Defender has new CEO; predicts strong growth in 2012
INDIANAPOLIS—Defender Direct, the country’s leading ADT dealer, announced this month that it has restructured its executive team and has a new CEO.
The company, which generates more than 100,000 accounts annually, expects record growth in 2012, according to the new CEO and president, Marcia Barnes.
Barnes replaced founder David Lindsey, who has stepped down as CEO to concentrate on philanthropic work and is now chief missions officer of Defender, which is based here. Lindsey founded the company in 1998 and Barnes, who joined Defender in 1999, has worked closely with him since that time, rising to the rank of president before also becoming CEO.
Lindsey told Security Systems News that his company—which he said has grown from a business he started in his home from scratch to one that had more than $300 million in revenue in 2011—is in “great hands.” The management changes took place late last year, but the company waited until this spring to announce them, said Lindsey, who will remain majority owner of the company and on its board of advisors.
“I always say I get a lot of credit for what’s happened at Defender, but there’s been an amazing team of people making it happen every day, and Marcia’s been there all 12 years running sales and marketing and now the whole business,” Lindsey said. “And the way we’ve grown, there’s been a sales and marketing genius behind it, and it’s been her. So I’m really happy to have her.”
Defender has been the No. 1 ADT dealer since 2007, ADT public relations director Bob Tucker told SSN.
Defender also has hired a new COO and VP of field service: Jim Boyce. The company said Boyce, formerly chief sales officer at Convergys Corp., a global relationship-management company, will oversee sales, field operations, customer care and IT for Defender.
Lindsey said of Boyce: “He is really a dynamo … Those two are going to make an amazing team. Jim is extremely qualified and brings the experience of working at a multi-billion [dollar] business to our business.”
Barnes told SSN that Boyce served on Defender’s board of advisors for a year before becoming COO. She said that with his “rich sales and service background,” he’s “a breath of fresh air coming into our business.”
Also new on the management team is Mark Nazarenus, VP of field services, who formerly was executive VP of sales, marketing and operations for Best Lock Corp. Nazarenus “will provide overall leadership to Defender’s more than 120 field offices as well as the operations team,” the company said.
Barnes said Nazarenus has the expertise to lead such a far-flung enterprise. “He has really hit the ground running and leading our ‘Defender Nation,’ which is what I call our field offices,” she said.
Defender says it employs more than 1,800 individuals in 50 states and has over 120 branch offices nationwide. The company expects to expand its branch offices to perhaps as many as 140 by the end of the year, in the same footprint as existing ones, Barnes said. The higher concentration of offices is needed so installation technicians won’t have to drive as far as the company’s volume continues to grow, she said. “We’re having a very, very good year,” Barnes said.
She continued: “I think this will be our largest growth year in the history of our business. Things are going well. We just have a lot of really good team members here. We have about 2,000 employees that are just bringing their whole self to their job every day and going into the marketplace and protecting families.”
Barnes said, “I know we’ve been running over 100,000 accounts added annually, but there’s a lot of new marketing programs that have landed this year, so I feel we’ll be significantly over that.”
Defender also is in the satellite TV business and has expanded into the HVAC (heating and cooling) market as well, but security remains the largest part of Defender’s business, Lindsey said. “Our forte,” he told SSN, “is marketing, selling and installing anything that the homeowner wants. That’s our vision.”
He said Defender’s “mantra” is: “Businesses don’t grow, people do.” He said the company, which encourages its employees to do such volunteer work as building homes for the needy in Mexico, is devoted to developing the potential of its employees. “That really is our secret sauce at the end of the day,” he said.