The 2013 CSAA Central Station Excellence Awards were presented last week at ESX at the Excellence Awards Breakfast. Every year, the awards recognize outstanding central stations and individuals that raise the bar for dedication, innovation and best practices in monitoring. The awards are co-sponsored by the Central Station Alarm Association and SDM.

With a slightly different format than in previous years, three nominees were selected for recognition in each of the four categories: Central Station Manager of the Year, Central Station Operator of the Year, Central Station Support Person of the Year and Central Station of the Year. During the presentation, Laura Stepanek, editor of SDM, introduced each nominee and why the panel of judges found their work so compelling. After all the nominees were recognized, the winners were announced.

The Manager of the Year award went to Ted Stoler, Vector Security’s  East Central Station manager and assistant vice president.  With 35 years of security experience under his belt, Stoler made significant changes to improve the company’s work culture, call response time, training procedures and employee development, staff performance reporting, after-hours technical support and more. A standout in his approach is the importance he’s placed on not only hiring the right people and training them well, but in overseeing their continued development.

During Hurricane Sandy, Stoler dove into the challenges presented as an unwavering source of leadership, support and motivation to the central station staff. Later, he spoke to CSAA about those challenges in this video interview.

Also nominated in this category were Jacqueline Grimm, vice president of monitoring operations at Diebold Security, and Jeremy Wyble, general manager at Alarm Central LLC.

Grimm’s accomplishments during her 31-year tenure at Diebold included helping the monitoring center achieve its initial CSAA Five Diamond certification and lobbying for strategic investments in the central station.

Wyble’s accomplishments included upgrading the automation system, adding video monitoring, moving from POTs lines to a redundant fiber network, writing a training procedure manual, and more.

Crystal McLemore from CPI Security Systems was named Operator of the Year. In the four years she has spent at CPI, McLemore never missed a day of work. She is placed as a priority in alarm queues and is offered all inbound calls from customers and responding agencies. She is in charge of training the new employees and regularly receives praise from customers and other teammates for making a difference and going beyond the call of duty. 

Also nominated were Joe Ferari of ADS and Nick Hernandez of RFI.

Ferari has been an operator with ADS for 12 years and a shift supervisor for 3. He is a solution-minded person, who works hard to ensure proper staffing and weather preparedness.

Hernandez, a former 911 dispatcher, has been with RFI for two years with perfect attendance. In addition to being senior dispatcher, he is in charge of training new hires.

The 2013 Support Person of the Year was announced to be Angie Montgomery, data entry supervisor at ADS Security. She has been an ADS employee for 20 years and is currently in charge of entering and reviewing data, testing new procedures, managing two data entry operators and working with software vendors on data conversions. Montgomery was described by her co-workers as a very positive and determined person. If there is a problem, she will work to resolve it until she is convinced she has found the best solution. Her calming presence, effective communication skills, and willingness to help others make Montgomery an inspiration to the ADS team. Montgomery commented on what makes her team excel in this video.

The other two nominees were David W. Carter, East Central Station tech support leader at Vector Security and Mark Simpson, manager of central station tech services at RFI.

Carter’s dedication and work ethic are exemplary and he works diligently to not only fix the issues that arise, but to create a solution to the problem.

Simpson started as a part-time employee of RFI 26 years ago. He is currently in charge of MAS automation and alarm receiver support, and all other central station technical support issues. He offers career pathing meetings to his co-workers to help them achieve their goals as well.


And finally, the Central Station of the Year award was presented to CPI Security Systems, Charlotte, N.C.

Since it first applied for the Excellence Awards in 2006, CPI has been hard at work to turn an already exemplary central station into an exceptional one by learning from itself and from past winners.

The company currently boasts a 0.38 dispatch rate, which has been steadily declining due to its strong relationships with responding authority groups and ordinance committees as well as a proactive focus on customer training and follow-up, a commitment to enhanced verification and more recently, the use of video verification. John Shocknesse and Greg Hurst of CPI Security commented further on video about the company’s low rate of false alarms, and the merits of video verification after the awards presentation.

The central station’s backup systems are quite impressive, and the company boasts five mirrored redundant MAStermind servers and dual signal processors in place.

One of the most inspiring things about this company is the relationships it established with its customers, which are constant and valuable, promoting the use of their security systems, addressing actual and false alarms or just showing appreciation.

Industry involvement is highly prized and members of CPI’s central station management team are also leaders in organizations such as The North Carolina Alarm Association, the IQ Certification board, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation and are involved with organizations such as UL, SIAC, CSAA, ESA, SIA and NFPA.

Also nominated were Vector Security’s West Central Station in Pittsburg, Pa. and Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill.

Vector’s West Central Station services all of the company’s National Accounts customers as well as branch-level commercial customers. The complexity of its device backup, hiring, training, compliance, performance reporting, false alarm prevention, and retention procedures are vital to allowing the West central station to operate in harmony with the company’s other three stations.

For Walgreens, a national retailer with more than 8,000 stores, building a proprietary monitoring station required a significant investment and resulted in a considerable shift in its business model. But it was also a profitable move that made the Fortune 50 company stand out and want to be emulated by companies such as Best Buy, Target, Aon and others.

You can read more about what make these companies stand out in SDM’s August issue feature profiling the winners.