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Commercial Security Drives Universal Atlantic Expansion

Universal Atlantic Systems relocated its headquarters and central station here in March to a 12,000 square-foot building that will allow for further expansion of its national installation division and third party monitoring

The new facility is more than triple the size of the former location, a two building complex in Upper Darby, Pa., where the company was based for 27 years. Scott Elkins, president of Universal Atlantic Systems, said buying the building and upgrading the telephone system, hardware and software cost more than $1 million.

"Our central station was getting smaller and smaller. The more bodies we put in, the more technology we use," said Elkins. "We decided in order to really serve our needs to grow, our customer's needs and to serve our dealers, we really needed to move into a new, larger facility."

Elkins said Universal has recorded 20 percent growth annually over the last five years after it changed its focus from residential to commercial security and from a regional to a national presence. To further increase its national accounts, Universal beefed up its staff to 50 by hiring 10 new employees for its national sales division, customer service and central station.

Now with a larger central station, Elkins said Universal intends to consider increasing its third party monitoring. "We have decided we will take a hard look into refocusing on that direction," he said.

While Elkins declined to release specific numbers on the company, he said nearly 80 percent of its revenues now come from providing security monitoring for national retail chains. The central station takes up 5,000 square feet of the corporate office, compared to 1,000 square feet in the former facility. Elkins declined to release how many monitoring workstations are now in use, but said they have doubled. In five years, he anticipates adding a second floor to the building to accommodate growth.

In preparation for the move, Universal increased its staff to 50, hiring 10 new employees for its central station, customer service and national division departments. Another 100 contract installers throughout the country also work for the company. "What we are looking for is one stop shopping for our national customers," for alarm installations, monitoring and verification, said Bruce Greenbaum, vice president of Universal. He added the new central station will allow for the introduction of new security products and continued expansion of its video verification services.

"This move gives us the space to grow. It gives us an incredibly beautiful office and it gives us the facility to provide our customers with unmatched service. It sets us up for the next 20 years," said Elkins.