‘Big Apple’ Security Firm Marks 100th Anniversary

NEW YORK – As the story goes, Hyman Glass’ long career in security began at age 16 working as a bouncer in a saloon on New York’s Lower East Side. Before long his no nonsense demeanor and work ethic became sought after by other business owners in the neighborhood and by 1910 the entrepreneurial Glass launched the New York Merchants Protective Co. (NYMPC).

As an uncommon testament to longevity and perseverance, this year marks the Freeport, N.Y.-based company’s 100th anniversary as a provider of installing and monitoring services. And while ownership of NYMPC would eventually change hands, the business continues to be inspired by its roots and Glass’ keen ability to grow the company.

By 1920, NYMPC was installing and servicing burglar alarm systems and operating as a UL- certified central station with four Manhattan locations.

NYMPC also ran one of the largest private detective agencies in New York City. After the 1929 stock market crash, Hyman sold the central station portion of the business to Holmes Protection Co. in exchange for its night patrol operation. Glass’ three sons – Allen, Irwin and Larry – joined the thriving business in the 1950s and would eventually re-establish a monitoring center.

Following the death of the elder Glass in 1957, his wife Sarah would assume directorship of the company. The family soon divested its ancillary operations to concentrate solely on electronic security. They developed and manufactured alarm and test equipment, in time introducing one of the first rechargeable battery power supplies.

The foresight to remain ahead of the technological curve has a lot to do with why NYMPC has prevailed throughout its history, says Ron Petrarca, a 40-year alarm industry veteran and past president of the New York Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA).

“In this industry, it says a lot about a company that has been able to survive through the years with all of the ups and downs in the economy and the changes in technology,” Petrarca says. “I congratulate them. It is an accomplishment that you don’t see often in this industry.”

In 1988, NYMPC would begin to pass the torch to new leadership when it merged with Way-Mar Central Station Alarms, a UL-Listed facility operated by Wayne Wahrsager and Mark Fischer. When the Glass sons retired in 1989, they turned over control of the business to Wahrsager, now CEO, and Fischer, who serves as CTO and executive vice president.

Since taking over the company, Wahrsager and Fischer have placed NYMPC on an upward trajectory through acquisitions and other strategic maneuverings. For instance, in 2008 the company’s NationWide Digital Monitoring division inked a licensing agreement to use Smith & Wesson’s iconic branding on products and other materials for an exclusive dealer program.

Looking back on how the past several decades have propelled so much growth, Fischer is reminiscent. “I worked for NYMPC while I was in college in the 1970s. Back then, a standard control panel consisted of a block of wood, one relay and a desk lock. Today, our control panels have built-in GSM and IP communications.”

No matter all the corporate changes that have led them to become a nationally-recognized security provider, NYMPC’s family-owned and operated tradition carries on. Wahrsager’s sons joined the business in recent years. Aaron Wahrsager serves as director of monitoring operations; Eric Wahrsager as director of marketing and development.

Over time, Wayne Wahrsager says, NYMPC has adapted well to capitalize on industry and technological advances. But even as it has progressed, the human element is what has kept the company successful.

“Our real asset was and is our employees, a group of dedicated professionals that has taken our company from a one-man night patrol on the Lower East Side to one of the largest alarm companies in the U.S.,” Wahrsager says.

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