Mel Mahler

SSI Hall of Fame: 2009

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.”


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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at

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