Security Gives Back in 2020

Dec. 11, 2020
Even COVID can’t stop determined integrators from contributing time, effort and funding to their local communities
This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention @SecBusinessMag on Twitter and Security Business magazine on LinkedIn.

Every year, Security Business uses the December issue to honor the vast number of security integration firms – from the huge global integrators down to the regional alarm dealers – who give back to their communities. This year, as everyone knows, has been challenging, especially from a community support perspective. That said, these security integrators did their best to socially distance, wear masks, stay safe and STILL support hundreds of charitable organizations.

Thank you to all security integrators – whether they submitted for this article or not – for having a positive impact on the neighborhoods and communities that you serve! Thanks for caring, and thanks for making a difference!

Before getting into the highlights of some of the great things our industry did in 2020, I would like to remind you that Security Gives Back is a year-round collection process for Security Business…please send in your stories and photos of community support, charity and volunteerism as they happen to [email protected] for inclusion in this article next year and for special recognition on our Twitter feed, @SecBusinessMag.

A3 Communications, Irmo, S.C.: In early 2020, A3 stepped up to help when nearby Kershaw County School District’s newly remodeled North Central High School was hit by a tornado which caused significant damage. Team A3 joined forces with the district to assess damage and recover technology, including Axis Communications surveillance cameras, in the days following the event and continue to assist the district as they rebuild and grow their facilities. Additionally, A3 partnered with The Salvation Army of the Midlands for the third consecutive year through the Angel Tree sponsorship program.
ADT Security Services & ADT Commercial: During the COVID-19 crisis, ADT demonstrated unwavering dedication to supporting communities where its employees live and work. Through ADT Always Cares, $1 million was contributed to over 100 non-profits in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The funds were allocated in $5,000 and $10,000 increments, mostly supporting food banks and first
responder agencies. Additionally, ADT Commercial donated 5,000 meals to healthcare workers at five major hospitals across the country, expressing gratitude to healthcare heroes on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic.
Advantech, Dover, Del.: The company partnered with local non-profit Buckets of Love, which spreads joy and happiness by filling buckets with age-appropriate toys, games and crafts for deserving children receiving medical care, residing in homeless shelters or are otherwise facing a difficult situation. Not only did Advantech graciously donate $4,000 in supplies, but their staff of 60-plus worked tirelessly for an entire day to assemble 260 buckets for the organization.

Alarm Detection Systems, Aurora, Ill.: “The challenges of 2020 have not slowed our efforts to give back to the community,” Marketing Director Jon Schwartz says. Alarm Detection Systems and Safe Systems have found creative ways to give back, including: an annual Food Drive for a local Feeding America food bank; a school supply drive; and its executive team volunteered time at Aurora’s Pop-Up Pantry in September to distribute food supplies to the community.

Allied Universal: Our employees dedicate extensive personal time and energy to support meaningful causes important to their communities. In 2019, Allied Universal donated more than $1 million in direct donations to various charities and community organizations, such as American Heart Association and United Way, the International Security Foundation, and other community-focused initiatives. This year, Allied Universal provided more than 310,000 meals to nine food banks across the nation to help support each non-profit organization's ongoing emergency response efforts to combat food insecurity for families who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Brady Integrated Security, Greensboro, N.C.: The company has been working with Habitat for Humanity for more than four years, as well as other charitable organizations including the Adopt-A-Stream program, the Guilford Education Alliance, Feed the Hunger, Triad Stage, and the Tanger Center for Performing Arts. As a veteran-owned and veteran-focused company, Brady also created the 3rd Special Forces Group Warrior Fund Scholarship in Honor of Al Kuhnemann, a long-time associate and veteran.

B Safe Security, Mantua, N.J.: During the 2019 holiday season, B Safe spread Christmas cheer throughout New Jersey communities via the B Safe Polar Express. The float was assembled by company technicians, adorned with festive lights and piloted through five local parades. Mike Symington and Steve Miller lead the project, and they dispersed hot chocolate packets to children and allowed others to ride aboard the express. B Safe will do its best to continue this annual tradition while following CDC guidelines this year. 

Convergint Technologies: For the past 20 years, on the first Friday of every June, the company has held its annual Convergint Social Responsibility Day. This year’s event was adjusted to prioritize safety in light of the pandemic; thus, efforts were extended beyond just a single-day event, so that smaller groups could gather at different times to complete service projects, while observing social distancing and other safety mandates. Convergint colleagues contributed to the company's Step Up for Schools program, where they donated time and materials to upgrade security systems for underfunded schools – this year in Denver and Salt Lake City. Other Convergint branches chose causes that were close to their hearts and communities – for example, Westchester, Ohio, supported Hopes Closet, an organization that provides free resources and funding to foster families, with a donated and installed security system. Across the country, Convergint colleagues completed projects for public parks and facilities, food pantries, and other groups that support foster care and at-risk youth, to name just a few causes.

Custom Alarm, Rochester, Minn.: As a company of 65 employees, more than 300 volunteer hours were donated to 28 different organizations, even when things became challenging in 2020. The company adopted a highway and held two clean-up days; they participated in National Night Out, giving out seven sponsorships to neighborhoods and promoting police-community partnerships to bring neighbors together. Other volunteer/donation events included: United Way annual campaign, Channel One Food Bank, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Christmas gifts for children battling cancer and Children’s Museum of Rochester.
DynaFire, Casselberry, Fla.: The DynaFire Family remained focused on youth-based organizations in Florida, even though in-person activities had been limited. Hope Now hosted a virtual Back to School Drive in place of their usual event, where DynaFire supplied 500 children with back-to-school materials. Additionally, all seven DynaFire offices are participating in the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

Electronic Sales Company, Gainesville, Ga.: For Her Glory was co-founded in 2004 by company President and Vice President Counte and Jackie Cooley – as well Judy and Scotty Piotrowski –to help cancer patients. “Because of Judy’s battle with breast cancer, we went to purchase a wig for her after she lost her hair from chemotherapy. When we realized that insurance will not pay for wigs, we started For Her Glory,” Jackie Cooley says. To date, For Her Glory has purchased wigs, protheses, compression garments, and hotel rooms in excess of $350K.

Electronix Systems, Huntington Station, N.Y.: The company proudly sponsors two organizations – “A Mother’s Kiss,” which helps families of child cancer patients, and The First Responders Children’s Foundation, which supports children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. In addition to its annual Corporate Sponsorships, employees have participated in annual toy drives; in fact, in 2012, the company partnered with the New York Fire Alarm Association to provide toys to the pediatric floors at four local hospitals – starting a tradition that has endured every year since. Each holiday season, the company also hosts a food drive to collect non-perishable foods to donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Gillmore Security, Cleveland: Moved by the pandemic-induced shutdown and by media images of people standing in line at food distribution centers around the country, the Gillmore team was determined to help, and made a $10,000 donation to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. “Because we were fortunate enough to continue to operate at normal levels, we felt it was imperative to provide some assistance to those in our community who were directly affected,” says CEO Alan Gillmore III. “We believed that donating to the Foodbank was an ideal way to help.”
Guardian Protection, Warrendale, Pa.: Helping to combat hunger during the pandemic, Guardian Protection worked with Pittsburgh-based 412 Food Rescue to help distribute donations of fresh food. In all, 54 rescues were accomplished and about 1,000 cartons delivered totaling 20,302 pounds of food. The rescues converted to 16,918 meals for the hungry in the Greater Pittsburgh area. “With food insecurity increasing during the COVID-19 crisis for people throughout the community, the partnership with 412 Food Rescue was the perfect way to mobilize our people and vehicles for good,” says Kevin Bish, VP of Marketing.

Holmes Security Systems, Fayetteville, N.C.: Holmes worked with vendors to donate and install a burglar and video surveillance system – including alarm monitoring by Holmes’ central station – in a new facility for Lone Survivor Foundation, which helps wounded service members, veterans and their families through health, wellness and therapeutic support. “Holmes Security Systems continues to assist with this non-profit organization and is grateful for the opportunity to give back to our heroes,” says Amy Minnix, Marketing Director.

Integrated Protection Services, Cincinnati: Both the Cincinnati and Columbus locations of IPS were official Toys for Tots drop off sites. Additionally, employees donated more than $300 to Shriners Hospital’s transport program, which helps families get to and from the hospital for treatments and visits.
Kastle Systems, Falls Church, VA: The Kastle C.A.R.E.S program provides our employees with opportunities to become involved in their communities and make a positive impact. This year, 74 employees across the U.S. participated in its days of service during October – supporting 11 non-profit organizations. Employees donated nearly 300 hours, along with clothing, food, fundraising, donations and more. Kastle’s Fremont, Calif., office helped feed more than 250 families by helping to distribute food for the South Hayward Parish Food bank.
KMT Systems, McDonough, Ga.: For the third consecutive year, KMT partnered with Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, putting together 50 Logo bags for the children with games and crafts along with some essentials and had them picked up by the staff for the hospital. “Although we could not go to the location (due to COVID-19 restrictions), we still got to participate by hopefully making a difference in the lives of some children who are going through the toughest time of their life,” GM Bobby Wilbanks says. “Our owner, Tommy Smith, has a passion for giving back and we feel as an organization that the youth are the future of our company and this country.”

My Alarm Center, Philadelphia: In November, members of My Alarm Center’s executive leadership team again participated in the annual “Sleep Out” event with Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides housing and a network of supportive services to homeless youth. The “Sleep Out” event has sparked more awareness about youth homelessness issues as well as raising more than $80 million to house, care for, and empower young people overcoming homelessness throughout the 31 cities Covenant House supports. My Alarm Center has had a standing relationship with Covenant House for the last six years, raising over $100,000 for the non-profit organization. This year’s Sleep Out took place virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Our business focuses on protecting homes and the families that live in them, but there are so many young people who don’t even have a home or a family and have very little chance of a future. We are incredibly honored to be able to contribute in this meaningful way,” My Alarm Center President and CEO Amy Kothari says.

Pro-Tec Design, Minnetonka, Minn.: Technicians volunteered to install a Milestone Video system using Axis cameras and a Bosch Security System with hardwired and wireless panic buttons for Hospitality House Youth Development, an organization focused on the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of inner city youth and their families. “Many thanks to our partners that helped make this event possible: Axis Communications, Bosch, ADI Global Distribution and API Lifts,” adds Rachel Hovde, Account Manager & Employee Owner.

Sage Integration, Kent, Ohio: As a strong supporter of Mission 500 and its work with children and families in crisis, employees in Sage’s Ohio and Atlanta offices filled Mission 500 back-to-school backpacks for students attending local Title 1 schools. Sage also sponsored three foursomes and a hole at September’s Mission 500 Golf Challenge in Marlboro, N.J.

Schmidt Security Pro & Schmidt Fire, Toledo, Ohio: Employees have created its “12 Months of Giving” program to give back to the community. Each month, a committee selects a local community organization, individual or family who could benefit from some financial assistance. The beneficiary and their needs are shared with all employees, many of whom make a personal discretionary donation, which is matched by the company. More than $5000 has been donated during the past year.

Securitas Electronic Security (SES), Uniontown, Ohio: SES has donated $10,000 to support five charitable organizations: The Children of Fallen Patriots, Stand Up to Cancer, the Dallas Fallen Officers Foundation, the ALS Association, and the Friends of Flight 93 Memorial. The donations are in lieu of SES’ annual philanthropic effort as part of the Global Security Exchange (GSX) tradeshow where $2 is donated per booth visitor. ““Although we were not able to raise awareness in-person at our annual industry tradeshows like in years past, we remain committed to supporting our communities and worthy causes,” said Tony Byerly, President & CEO.

Securityhunter, Windsor Mill, Md.: After a successful pilot program of providing financial assistance for 28 local children in need and their families during the Christmas holidays, Securityhunter turned its efforts inward by finding ways to assist its employees. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Founder, Michael S. Rogers and Executive Director, Ross Nelson purchased almost two tons of food for employees – and provided 50 pounds of rice, 12 pounds of black beans, 80 ounces of honey, 10 pounds of oatmeal, and 96 ounces of peanut butter to each employee.

SIGNET Electronic Systems, Norwell, Mass: Since 2014, employees have donated and volunteered for the food pantry run by Interfaith Social Services of Quincy, Mass. Each month, the company sends a team of individuals to collect canned goods for the organization throughout the year. While the company has not been able to volunteer on-site since COVID-19, they plan to resume as soon as possible. The company also conducts a yearly backpack, Halloween costume and holiday toy drive.

Silent Guard, Somerset, Ky.: In the words of President and CEO Dwight Spears: “As the Kentucky Ambassador for Global Pay It Forward Day, I couldn’t be more proud of how so many in our industry stepped up and joined forces with us to share and spread kindness around the country. With so many affected by COVID-19, the needs and struggles were real and are still overwhelming. If a customer called in and had difficulty paying their monthly monitoring, we credited them three months free – no questions asked, contract extensions, no strings attached – it was just the right thing to do. On several occasions we quietly gifted PPE supplies – masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers, etc. – to independent contractors and other small business owners. Other times we supplied our kiosk temperature readers to civic and other charitable events in our communities.”

Stone Security, Salt Lake City: In March 2020, Stone Security’s Director of Global Operations Mark Monfredi’s son Conner suffered a serious mountain bike accident and was life flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital. Stone Security’s Director of Business Administration, Carly Maynes, set up a GoFundMe to help with the medical costs. Within a couple of weeks, the company raised more than $8,000. Fortunately, Conner’s recovery and rehabilitation have been successful, and this August, he was able to compete in and win the youth national mountain bike series, which Stone Security sponsors.     

Vector Security, Pittsburgh: Vector Security opened a storefront in Junior Achievement’s BizTown to provide real-world business experience to school-aged kids in the Pittsburgh area. Employees volunteered to help kids learn about security as well as general business practices. Additionally, Vector donated meals to the Lancaster Emergency Medical Services Association, and Pittsburgh branch employees and families joined Friends of the Riverfront to clean up the Southside Riverfront Park part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
VIRSIG, New York: Several times a year, CEO Brian Valenza participates in “Frogman Swims” across harbors like NYC, Boston and San Francisco – all to raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation (NSF), which provides assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and its families. Last year Valenza and VIRSIG raised more than $25,000.
Vision Security Technologies, Birmingham, Ala: Vision Security Technologies was honored to provide 100 meals to the healthcare heroes at Baptist Medical Center South & East in July. “We appreciate all healthcare workers and public service professionals who have been and continue to be on the frontline working to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.
Vision Technologies, Glen Burnie, Md.: In early March, one of Vision’s suppliers reached out and asked if the company would be interested in buying N95 face masks. Recognizing that there was a critical shortage of masks for healthcare workers, Vision ordered an additional 5,000 masks to be donated to nearby Mercy Medical Center and Anne Arundel Medical Center. “We are proud that many of our teammates opted to donate the N95 masks we had acquired for them to the frontline healthcare heroes. That selfless act, our willingness to give, is one of the things about our Vision culture that I am most of proud of,” says CEO John Shetrone.

Vistacom, Allentown, Pa.: COO Angela Nolan and IT Manager Justin Nolan worked hard to gather 15 laptops, computer mice, power cables and Windows licensing for each to be donated to local school districts to assist and enhance the distance learning experience for students at the beginning of COVID-19 when the transition to virtual learning was an incredible challenge for many school districts.

Vivint Smart Home, Salt Lake City: During the company’s annual Charity Week in June 2020, Vivint and its employees raised more than $1.5 million, which included more than $790,000 in direct employee donations, a $500,000 match by Vivint, a $225,000 personal donation from CEO Todd Pedersen, and nearly $16,000 in donations from Vivint customers. The funds are helping to support organizations focused on building stronger communities, including racial and social equality; providing for essential needs, including pandemic relief; and creating brighter futures for all, including educational resources and youth programs.

Security Gives Back is an annual article in Security Business, but it is still a year-round collection process! Please send in your stories and photos of community support, charity and volunteerism as they happen to [email protected] for inclusion in this article next year.