Guest Post: Honoring an Innovator: Maurice Coleman

Ralph Sevinor by Ralph Sevinor | 08.15.2013

Ralph W. Sevinor is the founder and President of Wayne Alarm Systems, Inc. in Lynn, MA.

Recently I had the honor of attending a visit of the family of Maurice Coleman, the founder of ADEMCO (Alarm Device Manufacturing Corp.) at the Honeywell Security headquarters.  One of Mr. Coleman’s children lives outside the US and was planning a visit to New York.  Mrs. Levitz’s (Mr. Coleman’s daughter) and her family wanted to see where ADEMCO and its successor Honeywell is today.

Knowing Mr. Coleman when I was in my 20s, I had a certain reverence for the person that individually helped mold the alarm industry. However, I had little opportunity to associate with him. Entering into this “family visit,” I didn’t know what to expect, however I was excited to learn more. 

I was able to connect some of the missing links I had, but more importantly I had the pleasure of hearing from the family of Maurice Coleman and many current Honeywell employees who had worked for him in helping to build the company. It was enlightening for me to learn of the personal side of Mr. Coleman and his family.  The side of genuine caring for his employees, for the sincere interest in helping his customers become successful and the end product of providing peace of mind and safety for the general public.

If  YouTube is blocked, you can view the video here.  

It was exciting to actually hear the stories, understand the challenges and the reasons why.  To put a human face and understand the passion every day was amazing.  Further to have a snapshot and understand how the decisions and directions taken were invaluable.   It provided clarity that I think few can understand given the limited information. Please watch the video above to hear from Mrs. Levitz and other members of her family as they toured the ADEMCO museum.  

If one really tracks the history, we would find Mr. Coleman was not just a “builder of alarm products” – he was much, much more. He was a real pioneer in our industry charting an uncharted course and I believe everyone in our industry is in a more positive position because of his lifelong contributions. Only during this visit did I fully comprehend that Mr. Coleman was a true pioneer and builder. He didn’t just make a widget, a component, a part, a contact, a control or a bell. He wasn’t just a component builder or innovator. He developed a complete line of related products, a family of products if you like, distributed them and even established training programs both in house and field.

Not long ago, a company that provided security services had to purchase products from scores of vendors and sometimes had to make them in house- untested and unproven. This mode of operation carried on well into the ’90s. In thinking about it, I equate it to someone like a Henry Ford who invented the modern automotive assembly line. Ford had the capability of producing cars, but at the time there were no usable roads, no distribution of gasoline, no distribution facility, no marketing or repair depot. The car can only go so far without the “family” of products and services.

Pictured from left to right: Ron Rothman, Honeywell Security; Ralph Sevinor, Wayne Alarm Systems; John Kovach, Honeywell Security; Steve Levitz, Maurice’s grandson; Sokea Khan, Wayne Alarm Systems; Yisrael Levitz, Maurice’s son-in-law; Myra Levitz, Maurice’s daughter; Charlie Darsh, Industry Consultant.

Unwavering Commitment to Quality
Maurice Coleman helped to create these families of products and services through continuous improvement and was an innovator in the training of them. He helped make thousands of success stories for his employees and customers and without his efforts a significant general population would not have the safety and security they currently enjoy.

The foundation and values Mr. Coleman lived by in founding and growing ADEMCO hold true today at Honeywell Security. ADEMCO and subsequent to that, Honeywell was also fortunate to have had leaders after Mr. Coleman, who embraced these fundamental core values and built substantially on them.

I would personally challenge anyone in my statement that no company in the electronic detection and safety and security arena has the focus, experience, longevity, commitment and passion that Honeywell now has. In great part, this is from Mr. Coleman’s contributions. To the Coleman/Levitz families – thank you for sharing.