace is optimism—I think the mood of our dealers has changed from one of concern to one of optimism. … I think that when the dealers are feeling good about themselves and what they’re doing, they do a better job.”

McCann said Mace CS is looking to build on that progress by having dealers take advantage of the Mace name and other security products that the company offers.

“We want to make sure that they know they have a national brand behind them and not just a central station,” he said. “What we can offer to a dealer that somebody else can’t is that when they go into somebody’s home and they’re giving the person a quote, they can also leave some pepper spray behind, compliments of the dealer through Mace, for personal protection as well as the home security [the dealer] is going to provide.”

A hurdle that Mace CS will have to overcome in 2013 is the loss of Kallio, who died Jan. 10 after a battle with cancer. The 26-year Mace CS veteran helped guide the company to be “one of the most respected central stations in California and the West,” Joseph said in a prepared statement after Kallio’s death.

“He was a great person and a great employee,” McCann said. “We’re interviewing now to kind of either divide that role up into two jobs or possibly even more than that to make sure we’re responsive to our dealers.”

As for other initiatives in 2013, McCann said that Mace is “really looking hard” at offering mobile PERS services to tap into the shift from home security to “security 24/7.”

“Our goal is to create a Mace invisible fence around you so that no matter where you go, you feel safe,” he said. “We’re testing communications with a couple of leaders in that industry to team up and also for them to benefit from the Mace name.”