Greater Alarm builds access control division

Industry veteran Larry Farmer will head the Access Control Managment program
Tuesday, January 1, 2002

ROSEVILLE, Calif.-Greater Alarm has tapped 20-year industry veteran Larry Farmer to head the new Access Control Management program for the company's Northern California operations.

Farmer, who garnered the majority of his security systems experience working with Delta Audio Visual in the Gulf Coast of the U.S., took the helm of the division last fall. In doing so, the company said, he formalized Greater Alarm's fledgling access control operations to support its predominantly commercial-focused business in the area.

"From the start, our business plan for Northern California included the need for an access control division," said Doug Cuthbert, vice president, Northern California Region and vice president of marketing at Greater Alarm. The company opened its Sacramento branch in September, 1999 and its San Jose office in September, 2000. "With the residential markets being driven by the mass marketers, we have obviously focused more on the commercial market [and]our continued and expected growth has been and will continue to be in the commercial market.

The company's Integrated Systems Team, based out of Greater Alarm's Irvine office, serves Southern California in the same capacity as the new division will serve Northern California. Upon its entry into the Sacramento market, "we were more focused on the fire alarm safety systems," said Kristen Nichelmann, assistant consultant at Greater Alarm. "We were laying the foundation at that time to offer to integrate systems in this area figuring we can always build on our experience in other areas. That's exactly what happened. Now there's more balance between fire/life safety and integration business."

Company-wide, Greater Alarm is expecting to earn about $21 million in fiscal year 2001, and company representatives say the business is split in roughly equal thirds among its fire, commercial, and residential operations.

While the new division fits into the business plan established by Cuthbert, it does not necessarily represent a departure from its past models, nor does it signify a shift away from its former businesses and toward systems integration. "From what I can see Greater Alarm has been an integrator for longer than (people) think they have," Farmer said. "They've been doing a lot of work in closed circuit, access control, and fire/ life safety for a while. I've been in the business for 20 years and they're not rookies."