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Mel Mahler

SSI Hall of Fame: 2009

By ·

Current Status

Chairman/CEO/Owner, ADS Security

Why He’s on the List

  • One of most successful and highly respected business leaders in the industry, and has devoted enormous energy and time to industry associations and causes
  • Brought business skills, including increasing revenue from $30M to $350M+ at Ryder Distribution and profits 30 percent at Comdata, into security industry
  • In 1989, with partners Walt Bent and Hugh Van der Veer, founded ADS Security with 2,000 accounts; has grown the business to serve about 70,000 customers
  • ADS Security is a model operation that places a premium on employee and customer satisfaction, and its monitoring center is CSAA Five Diamond Certificated
  • Dedicated industry efforts include president of CSAA from 2001-2003, and currently serving as CSAA’s representative to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) and on board for the Electronic Security Expo (ESX)

Keys to Success

“A keen eye for new opportunities, including strategic acquisitions, entry into new markets and strategic networking with industry leaders. I am committed to recruiting the best people, training them well, providing opportunities for growth and compensating them well. If you treat your employees with respect and provide the means to earn a good living, not only will they work hard for you but they will be very loyal, dedicated and ensure they build a strong company.”

Participating in Trade Associations

“Today, I am active and equally committed to CSAA and NBFAA. Initially, I resisted joining CSAA until 1996 when my friend Charles Caldwell from Birmingham [Ala.] told me I was making a big mistake. He said the networking, business ideas and friendships I would develop would be very significant. He was absolutely right. I am a past-president of CSAA and still serve on the executive committee. I also represent CSAA as a board member of SIAC [Security Industry Alarm Coalition], as well as the representative to the National Sheriffs Association [NSA].”

Most Memorable Moment

“At ADS Security we have learned a lot about our great industry, but perhaps even more about the human spirit. There have been instances where ADS employees have saved lives and property by handling urgent calls routed to our central station. This hit home for Jackie Wornell, director of operations accounting, when her own mother’s life was saved by using a medic alert pendant monitored by ADS.”

Something People Might Not Know

“My goal was to go to law school. I married my high school sweetheart at the end of my junior year in college and my first son, Mike, was on the way one year later. Thus, it was time to go to work and forget about law school.”

Biggest Wish for Industry Change

“Many prospective customers place more importance on their home entertainment system than a life-safety system. We are trying to change this perception through marketing and employee training efforts.”

Reaction to Being Inducted

“Three of the SSI Hall of Fame inductees last year — Bart Didden, Roger Fradin and Richard Ginsburg — are good friends of mine, and I know about their many accomplishments. I find it overwhelming to be included in the same league.”


Article Topics
Business Management · Hall of Fame · Industry Awards · Mel Mahler · Security People · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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Hall of Fame, Industry Awards, Mel Mahler, Security People

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