Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Burgarello Alarm and the duties of your position.
John Munsterman: Burgarello is a locally owned company that’s been around since 1972. Louie Burgarello owns it and started it, and it’s one of the only local alarm companies with its own central station. I started off as a fire tester but I had prior experience with another alarm company in Sacramento. I grew up doing computers so I morphed into being the IT manager here. I am the IT manager and sales manager, and I am in charge of the customer service manager, service and install managers — I pretty much oversee much of the day-to-day operations of all the departments except for dispatch and accounting.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Munsterman: I had a friend that worked for a company down in Sacramento, and we were both in the military together. He got a job first, and by chance a job opened and I got hired on.
NNBW: You mentioned your love for computers. How has IT changed the alarm business?
Munsterman: It’s changing quite a bit, but it’s changing just recently. A lot of the Internet functions coming along with alarms now are something we should have had a long time ago. They really make having an alarm a lot more convenient. The apps that go with your smartphone, the video systems that can be viewed on your phone, all of that plays a big part in today’s industry. The alarm technology is starting to catch up to the IT technology.
NNBW: How do you keep up with new trends in the industry, and how do you educate yourself to provide those newer services to your customers?
Munsterman: Manufacturer reps do a lot of the training for us. They bring in new stuff, and we evaluate it and give it a run-through to see if its something our customers would benefit from and implement it if it is.
NNBW: What’s your favorite piece if new technology in the alarm industry?
Munsterman: It’s pretty much smartphone apps for your security system. You can adjust your temperature, turn on and off your alarm and lights, look at your video cameras, open and close your front door locks, power your garage door opener — all those things can be controlled by your smartphone. You can see when your kids go home because the alarm sends you messages that it was disarmed. You can view when someone rings the front door or leaves a package — there are a lot of things that are incorporated into the newer technologies.
NNBW: What’s the one thing you have learned over the course of your career that helps you be successful in the role you play at Burgarello?
Munsterman: Customer service — everyone is equally important. You have to treat every customer as though they are your greatest customer. It can really make or break a business — especially in a town like this, that is so small that everybody knows everybody. If you mistreat one person, you are pretty much mistreating everybody they know. Customer service is the biggest aspect of this business.
NNBW: How does Burgarello compete or position itself against some of the alarm companies in the market that have a national presence, larger marketing budgets and deeper pockets?
Munsterman: We fight hard for our customers and believe that if we treat them right they will stay with us or if they leave they’ll come back. If the customer feels like they were treated great they will stay with you.
NNBW: What do you like most about your work?
Munsterman: Fixing things, whether it’s an internal company issue or a customer issue. I like the satisfaction making someone else happy by fixing whatever issue they might have.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Munsterman: I worked for a fast-food restaurant in Sacramento.
NNBW: If you could do anything, what would be your dream job, and why aren’t you working it?
Munsterman: Imagineer at Walt Disney World. I have thought about it but that ship sailed a while ago. I would like to create and build, and I enjoy technology and electronics.
NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work?
Munsterman: Going to events, boating, skiing, my kids sporting events.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Munsterman: The same things as everybody — a policeman.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Munsterman: I would so I could spend more time with my kids. But I enjoy working as well.
NNBW: What’s the last sporting event you attended?
Munsterman: A Raiders game.
NNBW: What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Munsterman: Going to someplace where I can escape reality, somewhere where it’s not the day-to-day grind and I don’t have to worry about a cell phone or getting up.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Munsterman: I chose it here by chance. I grew up in Sacramento, and Reno wasn’t necessarily my first choice. I had family here so I moved up here to get a change of pace and happened upon this company. I like living here because it’s a smaller community, so raising a family is much easier. They say, “It takes a village to raise a kid” and we pretty much know the whole village. It’s hard for your kids to get into trouble when you know everybody. My wife knows everyone at my kids’ schools, we are part of the Safe And Sober programs and my wife is part of JA so we have extensive networking. Raising a family in a small town is much easier than in a large town because you can keep an eye on them, and that pays off.