Navy vet has built home, commercial alarm systems for 15 years
Military helped him hone his work ethic, he says
COTTONWOOD — Adam Thompson started Wired-Up Systems in Cottonwood in 2004.
Thompson’s career in the U.S. Navy ended with his honorable discharge on Sept. 22, 2001 — right after the Sept. 11 attacks that led to a ramp-up in U.S. combat readiness and engagement and a boost in enlistment.
In 15 years in business, Thompson’s Wired-Up Systems has grown and has gone through a merger and the acquisition of other companies, and now has about 15 employees, though it’s had as many as 19.
Thompson and his business partner, Jeff Summers, merged Wired-Up with All-Ways Safe Security of Sedona in 2011, and have acquired several other smaller, similar companies along the way, including Aspen Alarms Systems of Flagstaff in July.
Wired-Up Systems hasn’t had to lay off any former employees in any of its acquisitions, Thompson said.
Three of his current employees served in the military — two in the Marine Corps. Thompson said his work ethic comes from his father — longtime teacher Bill Thompson, who taught at Adam’s alma mater, Mingus Union High School — and his time in the Navy.
“The people who raise us give us most of our values,” Thompson said. “But the military ends up placing higher expectations on people than they would normally place on themselves. You have 19- or 20-year-old people managing people in a way where lives hang in the balance, along with millions (or billions) of dollars in hardware. So you learn a lot of life skills that way.”
Thompson’s company installs and services residential and commercial security, fire-alarm, atmospheric control, entertainment and “smart home” systems across the northern Arizona and Phoenix areas.
Wired-Up systems has about 1,000 accounts in the Verde Valley, mainly in Sedona, along with 1,000 more in greater Flagstaff and about 300 more with one tech in Phoenix whose firm Thompson and Summers purchased.
Thompson said his company is “the largest security company outside of the Phoenix area — not counting national competitors, of course.” He said the company grew because Summers, who is older and somewhat more experienced in security and electronics, have adapted to constantly changing technology — another skill many veterans have developed.
“Think of how much home electronics technology has changed, just in the past 10 years,” Thompson said. “We are now having to send each tech to a full day’s training with a manufacturer, once per quarter.”
In the Navy, Thompson broadened his electronics knowledge by testing, repairing and maintaining electronic warfare and a missile system for the EA-6B Prowler carrier-launched aircraft, as well as that plane’s helmet-mounted night vision system for pilots.
He acquired a private pilot’s license through the Navy Flying Club, and was trained by Navy aviators.
Thompson earned both his bachelor’s degree — completing the degree shortly after his active duty ended — and his master’s in the business of aviation, in 2006, from Embry Riddle University.
He strongly encourages all who are eligible to take advantage of G.I.-Bill education and tuition programs.
“Education is really essential now,” Thompson said. “It’s also key to know that in the military, you have an identity, tied largely to your rank, and, in many cases, your daily job. That’s all gone when you discharge. Being an Ensign, specialist, corporal, general, admiral, whatever — those have no place in the civilian world. You have to forge your own identity.”
Wired-Up Systems is currently hiring. Thompson said veterans are moved to the top of applicant lists; some sort of working information technology knowledge is essential.
Thompson said he’s grateful for the diverse people he’s met, and encourages travel, and, at least for a time, living in more than one environment.
“I’m a third-generation Arizonan, and I had only met people in the Southwest, before I joined the Navy,” he said. “But I met Filipinos and Puerto Ricans and people who’ve known a much different life.”