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Personnel File - June 2009: Security


Gene Loye
CEO, Sentry Watch Inc.

Gene Loye’s company monitors alarm systems. After earning a bachelor’s in business in 1965 from Guilford College, he took a job in sales in the Gate City for Columbus, Ohio-based Pet Milk Co. Three years later, he became a distributor for Diversified Manufacturing and Marketing, a local company that specialized in alarm systems. In 1970, he bought the division that made alarm-system panels — he doesn’t recall what he paid — and created Sentry Watch. It now operates a high-tech call center with 49 employees. In 2008, it grossed $4.1 million, up nearly 14% from the year before. Loye has been an officer for several industry groups, including president of the North Carolina Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. Loye, 66, talked recently about what sparked his company’s growth, industry changes and legislation he is proud of influencing.

“We were asked to install an alarm system at the home of Ty Boyd, a Charlotte TV personality. He had this half-million-dollar home, and we were putting in a $12,000 system. We sold it on the condition that all the wiring would go inside the wall, which, at the time [the late ’60s], was practically unheard of. We came up with a drilling device that allowed us to go into the wall to install the wiring. That drill took off, and we were able to market it successfully.”

“Once the computer age took hold in the ’80s, it increased the capability and dependability of systems. It would have been hard to imagine before that the sheer impact they would have.”

“North Carolina was one of the first states to have an association for burglar- and fire-alarm businesses, and we were able to make some groundbreaking changes. Perhaps the most instrumental piece I worked on was requiring background checks on employees to help keep out the criminal element.”