One of our favorite things to do here at Simplx Security is to spotlight our hard-working, dedicated employees. This month we’re featuring our Central Station Operator Pam Groves. Check out our interview with her to see what it’s really like working behind the scenes in the alarm monitoring department at Simplx Security.
Pam’s story and how she came to work with Simplx Security.
Simplx: Pammy! We’re so happy you’ve agreed to be our next employee feature. To say you’re experienced in the alarm industry is an understatement. Can you share with us how (and when) it all started for you and your history of becoming an essential part of the Simplx family?
Pam: Well, it started because I needed a job, haha! I’d been working at the Elegant Farmer bar, and a couple of my regulars, Steve & Diane Koch, were the owners of an alarm company called Certified Alarm. They were looking to hire a Central Station Operator, and I needed a change. I came on board in 1996 and worked for them for many years, being promoted to manager and training new hires throughout my time with them. They’d both passed by the end of 2016.
When Nate & Tara welcomed Certified under the wing of Simplx Security in 2017, they offered to keep any of the Certified crew who wanted to continue on in the alarm business. Whether they liked me or just needed me because I knew how to do everything I can’t say (haha). But, seven years later here I’m still plugging away.
Things have changed (procedures, back-end paperwork, etc.), but Simplx has been good to us Certified folks and has a heart for people that big alarm companies lack. The bottom line is it’s all about human interaction and protecting people; helping them be and feel safe.
Organized chaos: Receiving and maintaining daily alarm signals at Simplx Security.
Simplx: You have such a great history in the industry with a million tales you could probably tell (or not tell 🤫). One thing many people probably don’t realize is the responsibility it takes to maintain order and resolve all kinds of things that may come up throughout the day. What people skills have you found to be the most effective in handling tough conversations and what is your method for keeping calm under high-pressure situations?
Pam: I cuss. Haha, just kidding (not really)! Oh boy, how do I answer this? I’ve found the best way to handle most situations is to shut up and listen. I let them talk until they get the energy out. A lot of times people just want to be heard. Alarms are scary, especially for people who don’t understand them, and fear is often the force behind their frustration or not being able to focus on what you’re saying.
I do everything I can to resolve any issue, but oftentimes, you just have to leave it in the hands of the departments who are trained to help them. Usually just speaking to a real human rather than a computer is enough to calm folks down enough and to get somewhere with them. Technology will never replace human empathy.
As far as keeping calm goes, colorful expletives have been my loyal companions for as long as I can remember. When it’s all said and done, sometimes you just have to let ‘em fly, haha!
“The best part of this job really is the people. You never know what each day will bring and having a solid team at your back can make or break each situation.”
Pam’s advice on working in the security industry.
Simplx: At one point or another, we’ve all come to you for help, Pam. A smorgasbord of situations is inevitable in the alarm industry. Life experience is so valuable when it comes to knowing your limitations and strengths. Can you share some sage wisdom for those interested in working on the front lines in the alarm industry, and maybe give us a few ways to tell if one is cut out for this kind of work?
Pam: Well, honestly the best advice I can give is twofold.
One: Pull up your big-girl britches and deal with the difficult situations. Sometimes you just gotta have tough skin.
Two: You better have a genuine desire to help people or you won’t last. It’s all about keeping our people safe, and if you don’t possess some kind of drive or compassion for your fellow humans, you’ll fizzle out and quit.
The Simplx Security employees who stick it out for the long haul are the ones who really care about what happens to our customers. Every day they want to know how they can improve themselves to do better and learn more. They care about doing their jobs correctly, and providing the best service possible to protect the individuals and businesses who are counting on them.
I’d have to say the best thing about working at Simplx has been the people I work with. Also the fact that you never know what each day will bring; it makes coming to work an adventure. There’s always something new to tackle.
The future of security work and how it’ll never replace humanity.
Simplx: I’m sure you’ve seen many changes in the security industry over the years. How would you compare today’s security to that of the past, and where do you see Simplx Security and its customers headed in the future?
Pam: Well, I can tell you for sure that no computer will ever take the place of talking to another human being. Nor will it ever give the same peace of mind as knowing you have someone (a human) ready at a moment’s notice to take the proper action should something go wrong.
I’ve seen all kinds of advancements in tech and changes in the way the world uses security. I remember working with a PTS unit. When an alarm came through in those days–from a landline–it spewed out a ticker-tape with info on it. I’d read the tape codes to determine what type of alarm it was and whether or not dispatch was needed; just like the old TV shows!
Fast forward decades later and yes, things are faster and more efficient now, but it’s still humans on the other end operating these devices.
No matter how advanced AI gets, it will never be able to empathize with natural human emotions. It can’t. People need PEOPLE. They need human interaction to make them feel safe. No robot can calm down a scared elderly lady or work with a frazzled teenager to disarm a false alarm. This is a service industry, and it’s not something you can program. Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned hard work.
Technology will always advance, but until solar flares knock out all this “progress” we’ve made, and we have to go back to protecting ourselves with a 38 pistol and a dog, we’ll keep on keeping on. Until then just hang on and enjoy the ride!
What makes Simplx stand out: its heart. We’re human and our humanity comes through. We’re here to keep people safe, but also to help them FEEL safe.
What our owners have to say about Pam:
We’re so proud to shine a light on our beloved Pam! She is an absolute gem, and truly one of a kind! When she entered the Simplx world (after serving 21 years at Certified Alarm), we’d never met someone with more wisdom. During the early days of merging Certified with Simplx, we sat with her in Central Station trying to grasp her vast knowledge and learn the functions of her monitoring routines.
Years later, it’s amazing to look back on how such an incredible human being like Pam has so impacted our own family’s life journey by helping us to see the value of who people are (rather than just who we’d like them to be). She’s imparted so much wisdom from her own life experience by living up to her worldview of all-inclusive love, friendship and humanity.
Alarm industry experience is extremely valuable to us, but so is the flexibility to go with the flow when it’s time for things to change. Pam has proven how adaptable she is; that she is able to learn, grow, and expand into realms she probably never thought possible in the tech world. Her growth mindset, confidence, and team spirit is inspiring and brings joy and stability to the Simplx Family. We can’t imagine Simplx Security without her!
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