USA Central Station Alarm expands with partnership

Alliance reunites National Guardian monitoring team
 - 
Thursday, May 1, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS - A two-location contract central station active on the East Coast is now planning to target dealers out West by opening a third, redundant central station here in one of the Midwest’s major markets.

In July, USA Central Station Alarm Corp. plans to open its new location under the direction of Mickey Fuller, a former dealer operations manager with National Guardian. Fuller and her husband, Robert, announced plans in January to open a central station of their own in Minneapolis to service the independent dealer, but were approached by USA to partner instead. In March, USA President Bart Didden hired Fuller as the director of USA’s Midwest division to run operations here. Robert Fuller will act as the location’s technical consultant for video.

For USA, the plan to expand west had long been in the works, but “ we’ve been waiting for the technology to catch up to make it doable,” Didden said. “Up until a couple of years ago, we were growing at a pace that was comfortable for the ownership of the company, the employees and our systems,” Didden said.

Now, with more than 70,000 accounts from more than 500 dealers monitored in the Port Chester, N.Y. and Milford, Conn. central stations, the company plans to pursue one or more expansions, likely within the next five years, he said.

While initially the Minneapolis central station will have onsite receivers and provide redundancy to USA’s operations, “it will ultimately grow to a size where it will make sense to install an automation system there,” said Roberta Diffey, USA’s director of corporate operations. Initial projections call for the company to gain an additional 50,000 accounts over the next three years.

The addition of Fuller to USA Central reunites a team from National Guardian, which sold to SecurityLink in 1995. Fuller and Diffey, formerly National Guardian’s director of central station operations for the Northeast region, also worked there with Craig Leiser, president of consulting firm The Kismet Group, currently working with USA. That combination of industry experience and dealer rapport among the management at USA is part of what the company is promoting to its dealer base.

“Roberta’s strong suit is her longtime, working knowledge of the security industry; she’s very well versed,” Leiser said. “And Mickey has this innately rare ability to focus on the customer service part, the internal, unseen type of structure which makes central stations work or not work.”

Those abilities have led to commitments from several dealers as USA scouts for a location in the Minneapolis area, seen by the company as an ideal area because it harnesses the Midwestern labor pool and the region’s generic accent. Also, dealers in that region tend to favor having their accounts monitored locally, so this location will be serving them, Diffey said.

“There are a lot of people available right now, for example, part-time people from the universities,” Fuller said. The company already has an experienced central station manager on board, another former National Guardian/Security Link employee, and is actively targeting other experienced operators.