Kimberlite’s Rao-Russell to Lead TMA’s PSLC Subcommittee on Law Enforcement

Joey Rao-Russell, President and CEO of Kimberlite Corporation, is the new chair of the Law Enforcement subcommittee of TMA’s Public Safety Liaison Committee. The PSLC advises the TMA Board on strategies and activities to be used in working with public sector organizations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ AssociationJoey Rao-Russell Headshot, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials and others, in order to advance the views and goals of the monitoring industry. It is chaired by Graham Westphal, Co-President of Bay Alarm Company.

“I hope to help TMA and our members increase awareness and presence in their state and local law enforcement associations,” said Rao-Russell. “I would like to increase cooperation and collaboration to help law enforcement better protect our communities and clients. In particular, I would like to see us increase participation in California, Florida, and Texas first, due to their positioning as influential state associations.”

Joey Rao-Russell has worked in the Security industry for 16 years, working in all aspects of the business including operations and sales up to her current position as the President & CEO of Kimberlite Corporation, the world’s largest independent Sonitrol franchisee. Based in Fresno, California,  Kimberlite has consistently been ranked in the SDM Top 100 companies and integrators for the last 15 years and operates an award-winning central station specializing in audio- and video-verified security solutions. She currently serves as Past President of the Sonitrol National Dealers Association and Vice President of PPVAR.

“We are honored to have the the senior executive from Kimberlite take this role,” said Graham Westphal. “It is our great gain that Joey is willing to give her time to TMA for the betterment of the industry.”

FCC Overturns Copper Retirement Notice Requirements and Other Consumer Protections

On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted an Order rolling back consumer protections in connection with the retirement of copper lines and the discontinuance of traditional telephone services. The FCC took this action even though the alarm industry, consumer advocates and members of Congress objected that the actions could lead to consumers losing their telephone service and could adversely impact alarm service.

The FCC’s Order:

  • eliminates notice to customers when copper facilities will be retired;
  • allows local exchange carriers (LECs), apparently, to notify some customers of upcoming network changes and copper retirements;
  • reduces the notice that must be provided to interconnecting carriers;
  • allows LECs to discontinue low speed services on an expedited basis;
  • appears to allow LECs to discontinue service even if there is not a replacement service that is as good as the discontinued service.

The FCC also adopted a Further Notice seeking comment on whether a single interconnected VoIP service (without any service quality or other requirements) should enable streamlined discontinuance of legacy voice service. It also seeks comment on whether the FCC should streamline discontinuances for higher-speed data services.

As TMA’s Alarm Industry Communications Committee reviews the Order, TMA members should record and report to TMA ( if they have experienced an increase in the number of alarm signals that do not go through; the area where there are problems; the cause of the problem; and, if known, whether there is a copper retirement in the area where it occurs.

A more detailed analysis of the Order and Further Notice will be provided soon.

Vector Security’s Rick Simpson is New Chair of TMA Standards Committee

Rick SimpsonTMA, as an ANSI-approved SDO (Standards Development Organization), has an active Standards committee. This committee promotes and produces standards to help guide alarm companies in operating their monitoring centers within ANSI guidelines. Today TMA is pleased to announce the new chair of this committee: Vector Security VP of Technical Services Rick Simpson. A long-time active participant in the security industry, Simpson is known for working to safeguard codes and processes that are fair for labor, industry and the consumer.

Beginning his career in the alarm industry more than 30 years ago as a service technician, Simpson has held numerous technical services management positions within Vector. Today, he is responsible for the development of Vector’s technical product selection, installation and servicing protocols. He is NICET Level 3 certified and is Vectors’s technical license holder in more than 15 states.

Simpson has served as Chairperson of the ESA Standards and Fire Life Safety Committee for 7 years and has represented TMA on NFPA 72 Household Fire Alarm Systems. He has faced numerous uphill battles in fighting code development which would have been detrimental to industry growth.

Simpson says that initially he plans to continue the current focus on recognized industry standards including NFPA 72 and 101, and begin a review  of CP-01 and its impact on the alarm industry.

The Standards committee will be co-chaired by Shane Clary, Vice President, Codes and Standards Compliance at Bay Alarm Company. For more information on this committee, contact Bryan Ginn at TMA.


2017 Fall Ops Brings Industry Professionals Together

TMA’s Fall Operations Management Seminar, “the one industry event for monitoring center personnel presented by monitoring center personnel,” took place November 5-7 in Rosemont, IL. The event’s education program, with the theme “Evolutionary Monitoring,” focused on best practices in monitoring centers, including updates on the latest industry standards, staff management, software and equipment news, and other operational best practices, processes and procedures. Participants were also treated to two extraordinary tour experiences: UL headquarters and testing laboratories and Walgreens’ Security Operations Center.

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“The visit to Walgreens Central Station was one of the main reasons for coming,” said Elizabeth Wargacki, Vice President Merchants Alarm Systems. “It was a great opportunity to see firsthand how other stations have set up and how they operate. The HR and Employee training sessions were great training programs. It was also good to hear how proprietary companies (like Wegmans) and large monitoring companies (like Vivint) deal with HR issues, employee training, etc.”

“Along with the good advice/training, the networking opportunities were outstanding,” said Scott Ludrick, Kroger Central Alarm Control Management Team Member. Wanda Griffith, Central Station Manager, The Protection Bureau, agreed: “I enjoyed seeing old faces and reconnecting. The networking opportunities [at Fall Ops] are priceless.”

“As a relatively new SOC Manager, the opportunity to get insights on how others are dealing with situations similar to mine is invaluable,” said Brian Ridge, SOC Manager, Interface Security Systems. “This was my first time attending and I look forward to hopefully returning next year.”

The dates and location for the 2018 Fall Ops will be announced in the coming weeks.



TMA Member Steve Van Till of Brivo Receives Hauhn Award at SIA Honors Night

​​On November 15, the Security Industry Association (SIA) presented the Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award to Brivo CEO Steve Van Till at SIA Honors Night at The Current at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

The Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award is given each year to a SIA member who has shown commitment and fostered collaboration between the association and the security industry as well as has advocated for advancements in the industry.

The Monitoring Association Executive Director Hauhn was on hand to present the award to Van Till, whose company, Brivo, is a member of TMA.

Hauhn Van Till SIA Honors Hauhn Award

Steve Van Till (left) and Jay Hauhn at SIA Honors Night, November 15

As SIA Standards Committee Chair, Van Till was instrumental in identifying and bringing Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) to SIA. He has served as an effective SIA volunteer liaison to other stakeholders within the security industry, including integrators and security practitioners. Van Till has ensured that SIA Standards remain in step with the evolving technology demands of the industry and has focused on real business requirements through actionable projects, bringing a new level of commitment to the industry.

Van Till has been a key liaison for SIA to the International Security Management Association (ISMA), which represents the senior security executive practitioners from Fortune 500 companies.  On multiple occasions he has shared his expertise on the  technology trends , and he was a key contributor to the SIA Technology Forecast prepared exclusively for ISMA members. Van Till has presented at SIA’s signature executive event, Securing New Ground, in addition to ISC West and ISC East and has provided context to the 2016 release of the SIA Megatrends report, which was well received by members and end users.

“I’m always eager to to promote interoperability and to forge connections because I love my job and I love the security industry. Receiving the Hauhn Award for doing what I love is a true honor,” said Van Till. “Standards are only effective if everyone adopts them consistently, and I look forward to continuing to press the case for sensible solutions to real-world problems. Thanks to the Security Industry Association and my peers for continuing to give me a platform to do so.”

“When I think of effective communicators among security industry leaders, one of the first people I think of is Steve Van Till,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “His boundless energy and enthusiasm, coupled with a deep expertise in the security industry and more specifically access control has served the industry well as he has forged partnerships around the world. The Security Industry Association looks forward to benefiting from his wisdom for many years to come.”

Steve Van Till is president and CEO of Brivo, a SaaS company offering physical access control, video surveillance, and mobile credentials for commercial buildings. Van Till was a pioneer in bringing cloud technology, starting with his vision and delivery of cloud access control in 2002. Van Till has served on the SIA Board of Directors since 2008, and has been the Chairman of SIA Standards Committee since 2011, focusing on security technology issues. Prior to Brivo, Steve was Director of Internet Consulting at Sapient, a software development and interactive firm, where he led strategy and technology engagements for Fortune 500 deployments. Van Till is the inventor of numerous patents in the field of physical security and the author of the “Five Technological Forces Disrupting Security,” which is likely why he was named as “the top 25 most influential people in the security industry” by Security Magazine.

The Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award is named in honor of Jay Hauhn. As previous SIA Chairman of the Board, Hauhn demonstrated a steadfast commitment to fostering collaboration among industry trade associations and advancing the interests of their collective memberships and the entire security industry.

The Hauhn Award is presented each year to an individual with a SIA member company who has taken specific action(s) to foster collaboration between SIA and industry/practitioner organizations consistent with SIA’s overall strategic priorities. The award will recognize individual contributions to increasing SIA member value through partnerships. These actions could include activities that lead to the pursuit of common public policy priorities, active involvement in the development of SIA Standards proposals, leveraging SIA Education expertise at partner organization education conferences and jointly-branded online education, and SIA membership growth.


TMA Releases New Operator Training Course, Sets a New Standard for Monitoring Center Operator Training

level1bannerMonitoring center operators are the critical link between alarm notifications and first responder dispatch. Their performance level is crucial to positive outcomes. Today, The Monitoring Association releases its all-new training course for monitoring center operators, created to address the challenges of 21st century monitoring.

“We are pleased and proud to launch our new ‘Level 1’ training course,” said TMA President Ivan Spector. “Education has long been one of TMA’s key values to our members and to the industry at large. It’s written into our mission, to advance the professional monitoring industry through education, advocacy and public safety relationships. This new course has been created by TMA volunteers and staff with vast experience in the industry and in training, and it has been reviewed extensively by our industry vetting partners. We expect it to quickly be recognized as the gold standard in monitoring center operator training.”

The new course is a manageable introduction to the industry through an absorbing, inspiring e-learning experience. It features current best practices for online learning including:

  • Micro-learning
  • Narration
  • Audio and visual examples for those with differing learning styles

Modules reflect the most current technology capabilities and customer service practices in today’s most effective monitoring centers. The modules are:

  • Module 1 – Introduction to the Monitoring Industry
  • Module 2 – Technology
  • Module 3 – Effective Communication
  • Module 4 – The Monitoring Process
  • Module 5 – False Alarm Prevention
  • Module 6 – Industry Readiness and Monitoring Center Security
  • Module 7 – Monitoring Center Operator Code of Excellence

“The new Level 1 course is an excellent overview of, and introduction to, the industry,” said Jay Hauhn, TMA Executive Director. “The monitoring center operator is an integral part of the alarm monitoring process that keeps people and property safe. Our course is the foundation that operators need to successfully become part of that process.”

“The new Level 1 Training course that has been developed by TMA and industry volunteers is a ‘game changer’ in the central station training world,” said John Brady, president of TMA-member TRG Associates and chair of the TMA Education Committee. “As trainers strive to continue to improve the level of professionalism, accurate response, and customer care within each member of their team, this interactive, online training course will significantly improve a monitoring center’s operator training onboarding process and elevate the training experience for its whole team.”

“TMA sincerely thanks the volunteers who donated countless hours to envisioning and creating the new course,” continued Hauhn. “In particular, we thank Kate Brickner, Corporate Trainer, Training and Development, Vivint; Mary Jo Lakhal, formerly Security Industry Senior Program Manager, West Safety Services; Laurie Mitchell, National Director CMS Services, Siemens Industry, Inc.; and Caryn Morgan, Curriculum Designer, Manitou Elite Certification Mentor, Bold Technologies. Their expertise, dedication, and desire to improve and give back to their industry was inspiring and is exactly the kind of volunteer engagement that strengthens an association.”

The state of Oregon has already accredited the new course for state licensing. Other state accreditation efforts are in progress and will soon follow. The course will be available in French and Spanish next year.

The new Level 1 course will be available at 8:00 AM Eastern Time on November 10, 2017 at The existing pricing for member companies will stay the same through January 19, 2018. Users who have the legacy “Level 1” training in their transcript may upgrade to the new course version at no cost as long as the final exam has not been taken. Contact technical support at or 502-254-1506 (8am-8pm ET Monday through Friday) to receive this upgrade. General questions about the course should be directed to


New TMA President Ivan Spector Kicks Off Term at CANASA Event

TMA’s new president Ivan Spector began his term at the close to the 2017 TMA Annual Meeting on October 11. His first public address as president was the following week at the CANASA Monitoring Symposium — appropriately enough, as he is TMA’s first Canadian president.

Ivan Spector at CANASA October 2017

TMA President Ivan Spector speaks at the CANASA Monitoring Symposium. Photo courtesy of SP&T News.

The CANASA event focused on how the industry is reacting to the issues of self-monitoring and cybersecurity and the growing influence of companies like Amazon and Google on the home automation market.

Spector addressed the participants on topics including disrupters, 3rd party stations, and threats and new entrants.

Read the SP&T News report and view event photos. 


Hamilton County/Chattanooga is 1st PSAP in Tennessee to Implement ASAP

ASAP-Concept1DOn November 1, Hamilton County / Chattanooga, TN became the 30th 9-1-1 PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) in the United States and the 1st in Tennessee to implement the ASAP-to-PSAP service (ASAP®). Tennessee is the 11th state plus the District of Columbia now open for ASAP traffic.

ASAP, launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership, is designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of calls for service from alarm companies to PSAPs. The ASAP service utilizes ANSI standard protocols developed cooperatively by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and The Monitoring Association (TMA).

“Implementation of the ASAP-to-PSAP [service] will help eliminate the potential for clerical errors, cut call volume to the 9-1-1 Center, and most importantly, reduces 9-1-1 call-processing times by as much as 2-3 minutes. This will help save lives, protect property, provide faster response times to in-progress events, and potentially help apprehend more criminals,” Hamilton County officials said.

Nashville-based ADS Security was the first alarm monitoring company to go live with Hamilton County. “The district is very appreciative of ADS Security’s support and work in helping us bring this new technology to our citizens,” said John Stuermer, executive director for Hamilton County Emergency Communications District.  “ADS demonstrated great leadership and commitment to providing the highest level of alarm service response to their customers.

Additional alarm companies quickly followed ADS. Vector Security and Rapid Response went live with Hamilton on November 2, and Vivint, Protection One, Monitronics, Guardian Protection, and Affiliated are scheduled to go live in the upcoming days, followed by ADT.

Read Hamilton County’s announcement

More information on ASAP