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Pam Petrow

SSI Hall of Fame: 2012

By ·

Current Status

President and CEO, Vector Security

Keys to Success

“My parents never told me I couldn’t do something, and my husband has always been supportive of me. Also the board and leaders at Vector Security have provided me with the ability to learn, grow and experience new opportunities. The fact that I have held several positions at Vector Security gave me the opportunity to establish credibility as I moved from one post to another. I did that by understanding the job and understanding the perspective of the employees who do the job. At Vector Security, we recognize that technology is changing the industry and we are positioned to capitalize on the change. We bring in talent that allows us to be more competitive and proactive, addressing not only opportunities today, but also in the future.”

Succeeding an Icon

“Coming into the position of president and CEO of Vector Security, I wanted to respect Mr. [John, also an SSI Hall of Famer] Murphy’s legacy. He was exceptional in many ways. He knew how to separate critical information from less important information when making decisions. He was a strategic thinker and always saw the big picture ... anticipating next moves and their impact on the industry. I learned from him the importance of communication and how to surround myself with people who complement my skills. And then giving those people the freedom to do what they are good at.”

Participating in Industry Causes

“I’m a believer that ‘you get back what you put in.’ I’ve found value in every committee I’ve been involved in and the extraordinary people I’ve worked with. They’ve made me better professionally, and they’ve given me a different perspective in life personally. Currently, I’m working with CSAA on the “ASAP2PSAP” program. When fully functional, ASAP allows for automated delivery of monitoring information to public safety answering points [PSAPs]. The program benefits emergency response centers, the public and the security industry as a whole. Vector Security was a beta test center for the initiative.”

How Things Have Changed

“My early days in the industry were central station related. We kept customer account information on 3 X 5-inch color-coded index cards that were filed in plastic sleeves kept in a three-ring binder. When we answered alarms, we would have to look up the cards in the binders and sometimes they were not filed correctly. It was a very manual process. I remember having nightmares about not being able to find the right cards. Today, technology has allowed central stations to be more efficient while reducing incidents of error. Even during a natural disaster, like a hurricane, we can monitor 16,000 alarms effectively.”

Serving as a Role Model

“I believe the challenges in this industry are similar for both women and men. I’d like to be a role model for anyone - woman or man - who believes in working hard, turning challenges into opportunities, and continually improving themselves personally and professionally.” 

Why She’s on the List

  • Some 30 years mastering and ascending the ranks to lead Vector Security, one of industry’s most prominent installing security providers
  • In 1997, appointed senior V.P. of central stations and information services group; 2004, executive V.P.; 2008, COO; 2010, president and CEO
  • In 2006, her central station staff’s 12-step false alarm reduction plan earned Vector industry’s first Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award
  • Since 2007, has served as secretary on the Central Station Alarm Association Executive Committee, co-chaired CSAA’s Education Committee, and conducted CSAA’s Operations Management conferences
  • Helped bring CSAA training online to make it more accessible; more than 10,000 operators worldwide have completed the program
  • Represents industry to Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Int’l (APCO) to develop and implement Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) project
  • In 2009, received APCO’s President’s Award for outstanding contributions to electronic transmission of signals between central stations and 911 dispatch centers

The Petrow File

  • Born in Pittsburgh
  • One of four sisters, father was a teacher and grade school principal, mom a homemaker and grocery store manager
  • Married with one son
  • Bachelor’s degree in management & marketing from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., and graduated Harvard Business School’s advanced management program
  • Began electronic security industry career in 1982 as member of Vector Security’s residential sales team
  • If not security, says career would have been in education
  • Reputation at Vector Security as being the “queen” of practical jokes
  • Other interests include cooking and reading


Article Topics
Business Management · Hall of Fame · Industry Awards · Pam Petrow · Security People · Vector Security · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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Hall of Fame, Industry Awards, Pam Petrow, Security People, Vector Security