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The concept of excellence has but one definition, meaning “eminently good,” but it also has many facets. The work leading up to being in a state of excellence may involve attaining a high level of education or experience, undertaking efforts to measure, review and improve performance, or applying one’s natural abilities for the greater good — all of these attributes and many more can contribute to a state of excellence. Endeavoring to be excellent often involves an extra dose of empathy and the desire to help people, as well.

While some people think “excellence” is a subjective notion, The Monitoring Association (TMA) has not only defined what it means in the realm of central station monitoring, but has found a way to quantify it, too. TMA’s annual Monitoring Center Excellence Awards recognize the companies and individuals who provide exemplary service in the life-safety and property-protection mission of electronic security.

2022 TMA Monitoring Center Excellence Award Winners

TMA Excellence Awards 2022


Monitoring Center of the Year – Enterprise: AvantGuard Monitoring Centers

Monitoring Center of the YearSMB: EPS Security

Monitoring Center Manager of the Year: Marcos Reyes, Kimberlite‐Sonitrol Corp.

Monitoring Center Operator of the Year: Sydney Johnston, EPS Security

Monitoring Center Support Person of the Year: LaMar A. Shroyer, Dynamark Monitoring Inc.

Monitoring Center of the Year – Enterprise

The TMA Excellence Awards, sponsored by SDM, recognize any FM Approved, Intertek/ETL or UL‐listed monitoring center (TMA members) and outstanding personnel who perform in the highest professional manner, thereby making a significant contribution to the betterment of the alarm industry and the alarm profession while demonstrating exceptional service to their customers and community.

The Excellence Awards were established to promote the inherent value of monitoring center services; to honor those who have made the most significant contributions to the service; and to recognize the distinct level of professionalism attained by NRTL-approved monitoring centers.

A distinguished panel of monitoring professionals reviews and scores all entrants, and those receiving the three highest numerical ratings advance to the finals.


Final awards are presented in each of the following five categories:

  • Monitoring Center of the Year – Enterprise (40,001 or more accounts) 
  • Monitoring Center of the Year – SMB (up to 40,000 accounts) 
  • Monitoring Center Manager of the Year
  • Monitoring Center Operator of the Year
  • Monitoring Center Support Person of the Year

The stories of the finalists and the winners in each category are told on the following pages, with much of the detail coming from the award-winners’ applications. Their accounts demonstrate that each winner not only performs at a high level now, but continually strives to remain there through a construct of continuous improvement. Their approaches to the business of monitoring offer inspiration and valuable ideas to the industry at large.

To learn more about the TMA Excellence Awards program and past recipients, visit www.sdmmag.com/TMA-Monitoring-Center-Excellence-Awards or www.tma.us.


Monitoring Center of the Year – Enterprise


WINNER: AvantGuard Monitoring Centers, Ogden, Utah

NUMBER OF SUBSCRIBERS: 908,286 residential; 177,262 non-residential

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 500

AvantGuard Monitoring

AvantGuard’s  monitoring center employs 57 full-time operators, 308 part-time operators and 50 supervisors. They handle 110,000 signals per week, as well as 20,000 weekly inbound calls and 100,000 weekly outbound calls. // IMAGE COURTESY OF AVANTGUARD MONITORING


Upon winning TMA’s Monitoring Center of the Year award in the enterprise category, AvantGuard Monitoring Centers, a Becklar Company, distributed a press announcement stating that the company had experienced a tremendous amount of growth in 2021 and had several notable accomplishments. The contract (wholesale to the dealer) monitoring center saw its subscriber base pass the 1 million mark, growing from 850,000 to nearly 1.2 million subscribers.

The UL-listed and Five Diamond-certified monitoring center employs 57 full-time operators, 308 part-time operators and 50 supervisors. In 2021, AvantGuard’s operators received 451,568,465 signals and processed 6,454,988 alarms.

The wholesale monitoring division of security dealer Mountain Alarm was formally branded as AvantGuard Monitoring Centers in 2004. The Ogden, Utah, monitoring center was built in 2010 and was completely remodeled in 2017. A second location, in Rexburg, Idaho, was built in 2013 and was expanded in 2018. Last year, AvantGuard Monitoring hosted the grand opening of its third fully redundant monitoring center in Cedar City, Utah, in a brand-new facility.

Additionally in 2021, the company welcomed a new CEO, Steve Richards, along with Vice President of Operations Ray Refuerzo and Vice President of Software Engineering Bo Denkers, to its leadership team.

Amidst the expansion, AvantGuard has been busy innovating the technology side of its business. It implemented an artificial intelligence (AI)-based automated voice assistant platform to handle more than 800,000 non-urgent signals such as test reminders, low-battery or power-loss signals, system troubles and more. The company says it has invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours into developing the AI-based Automated Virtual Assistant (AVA). It uses natural language processing to hold conversations by asking questions and interpreting responses.

“Built upon industry-leading machine learning technology, we analyzed thousands of customer-to-operator calls to train AVA to respond to customer requests quickly and accurately," Richard says. "AVA has now processed over 800,000 live calls with subscribers since its implementation in June 2020. The results have been impressive in reducing wait times, cutting operator response times in half, reducing false alarms and freeing up operators to handle priority signals.”

The company also launched its new My.AG platform and MLS reporting tool to help dealers better manage their business. The My.AG tool was created to provide dealers with a quick snapshot into all of their account information such as weekly event types, operator-handled event factors, top alarm offenders, total events by type and more. Dealers can use the accounts user interface in My.AG to update any account without having to make changes, using Stages monitoring automation platform.

Those technology tools are just two of many that AvantGuard Monitoring has recently introduced or is in the process of developing. The company has assembled an in-house staff of 10 dedicated developers who are focused on finding ways to improve their monitoring center operations.

AvantGuard Monitoring’s corporate culture is based on a set of clearly defined core values. The company says these values are their most critical “measuring stick” for hiring and training qualified operators. They are expressed as “We Care F.I.R.S.T.” with F standing for fun, I for innovation, R for relationships, S for service, and T for trust.


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IMAGE COURTESY OF AVANTGUARD MONITORING


The operator training program and performance expectations are based on these core values. Training begins with an intensive three-week outbound training program conducted in one of AvantGuard Monitoring’s three state-of-the-art training centers. New operators are given both technical and interpersonal instruction with hands-on practice. During this time, they are taught to master the software, systems, and procedures the central station uses, as well as effective communication skills, empathy, and delivering a high standard of service on every signal they take. Once the trainee has successfully completed all three weeks of training, he or she is officially graduated and ready to start working a full shift.

The company also provides additional levels of more advanced training and skill development. AvantGuard Monitoring’s training department has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2021, it increased from nine to 17 people, including the addition of a quality assurance team within the department. That same year, the company trained 470 operators. In addition, it has had 214 graduates of TMA’s Online Operator Level 1 course since the company’s certificate renewal in 2021.

AvantGuard Monitoring started serving more than 500 new dealers in 2021. Consequently, the company’s dealer care team has also grown, nearly doubling over the last 18 months to 45 representatives and adding new functions and positions to better support dealers. One specific example is the department’s implementation of Zendesk, an award-winning customer service software to help with dealer support.

“We believe seeking and implementing customer feedback is an important step to building relationships of trust — another essential part of our core values,” AvantGuard President President Justin Bailey says. “Our dealer care and sales teams communicate directly with our dealers in various ways, including inbound and outbound phone calls, emails and texts, resulting in valuable feedback. This open approach helps us respond quickly and personably to their needs.”

There also are more formal ways for dealers to communicate with the monitoring center. On the dealer portal, dealers are invited to submit their comments, ideas and suggestions on a feedback form. There also are prompts for feedback through AvantGuard’s social media channels and in weekly e-newsletters. AvantGuard Monitoring gives its dealers access to weekly blog posts and monthly webinars that cover a wide variety of relevant industry topics and business management tips to help them succeed.

AvantGuard Monitoring also conducts periodic Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys with its dealers. Its most recent NPS score was 57, which it says falls in the “excellent” category. “We were thrilled with the results and motivated to find ways to score higher with the next survey,” Richards says.


Learn About Monitoring Center of the Year – Enterprise Finalists

ADT is in the quick response business and those skills transfer seamlessly when it comes to disaster situations and continuing to keep customers and employees safe. ADT operates its six monitoring centers on a fully redundant platform with a virtualized alarm-queueing system. Alarms are received simultaneously at multiple locations and distributed to highly trained operators, regardless of location. In 2021, ADT trained a total of 2,786 employees, 825 of which were just for its monitoring teams. This totaled 475,840 hours (118,960 hours for monitoring) of training development. The training curriculum includes a blended learning approach of instructor-led content, learner-led  modules, and live training sessions in targeted groups based on TMA Five Diamond principles. ADT is leading the way for new monitoring standards and processes. It is FirstNet’s first security company to leverage the private network for emergency response during catastrophes. The company is spearheading new integrations with NG911 and driving greater accessibility to professional monitoring than ever before with mobile security and integration with voice home hubs.

COPS Monitoring operates a network of six monitoring stations in six different states, which the company says affords technical and staffing diversification and redundancy, and makes team members feel valued, invested and eager to serve security dealers’ subscribers. One of the new ways COPS Monitoring keeps in touch with its dealer-customers is through webinars. In the past year, it has hosted more than 20 webinars on topics such as options for 3G sunset, mPERS, legal services, succession planning, and grow your business. Due to its stance that even the best technology is useless — and could even be harmful — unless it is deployed and maintained correctly, it became SOC 2 certified in 2017. “To date, we believe we are the only professional monitoring company to earn this certification,” COPS Monitoring states in its Excellence Awards application. “Our independent SOC 2 report underscores our investments and sets us apart by clearly illustrating that we have the security, systems, and control procedures in place to reliably safeguard our dealers, subscribers, and their sensitive information. We also proactively have network penetration tests performed on our network quarterly.”


Monitoring Center of the Year – SMB


WINNER: EPS Security, Grand Rapids, Mich.

NUMBER OF SUBSCRIBERS: 11,035 residential; 18,378 non-residential

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 230

EPS Security Monitoring Center

EPS Security regularly reviews key performance indicators (KPIs) on the performance of its monitoring center, looking not only at operators, but also how well its technology and procedures serve their subscribers.    //  IMAGE COURTESY OF EPS SECURITY


When striving for excellence, the most definitive way to know you’ve achieved it is by measuring it. That is how EPS Security approaches the operation of its monitoring center, leading it to win a 2022 TMA Excellence Award for Monitoring Center of the Year in the SMB category.

EPS Security’s overall priority is simple: responsiveness, trusted advisors and personal touch. To fulfill this priority, the company starts at the very beginning of employment by providing comprehensive, thorough training of new hires. All 14 full-time operators at EPS Security are graduates of TMA’s Monitoring Center Operator Online Training Courses, of whom eight are Level II graduates.

“Understanding the importance of timeliness and accuracy in the alarm monitoring industry, we aim to take a comprehensive approach to training in order to promote confidence and comfort among operators,” says Alexandria Widerski, monitoring center manager at EPS Security.

“EPS Security has also instituted a career development program, allowing operators to progress their skills and take on additional responsibilities,” Widerski says. “As a result, operators have a clear path of expectations and benchmarks to progress through levels in which they attain a new title, added responsibilities, and receive further compensation. EPS is committed to developing dedicated, career-long employees.”

The monitoring center handles 27,259 signals per week, as well as 2,783 weekly inbound calls and 4,856 weekly outbound calls. But the realm of an operator encompasses so much more than handling alarm signals and calls. Operators are exposed to new technology when technicians test it in the field and coordinate operators’ response. Operators also get hands-on with security equipment, such as arming and disarming alarm panels, replacing batteries, and resetting detectors to help build their confidence.

EPS Security regularly reviews key performance indicators (KPIs) on the performance of its monitoring center, looking not only at operators, but also how well its technology and procedures serve their subscribers. The company gathers data from the automation software and the phone system reports to ensure customers are being taken care of efficiently and accurately.

WHEN STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE, the most definitive way to know you’ve achieved it is by measuring it. That is how EPS Security approaches the operation of its monitoring center, leading it to win a 2022 TMA Excellence Award for Monitoring Center of the Year in the SMB category.

EPS Security’s overall priority is simple: responsiveness, trusted advisors and personal touch. To fulfill this priority, the company starts at the very beginning of employment by providing comprehensive, thorough training of new hires. All 14 full-time operators at EPS Security are graduates of TMA’s Monitoring Center Operator Online Training Courses, of whom eight are Level II graduates.

“Understanding the importance of timeliness and accuracy in the alarm monitoring industry, we aim to take a comprehensive approach to training in order to promote confidence and comfort among operators,” says Alexandria Widerski, monitoring center manager at EPS Security.

“EPS Security has also instituted a career development program, allowing operators to progress their skills and take on additional responsibilities,” Widerski says. “As a result, operators have a clear path of expectations and benchmarks to progress through levels in which they attain a new title, added responsibilities, and receive further compensation. EPS is committed to developing dedicated, career-long employees.”

The monitoring center handles 27,259 signals per week, as well as 2,783 weekly inbound calls and 4,856 weekly outbound calls. But the realm of an operator encompasses so much more than handling alarm signals and calls. Operators are exposed to new technology when technicians test it in the field and coordinate operators’ response. Operators also get hands-on with security equipment, such as arming and disarming alarm panels, replacing batteries, and resetting detectors to help build their confidence.

EPS Security regularly reviews key performance indicators (KPIs) on the performance of its monitoring center, looking not only at operators, but also how well its technology and procedures serve their subscribers. The company gathers data from the automation software and the phone system reports to ensure customers are being taken care of efficiently and accurately.

“Monthly metrics are gathered to measure monitoring and phone efficiency, alarm accuracy, and customer service quality,” Widerski describes. “These metrics across operators are also tabulated for rolling department averages to ensure we meet goals. At the end of each month, operators are provided with a monthly KPI scorecard showing them their year-to-date review scores."

To ensure exceptional customer experience, department leadership reviews 20 random alarm events and 10 phone calls in every two-week period and scores them for accuracy. These bi-weekly metric scorecards are emailed to each operator individually and he or she can meet with their supervisor with any questions.

EPS Security uses the TMA Excellence Awards as an incentive to promote attendance and performance among its employees. If senior management feels an operator is exceeding the high standards outlined in their TMA training and certification, as well as their internal performance metrics, they are nominated for TMA’s Monitoring Center Operator of the Year award.

Another award, the monthly “EPS Toperator,” acknowledges the top performer within the monitoring center based on their KPIs. Toperators are awarded a $40 Amazon gift card and they have bragging rights for the month. “Caught With Quality” write-ups are for employees who go above and beyond for customers and become part of the employee’s official file.

EPS Security’s central station was built in 1988 and last remodeled in 2015. It is a full-service central station, meaning it monitors only its own subscribers and not those of other dealers. Signals monitored include burglar, fire, video, access control, supervisory, waterflow, temperature, elevator, POC/integration, and area of rescue.

To reduce false dispatches, EPS Security utilizes Enhanced Call Verification, which has resulted in more than a 90 percent reduction in dispatches. The company’s false alarm task force meets twice monthly to decrease false alarms. For each meeting, a report is compiled of any account with two or more false alarms in two weeks. These accounts are reviewed, and the committee determines the best way to correct the problem. Additionally, the monitoring center supervisors follow up on all alarms from the previous day for which contact could not be made at the time of the alarm.

EPS Security has had a disaster recovery plan since 1999, which they review semi-annually. The plan includes an extensive redundancy effort, with two sites fortifying data integrity. There are redundant receivers, database servers, internet connections, and even dual power grids from Detroit and Chicago.

Currently, EPS Security incorporates TMA, Security Network of America, National Fire Protection Association, and the Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan guidelines in its daily procedures. Technology includes DICE software and Honeywell products, including dual-technology devices and cross zones.

“When it comes to technology, our EPS Monitoring Center is tough to beat,” Widerski says. “We are a state-licensed and Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) listed facility — the only such facility in Michigan. We are Five Diamond Certified by The Monitoring Association. We’re also Factory Mutual (FM) Approved. Only a dozen or so monitoring centers in the U.S. meet all three of these standards of excellence.”


Learn About Monitoring Center of the Year – SMB Finalists

Kimberlite-Sonitrol Corp. specializes in verification. This allows its central station the ability to use various streams of information and devices to verify what is happening at a protected premises. Central station operators are expertly trained during an intensive six-week onboarding process to critically evaluate all available information including audio, video, and site information to ascertain a potential break-in and determine if a dispatch is needed. Kimberlite-Sonitrol has three key programs for employee recognition and referral: an annual award ceremony for recognizing operators as best in the company; Soni-Bucks given to operators for going above and beyond; and an employee referral program for helping recruit talent into the company. The central station is UL listed and fully redundant for power and communications. Kimberlite-Sonitrol started as a local company and has retained that culture as it has grown. Branch offices each have a goal to participate in at least one community event every month.

Wayne Alarm Systems’ mission statement is: “We inform, secure and provide peace of mind for our customers through unwavering commitment and steadfast accountability. This results in unequaled customer satisfaction achieved through a shared dedication to the safety, security and betterment of our customers and our community.” Providing unequaled customer satisfaction drives many efforts, including training. Central station new hires receive 90 days of training, including aspects such as the monitoring process, industry standards, alarm verification, customer service, technical training, company-wide cross training, and more. The company believes that reports are always important to determine what is needed and how to plan to move forward. Operator stat reports are run weekly, documenting total events, total calls, and response time. Event stats also are run weekly, documenting total events by type. Dispatch reports are run daily to follow up on false alarms; and excess signals are reviewed daily.


Manager of the Year


WINNER: Marcos Reyes

COMPANY: Kimberlite‐Sonitrol Corp., Fresno, Calif.

TITLE: Vice President and General Manager of Central Station Operations, Trustee

TENURE AT THE COMPANY: 27 years

Marcos Reyes

IMAGE COURTESY OF KIMBERLITE-SONITROL


Marcos Reyes, Kimberlite‐Sonitrol Corp., leads by example and with compassion.

The staff at Kimberlite-Sonitrol Corp. recalls that they have never had an interaction with Marcos Reyes that wasn’t positive. He always leads with kindness in every interaction, says Sarah Murphy, assistant general manager, central station, Kimberlite-Sonitrol. Reyes began working at Kimberlite in 1995 as an operator, then left for a short time to work in law enforcement as a police officer before returning to Kimberlite’s monitoring center as general manager. He has since become a trustee of Kimberlite’s Employee Stock Option Program, as well as vice president and general manager of monitoring operations, where he oversees all operations for the central station and all of the managers in that department.

Reyes spends time getting to know everyone at Kimberlite — not just the monitoring center staff — in order to bridge the gap between departments. During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, he thoughtfully made care packages for the employees who became ill with COVID-19 so that they could focus on recovering without having to worry about supplies. “It’s often said here at Kimberlite that Marcos is the heart and soul of our central station,” says Kayleia Sherwood, administrative assistant at Kimberlite-Sonitrol.

Reyes extends his leadership skills outside of Kimberlite-Sonitrol, too. He is a leader of the Sonitrol National Dealer’s Association’s national achievement contest. He also is the central station’s point of contact for law enforcement, working to build relationships with the many jurisdictions in Kimberlite-Sonitrol’s service area.

In March 2018, Reyes spearheaded a full remodel of Kimberlite-Sonitrol’s central station. Each of the four monitoring consoles is partitioned so operators can work independently without distraction. This is especially important because all of their customers’ security panels include audio, so the operators’ expertly trained ears need to be able to focus on the audio transmissions just within their console.

There are nine additional stations in the central station for data support, supervisors, programmers and managers. By housing all support staff together in the central station, Reyes helped build a team-focused atmosphere that responds proactively to any customer or team needs.

Reyes oversees schedules, the department budget, and any personnel issues. He regularly conducts one-on-one meetings between managers and dispatchers at which any topics are on the table, personal or professional. “It has greatly improved the connections and overall relationships between dispatchers and management and has helped keep everyone focused and moving in the right direction,” Murphy says. “This helps the dispatchers feel more valued regarding the role they play in the overall success of the central station.”

Like many in the security industry, in March 2020 Reyes was dealt one of the biggest challenges in management: a pandemic. There was not an option to fail because Kimberlite’s customers were depending on the central station to keep their businesses secure while they were in lockdown. The entire central station looked to Reyes for leadership, as well as confidence that they would make it through this experience. Even though he had the option to work remotely, Reyes chose to come in to the central station every day to show that he was as committed to making it through the pandemic as they were. This hands-on approach kept his team bonded.

Reyes serves an active role in operator training by reviewing standard operating procedures, meeting managers and trainers to offer insight on training issues, and providing training to the management staff to better serve their team. “Our operators are highly trained to listen to and care about the subscribers,” Reyes says. “It’s often that customers want to stay on the line to talk to the operators, even if it’s just to have a kind person to talk to about their day. Operators are taught there is no rush to get subscribers off the phone since they can trust their team to handle other calls.


Learn About the Manager of the Year Finalists

Larry Esposito, senior monitoring center manager at Affiliated Monitoring, is responsible for both the day-to-day leadership as well as the development and evolution of the company’s monitoring centers. He is regularly tasked with developing new procedures, standard operating procedures, and employee policies. He works very closely with the company’s workforce management team to ensure maximum performance and value from its monitoring specialists. Esposito’s ability to lead in a crisis was proven over the last two years during the coronavirus pandemic, when he led his monitoring center teams through a switch to work-from-home monitoring, while maintaining very high performance targets, the company describes. For the better part of a decade, Esposito was singly responsible for the company’s collaboration with the TMA on the ASAP-to-PSAP program. He also has been instrumental in Affiliated Monitoring’s migration to the next generation of its automation platform.

Julia Aliferis, central station assistant manager at American Alarm and Communications Inc., has been part of the alarm industry for more than 10 years, with the bulk of her experience in central station and data entry. As assistant manager, Aliferis oversees all remote training and supplements initial and ongoing operator training. Remote training began early in the pandemic. Aliferis initially connected with American Alarm technicians that could no longer work in the field, and trained them in basic alarm handling. This provided a critical resource to the central station, providing additional staffing support if someone became ill. Remote training has now developed into a fully realized idea. Aliferis also helps develop all SOP items, including specialized processes for fire deficiencies, late-to-test, and signal management. She remains up-to-date on all disaster management protocols, and is prepared to oversee the station during emergency situations. She currently processes the majority of recruitment for new central station hires.


Operator of the Year


WINNER: Sydney Johnston

COMPANY: EPS Security, Grand Rapids, Mich.

TITLE: Monitoring Center Lead Operator

TENURE AT THE COMPANY: 4 years

EPS Security’s Sydney Johnston genuinely loves her work and finds fulfillment in helping people

Sydney Johnston

IMAGE COURTESY OF EPS SECURITY


When you find an employee who serves as the backbone of your central station, that is someone you want to put in a position where their skills will shine. Sydney Johnston at EPS Security is that person.

As a lead operator, Johnston has one of the most challenging jobs — and she excels at it. EPS Security describes Johnston as a high-level performer who is regularly awarded the company’s “Toperator” award, a monthly recognition of the company’s top-performing operator measured by metrics such as responsiveness, workload contribution, accuracy and efficiency. She is also a go-to person on the floor, making herself available to help less-experienced operators.

“Sydney’s level of dedication to EPS is without parallel,” says Alexandria Widerski, monitoring center manager at EPS Security. “She genuinely loves her work and finds fulfillment in helping people. We are privileged to have her on our team. She is trusted, highly respected, and well-liked.”

In the past year, in the midst of the pandemic, Johnston was given a role with many additional responsibilities, and she thrived in that role. Always willing to help, she is intelligent, thoughtful, and has a high level of understanding of the industry, its products, the EPS vision, and the needs of her co-workers and customers, Widerski says, adding, “Sydney is a valued and respected member of the EPS team.”

Johnston has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, with a minor in Spanish. Before starting at EPS, she worked as a police cadet, which drew her into the field of dispatching, where she found her passion. She started at EPS Security in July 2018 as a level one operator, and was promoted to senior level in September 2019. “She came up as an operator, and it was quickly determined that she was leadership material,” Widerski says. In May 2021, Johnston attained the position of lead level operator.

“She has had increasing responsibilities and new tasks assigned throughout her career at EPS. When a supervisor position becomes available, she will be the top candidate,” Widerski says.

Johnston continually demonstrates that she is a team player. She monitors the company’s “Slack channel” for questions from operators and responds to them even when not at work. She has volunteered to come into the central station to help several times, even when she was not on-call. She took on a major project that requires ongoing account information updates for new installations. Johnston often adjusts her schedule to meet the department’s needs. “She has a team-player mindset that has allowed her to contribute to handling not only her own workload but also in assisting co-workers with their work,” Widerski describes.


Learn About the Operator of the Year Finalists

Emily Bishop, advanced level 6 dispatcher at COPS Monitoring, has received the top Chairman’s Award at COPS two years in a row for delivering exceptionally high-quality service and for being a lifeline for customers in their time of need. Earning the award twice consecutively is a rare accomplishment, states COPS Monitoring on her Excellence Awards application. During a routine alarm verification call in 2021, Bishop found herself on the phone with a terrified subscriber who was in the middle of a gun fight in her own home. Bishop got the customer to focus on the sound of her voice and gave her instructions to get to a safe place in her home. With the help of a second dispatcher, Bishop coordinated real-time updates to authorities. The events of this day took the lives of three people, but spared the life of COPS Monitoring’s subscriber. Bishop’s clear and decisive actions very well may have saved her life, the company relates.

Timothy Tinajero, senior operator/trainer, Kimberlite-Sonitrol Corp., had an unconventional start at the company. He was working at a local fast-food restaurant when Kimberlite-Sonitrol’s general manager, Marcos Reyes, went through the drive-thru. Impressed with how Tinajero handled himself and his spirit, Reyes gave him a card saying that he would be welcome to join the Kimberlite family if he chose to. The next day Tinajero called Reyes, and the rest is history. Tinajero has performed above expectations since his very first day. He regularly dispatches on valid alarms, completes all expected tasks quickly, and helps his team finish their incident reports ahead of schedule. Tinajero has a positive attitude that doesn’t quit through his entire shift, Kimberlite states on his Excellence Awards application. When things get busy, he consistently offers to help by calling the responsible parties while his peers dispatch the alarm, for example. Tinajero was recognized with the 2020 Sonitrol National Dealers Association Top Operator Award.


Support Person of the Year


WINNER: LaMar A. Shroyer

COMPANY: Dynamark Monitoring Inc., Hagerstown, Md.

TITLE: Vice President of Technology & Innovations

TENURE AT THE COMPANY: 11 years

LaMar Shroyer IMAGE COURTESY OF DYNAMARK MONITORING


Dynamark Monitoring’s LaMar Shroyer never utters the words, ‘cannot be done.’

LaMar Shroyer has some big responsibilities at Dynamark Monitoring, yet he never says something “cannot be done.”

As vice president of technology and innovations, Shroyer is responsible for total IT management, including ensuring that all signals from multiple technologies are directed to proper dealers and specific accounts. Dynamark Monitoring processes more than 4 million signals per month.

Shroyer also maintains all servers, IP addresses, and software to certify security compliance. He manages the monitoring center’s Dealer Services Department that handles data entry, including all account information, and additional IT staff.

Before joining Dynamark Monitoring 11 years ago, Shroyer worked in IT security for a local bank. At Dynamark Monitoring, he established the IT infrastructure for their UL-listed and FM-approved central station and he continuously adds and upgrades equipment and processes as needed. He holds the following certifications: Microsoft certified; Network Topology Configuration; Cisco Voice-over-IP Configuration and Installation; Firewall Administration; and Wireless, TCPIP and WAN/LAN Configuration.

“His upbeat personality is a unique management style that allows everyone to want to complete their assigned task correctly and on time,” says Keith Godsey, chief operating officer at Dynamark Monitoring.

As a team player Shroyer works with dealers to provide technical support to their technicians — not only on IP-related items, but on many installation and communication issues as well. He works with Dynamark Monitoring’s executive staff on all IT issues including email, printing, billing and connectivity. On a daily basis, Shroyer works with operators and supervisors on any signal issues or new technology training that is being implemented. He analyzes erroneous signals and resolves related issues through vendors and dealers. Shroyer was instrumental in identifying the tens of thousands of accounts that needed 3G upgrades.

“LaMar came to our company as an IT expert and embraced the monitoring side of our company,” Godsey says. “Over the last 11 years he has been instrumental in our growth and even when there has been any sort of equipment issue, he has responded 24 hours a day and made it right, so we never missed a beat. He constantly assists customers and dealers with any and all technical issues including IP, transmission format issues, and even panel technical problems. A dealer in the Midwest had a regional failure with their telecom carrier (not ours) and LaMar assisted the local representative in rerouting all of their lines to other pathways, bringing back all customers online.”


Learn About the Support Person of the Year Finalists

Corey Gose, training coordinator at Kimberlite-Sonitrol Corp., works hard to ensure all concepts are fully explained so operators can act with confidence on any signal that comes in. He makes himself approachable so that operators know they can come to him without being judged, in order to fill a gap or learn something new. As an integral part of the team, Gose gives operators the tools they need to succeed. He continually works on improving his own processes, such as better targeted training, new evaluation processes, or explaining scoring criteria. Kimberlite-Sonitrol attributes some of Gose’s creativity on the job to the fact that he is actually a very good artist. “Corey is often doodling up all sorts of great ideas on his breaks and shares his creations with his team. That burst of creativity can be seen in all ways Corey approaches problems,” notes the company on Gose’s Excellence Award application.

Aaron Salma has been a valued member of the Affiliated Monitoring family for more than nine years. He has been instrumental in the company’s growth and success by being involved with every major dealer transfer and onboarding in some way. As associate director of onboarding and partner success, Salma’s role exposes him to the challenges faced by Affiliated Monitoring’s dealers. He effectively communicates these issues to the monitoring center, and works with other teams at the company to find innovative solutions to the dealers’ issues. At the same time, he is not afraid to stand up for the monitoring team when they are sometimes unfairly maligned or blamed. Affiliated Monitoring states, “Salma commands the respect of his teams, and is an exemplary leader. His acumen for business and the security industry has made him an invaluable resource for our dealer partners and his work ethic is impeccable.”