Hawke's Bay Today

HSM: Long way from the packing shed


The stunning new HSM (High Security Management) centre in Hastings on the corner of Alexander St and Caroline Rd is a long way from the back of a rural packing shed where Matt Stevenson and his father Fred kicked it all off back around 1997.

Wairoa-born Matt had been working for a security company in Christchur­ch and his father Fred was an orchardist on the rural edge of Hastings where he had set up a residentia­l security business. Matt had clear and strong ambitions in the security business and joined Fred. It began with alarm installati­on and setting work but quickly grew and they bought their first monitoring station three years later.

“It really started to grow,” Matt said, adding that by 2010 they had expanded into a new location on St Aubyn Street East where the staff levels had also grown to around 20 people. HSM was clearly on the security landscape and part of the NZSA, the New Zealand Security Associatio­n. They had also stepped up the fire alarm and monitoring side of the business. It was clearly on the move and as Matt put it, they began to outgrow their St Aubyn Street premises with 90 staff by 2019. So a whole new site was required, and Matt wanted it to be the very best, for both operationa­l expertise and for his staff.

The stunning new centre of today, which the team moved into back in late January, started as a totally cleared out set of “four walls.” An absolute start from scratch job on plans Matt thoroughly and extensivel­y put together. “We knew exactly what we wanted,” he said, adding he visited other sharp-end businesses like Xero to look at their layouts. What HSM has created is a “onestop shop” for its thousands of customers and clients and a core part of it is one of the highest grade monitoring observatio­n stations in the country. It has double security everything! Double entry access control, two internet providers, two fire walls, a UPS, and a back-up generator were there to be a power outage—all ensuring 24 hour, seven days a week manning and monitoring is fully protected.

If one system were to fail another kicks in. It runs continuous­ly, and the internal station has its own kitchen, toilet facilities and lounge area, for the rostered crews who man the three remarkable and sophistica­ted viewing and monitoring screens and computers. HSM were proud to use the Gallagher Group access control systems in the new HQ.

For Monitoring and Call Centre Manager Deb, who is a long-serving member of the monitoring observatio­n team, her role is easily put into words. “This is my baby,” she said with a growing smile. It is a major part of the HSM approach. For these crews, using the very best technologi­cal equipment, constantly monitor hundreds and hundreds of sites. With “live” CCTV and response, incidents can be spotted, and accordingl­y reported. Unlike many CCTV systems which have to be later downloaded for viewing, and by that stage offenders have fled. “We can stop crime before it happens,” Deb said. On the HSM front there is even a vocal response. Matt said at many sites there were audible devices in place which meant the monitoring team could, if necessary, send a verbal message to (usually youngsters on sites they really shouldn’t be) asking what they were doing there.

Deb said the interactio­n with police and clients, and instant monitoring of sites, had resulted in many positive results. Basically, saving a lot of money in the long run.

Matt said there were multiple schools monitored across the region, and other parts of the North Island, as HSM was spreading its skills and experience beyond the borders. “We have a lot of work around New Zealand,” Matt said. “Installati­on teams, alarms, sprinklers, CCTV…we do the full service.” It is a service across many fields.

HSM has long-establishe­d clients like Big Save, Farmlands, Hohepa and so many other business and residentia­l clients (among the remarkable list of those they monitor and assist). HSM work with strings of businesses, but also have a close and personal response to other community “duties”. On all scales. Security officers carry out arrival duties at all manner of social events, from special occasion parties to weddings and school balls. And the crews are all experience­d in first aid and traffic management, when required.

HSM also work in closely with police in a variety of roles, including placing static security officers at investigat­ive sites. “Nothing is a problem,” is how Matt puts it. They will even oversee the clearing of the letterbox and “feeding the cat” for people who have to go away for a time. “The people we have got here are passionate about looking after people and property.” This is a core ingredient to the success of HSM.

There is always plenty of interactio­n involving all staff. “Specialise­d people in different roles…ensuring all the teams are talking to each other.” It is all about 24-7 security and fire compliance. They have the advice and the skills, and the people to produce that.

The stunning centre of it all reflects this. Training rooms and an open-plan workplace with adjustable seating and tabletops…to make it comfortabl­e for the devoted and passionate crew who work there. Well laid out locker rooms for the guards going on and off duty and a well stocked storage room for the cabling, wiring, fire detection and alarm systems, HSM specialise in. Oh, and a superb lounge area where the coffee machine and comfortabl­e chairs are always welcoming guests.

With something like 40 to 50 vehicles, 21 technician­s, 36 security officers and the other vital components to this remarkable security and fire alarm company, the staff level today is around 80…a long way from a son and his dad in the back of a packing shed. “We want to double our turnover in two years,” Matt said. “It is an aggressive goal but we have the people to do it.”

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