New central to expand with remodel project

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

DALLAS - A three-year-old central station that sprung out of necessity is now embarking on its first expansion project at its headquarters here to give more room to its growing operations.

Centralink, owned by the principals of two Dallas-based security installation companies here, is set sometime next month to begin expanding its central station to add a training room and a conference room - additions that will add another 2,000 square feet and more than double the size of its monitoring center.

The central station is housed in a 5,000-square-foot concrete block building that is also the home of CSL Technologies, a primarily residential installation company owned by Chris Thompson, co-owner of Centralink.

Thompson and his partner, Vance Corso, who owns Vanco Protection Services, another Dallas installation firm, began operations as Centralink in February 2000 to satisfy their two companies’ need for monitoring services that they felt would serve their customer base well, particularly many of Vanco’s high-end residential systems.

“Our customers seem to require a little bit more personal service and response,” said Corso.

“Our choice was to find a monitoring station that didn’t get so big and deliver poor service, or open one ourselves, so we decided to open our own.”

With an initial investment of $250,000, financed from their two existing businesses, Thompson and Corso purchased an automation system from Monitoring Automation Systems, a Sur-Gard MLR 2000 receiver and used space in Thompson’s building to monitor the company’s combined account base, which now stands at about 3,000 accounts. The company also provides contract monitoring services for about 35 dealers and their 10,000 accounts.

Thompson said he hears little grumbling from other local dealers about Centralink’s ties to installation companies CSL Technologies and Vanco.

“We did make the decision when we started that (competition) was a concern and we had to put the interest in the central station at the top of the list,” Thompson said. “We have a standing agreement with our own dealers what we won’t compete with them. There is enough business for everyone that it shouldn’t be an issue.”

Although Centralink has no plans or need to begin a marketing campaign, company officials said a host of new services are being added. Through the MAS product, dealers have 24-hour online access to their accounts, which has made a significant decrease in the volume of incoming calls to the central station, Thompson said.

Centralink offers dealers billing and collection services, and video monitoring services and Internet monitoring are in the works.

The company also has some industrial monitoring customers, including a large pipeline customer.