Operator of the Year

Charles White takes pride in doing his job well and in being a mentor to other members of the team.


Aside from his duties as a monitoring specialist, Charles White trains, mentors and coaches new monitoring specialists, participates in the review of company policies, helps create and update training materials, and coordinates with the quality assurance team to ensure that trainees and specialists meet Affiliated Monitoring’s standards.

During White’s decade-long career at Affiliated, he has proven himself as an invaluable resource and role model for others, says Carmelo Mosca, managing director at Affiliated. He leads with the values that Affiliated holds dear, adds CEO Daniel Oppenheim, including reliability, accuracy, care and a focus on protecting the company’s dealers’ customers. 

White truly enjoys his role as a trainer and mentor and enjoys being one of the first faces to greet new hires. “I really like that I get to create a bond with everyone that starts with the company and I find joy in that. Sometimes when you start a job, you feel a bit alone at some point, but the best part of my job for me is to let co-workers know that they have someone they can turn to,” White says. 

Learn About the Finalists

After being hired as a third-shift central station dispatcher for Universal Atlantic Systems in 2017, Ciera Cannon was promoted to senior dispatcher and then first-shift team lead, in part because of her leadership qualities, ability to multi-task and her attention to detail. Cannon helps monitor the activity in the central station and assists dispatchers with high volumes by logging into the alarm queue when needed. She will alter her schedule to ensure proper coverage on all shifts, even coming into the office on her days off if the department needs help. Once, during a time of need, Cannon worked 18 days consecutively to help different shifts.

Jane Starkey, second-shift supervisor at Habitec Security, has a 30-year tenure at the company, starting as an operator, then moving to weekend supervisor and to shift supervisor. All of Starkey’s training has come from hands-on experience and she performs with the highest level of quality and care in her job, according to Habitec, whether it’s communicating with customers or filling in for an operator. But Starkey’s dedication goes beyond monitoring. She will fill in for the service and installation departments when duty calls, all in an effort to provide her customers with top-notch service. 

Along with the training development staff, quality assurance staff and managers, White is always brainstorming new ideas to keep trainees engaged and motivated. White helped to “gamify” the training process at Affiliated, to make it less daunting and more fun — as well as closer to real life than learning from a textbook, Oppenheim says. 

For example, White and his team of trainers have a library of scenarios that imitate various types of callers to simulate real-life situations that new hires will encounter as monitoring specialists. “We try to give them examples of anything and everything they may come across when sitting on their own. It’s all about being prepared,” White says. 

Another training tool White and his team developed is a Jeopardy game covering alarm procedures and operations. “The trainees really love that game and you get to see how much they are learning. It’s an amazing way to see what they are retaining,” White explains.

Aside from being a mentor and trainer, White takes his job as an operator very seriously and coupled with his flexibility and go-with-the-flow positivity, his attributes make for a great fit for his position, Mosca believes.

White has been credited with saving numerous lives while handling medical alarm and PERS signals. In one example, a customer was suffering from a serious medical emergency and was in a panicked state. White was able to maintain his composure and professionally help the subscriber, efficiently dispatching help while reassuring the customer. “He calmed the subscriber down by speaking to her about the news, current events and anything else to keep her mind off her predicament,” Mosca shares. 

“Charles is patient, precise and takes pride in doing his job well. Both new employees and long-tenured team members at Affiliated look up to him around the monitoring center,” Mosca says.