Mahler to step down as ADS president, will remain CEO

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Mel Mahler announced Dec. 7 he’ll be stepping down as president of ADS Security, the super-regional company he founded, to concentrate on strategic planning and acquisitions.
John Cerasuolo will replace Mahler as president on Jan. 1, and will have the additional title of chief operating officer. Mahler will continue to be chief executive officer and will become chairman of the board.
“I took a year to find the right person to take over the role of president. We had four candidates, and John was the top candidate. They all had similar backgrounds in commercial integrated systems,” Mahler said.
“We will not abandon the residential market, but expect to concentrate internal growth on large commercial integration projects,” he said.
ADS does about $30 million in sales annually. It has offices here, in Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. It moved into Florida for the first time this fall with an acquisition in Melbourne, Fla. (search “ADS buys in Melbourne” at
Cerasuolo is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is a nuclear engineer. For the past 18 years, he’s worked for AFL Network Services, part of AFL Telecommunications (a Fujikara Company). Mahler noted that telecom companies nationwide experienced a severe slowdown several years ago. He said Cerasuolo was able to “bring his company back up to a successful plateau. He’s been through a tough downturn and recovered. I like that.” Mahler said Cerasuolo expanded AFL’s large commercial business, and he looks forward to having him do the same at ADS.
Cerasuolo said he “liked the whole character of the company” and looks forward to applying some of the skills he honed at AFL, particularly working with large commercial entities such as hospitals, financial institutions and school systems.
Mahler has a goal of growing 10 percent annually through organic growth and 10 percent annually through acquisitions. In his new role focusing on acquisitions, Mahler said he’ll be spending more time on the road. He said meeting face-to-face with the owners of companies ADS would like to acquire is an advantage. He said his wife, Carol, likes to travel with him and said she’s a “tremendous business asset” in the deal-making process. “Many of these companies are owned by husband-and-wife teams,” he said. Mahler said he expects to close a deal with $98,000 in RMR on Jan. 31.