Manager of the Year

Sarah Murphy truly cares about her customers, her company and her co-workers.

Sarah Murphy IMG_0135

Senior operations manager Sarah Murphy has been working for Sonitrol of Fresno for 12 years. Starting as an operator on the night shift, Murphy worked her way through several positions, including trainer, programmer and senior supervisor before being promoted to her current position. 

Murphy makes it her job to keep the pulse on employees and their individual skill sets and she focuses on encouraging and supporting the central station team any way she can, says Marcos Reyes, vice president and general manager – central station operations. In order to keep herself informed about what’s going on, Murphy even schedules one-on-one meetings with each employee once a month.

“In every role she has had she truly cares not only about the customers, but also the business and other employees. That overall mentality is hard to find,” Reyes says. 

Learn About the Finalists

Central station manager Tracy Ehrsam has worked for Habitec Security, Holland, Ohio, for 32 years. When Habitec moved its central station five miles away from its previous location, Ehrsam worked non-stop over 24 hours helping operators and technicians with the transition and stress involved in the transfer and dealt with employees in two places at once during the move of phone lines, receivers and other equipment. In addition, Ehrsam continually strives to keep the company’s employees and customers happy by always being available for a chat, to meet one on one, or address any concerns or issues. According to the company, she truly leads by example.

Patricia Morse, manager of the monitoring center, has worked for Richmond Alarm Company, Midlothian, Va., for 21 years and places an emphasis on service. Morse understands that the business all starts with people and is constantly recruiting high-energy, respectful team members that live Richmond Alarm Company’s core values and love taking care of customers. One of Morse’s biggest achievements, according to the company, is her management of the company’s staff and its low turnover. The average operator has more than eight years of experience. In addition to employee retention, Morse aims to retain employees and keep them happy through difficult situations.

Murphy tries to make every co-worker and employee feel valued and important, Reyes continues. She personally writes thank you notes to employees, gets cards and cakes to celebrate individual birthdays and work anniversaries, and takes the time to verbally say thank you to team members on a regular basis. “Honestly, that type of stuff is overlooked. Sometimes we don’t say enough thank yous. Sarah does and that is meaningful,” he says.

One of the best practices Murphy introduced in her 2½ years as senior operations manager is a mandatory tech ride-along. Requiring every operator to go on a tech ride-along gives them an understanding of what it is like to be in the field and to have training on the equipment, Murphy says. Alternatively, every technician does a monitoring center observation to understand what it’s like to work in that department. 

“It gives everyone a better view and helps operators and technicians build relationships with one another,” Murphy tells SDM.

During one particularly stressful time last year, Sonitrol of Fresno’s central station went through a complete remodel, requiring monitoring to be moved into a much smaller space for a few months. Murphy did her best to stay connected with the monitoring team and address any issues as soon as possible. She paid close attention to operator scheduling to make sure there was support to reduce stress and pressure, Reyes says. 

Murphy says that as she continues to age with Sonitrol of Fresno, she understands how special her work and the industry are and she strives to reflect that in her day-to-day manner. “This is my second home,” she says. “What I love is that we are protecting our customers’ livelihoods and we can give a sense of peace and security to so many people. That is really rewarding.”