Introducing the SSI Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2020

For security pros there’s no greater recognition than earning passage into the SSI Industry Hall of Fame. Here are 2020’s inductees.

Introducing the SSI Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Rod Garner | Deceased (2018), President and CEO, Mountain Alarm

Bio

  • Born in 1948 in Ogden, Utah
  • One of three siblings, father was a general contractor, mother a secretary
  • Married to wife Mary Ann for 47 years; had five children and 22 grandchildren
  • Oldest son, Josh, runs AvantGuard Monitoring; youngest son, Eric, runs Mountain Alarm
  • Earned undergraduate degree in accounting from Weber State University
  • Served six months in the Army Reserves, followed by a two-and-a-half-year mission for Copenhagen’s LDS Church
  • If career had taken different path might have wound up in the oil & gas industry
  • Other interests included travel, fly fishing, skiing and his favorite place was Utah’s Bear Lake

Why He’s on the List

  • For 45 years, stood as a pillar of honor, integrity, goodwill and business acumen among the security industry, his peers, family and friends, and the communities his company served
  • In 1973, began working with father-in-law at Mountain Alarm; later, as president and CEO, grew the small family business into America’s 28th-largest security company with 275+ employees
  • A passionate and driven leader, he continued to lead the company until his passing, saying he had no intention to retire
  • An active M&A dealmaker, he presided over more than 30 company acquisitions
  • At the time of his passing, Mountain Alarm had 43,000+ customers with 11 locations across six states
  • A progressive thinker, in 2010 founded the DIY brand Link Interactive, which was picked up by Costco.com in 2013
  • Also in 2010, took a gamble and started a fire alarm division in Phoenix that has grown into Mountain’s largest branch

Keys to Success

“I remember my dad telling me a Denver Burglar Alarm story. Mountain Alarm at the time had only $20,000 of RMR and he learned Denver Burglar Alarm had over $500,000. So he said to himself, ‘If I could get to $500,000 in RMR Mountain Alarm would be a force to be reckoned with in the industry.’ He achieved that and then some. His greatest challenge was being GE Capital’s last alarm credit. He fought hard to keep his company afloat and growing as GE Capital tightened their grip around the company. Ultimately, he survived that experience with the help of SPP Advisors Peter Flynn and Mark Sandler. Today, we are a much better company for surviving those dark days with GE Capital.” — Eric Garner, Son

Integrity That Inspired

“Rod’s integrity was impeccable. After I had been at Mountain Alarm about three years, we were going to be short for our payroll of about 15 employees. A contractor accidentally double paid an invoice for $44,000, which would cover payroll and then some. The lady in charge of payroll suggested we deposit the check then pay the contractor back at a later date. But Rod said, ‘No, they don’t owe it to us. Send the check back and we will figure out how to make payroll another way.’ The temptation to deposit that check had to be incredibly strong. Not for Rod. I have never forgotten that lesson and many others over my years working with him. I never felt like I worked for him, I always felt like I got to work with him.” — Scott Sessions, Senior Vice President, Mountain Alarm

Making Customers Kings

Almost daily, Garner called customers to make sure they were happy and satisfied. It was also not unusual for him to visit homes with competitors’ yard signs visible. He would introduce himself and inquire why they chose someone other than Mountain Alarm. He would give the homeowner his card and tell them if they ever needed anything to call him personally. It tended to awe people that the CEO would stop and knock on their door. The day before Garner passed, his doctor called to check on him. Afterwards, he said, “Dr. Hanson really loves his patients, just like I really love my customers.”

Memories of Modesty & Humility

“When you go out to lunch with the company president and CEO, you would think it would be somewhere fancy. I remember one day Rod asked myself and [Mountain Alarm Senior Vice President] Scott Sessions to go to lunch. Rod pulled up to Costco, where we had a hotdog and soft drink. It was one of the best lunches ever! He taught me a big lesson; it is not where you are, but who you are with. Another thing that leaps out at me was Rod’s genuine desire for ‘his’ employees to succeed. He was never threatened by anyone from his team potentially making more money than him; in fact he would cheer us on. He was extremely generous, and rewarded loyalty.” — Boyd Ferrin, Mountain Alarm General Manager

Continue to the next page for a profile of Merlin Guilbeau…

About the Author

Contact:

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is 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), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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