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Press Release

Electronix Systems' radio backups get 911 calls out even when the phone lines are cut.

Electronix Systems' radio backups get 911 calls out even when the phone lines are cut.

In an economy where many are unemployed and full-time positions are at a premium, Fort Salonga resident Fred Leonardo must have a dream job.

Leonardo is the man behind Huntington Station-based alarm company Electronix Systems. Founded 35 years ago out of another company, Electronix is Leonardo's lifes's work and long-time employer for many.

In fact he still has his first, second, and fourth employees on payroll. Now employing 85, Leonardo said he brought out his partner some years back and gave of the company to his employees. When the business does well, they get a boost to their retirement plans.

"Im the nice guy of the industry". he said.

Before Electronix, Leonardo worked for New York Telephone in the 1970s. When a nine month strike hit in 1971, he began installing car, and later house and commercial, alarms for someone in Queens. He went back to work, but started Custom Alarm Systems for side work.

In 1979, on his ninth anniversary to the day at New York Tel, Leonardo turned down a management promotion and went full time with his side work in Queens.

He moved to Huntington Station in 1973 when he married, bringing the business with him. Leonardo changed the business name to Home Electronix. In 1978, he renamed it Electronix Systems.

Early on , the company only installed the systems. With so few customers, less than 50 at one point, they hired an answering service to receive and dispatch calls.

In fact, he chose his original New York Avenue location in part because the answering service with his antenna was nearby. The office,he said, was also close to home and a central point for a company covering from Montauk to Manhattan.

They ditched the answering service after a few years and handled there own monitoring. In 1987, they moved up the road to their current location to meet Underwriters Labatories approval.

What made Electronix stand out was the wireless radio signals for their alarms. The company ditched phone lines for wireless Internet as the primary connection, but GSM radio still remains the backup. Leonardo said he saw burglars cut the phone lines during his time with New York Tel and wanted a way to counter that.

"I had one about two weeks. It still transmitted alarms to central. The guards went out and found there was an attempted break-in." he said, adding that the would-be burglar just ripped down a siren and cut the cable lines.

He estimated that the radio is used in as many as 40 percent of calls.

"That happens quite a bit. The radio saves the day," Leonardo added.

Now boasting nearly 20,000 accounts throughout Long Island, parts of New Jersey and Westchester, Electronix does everything but car alarms.They install and monitor police and fire alarms, closed circuit television systems and car access systems. They can detect high temperatures, low temperatures, sewage and floods.

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, Leonardo said 60 percent of his customers are corporate, especially those adding fire alarms, cameras and card access systems.

"The corporations are looking to protect their employees and keep them safe in their working environment." he said.

Most non-residential buildings being constructed, he added, also require a fire alarm system. Whether it's designing the alarm or installaing the system. Leonardo said that it is the single busiest part of Electronix. That work is limited to Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Most of their residential work also comes from Long Island. The owner said the Town of Huntington is very well represented in his client base.

Home automation- adjusting lights and thermostats throughout a house from one panel- has been a part of Electronix Systems' business for years, But they recently got involved with Z-Wave - a wireless protocol designed for home automation. Wirelessly connected to their $500 alarm control panel, just one touch can cause certain lights to turn off and the air conditioning to turn on. Appliances are plugged into modules or even special outlets, and the shortwave wireless signal bounces from one Z-Wave module to the next until it reacheds its target. Each module or outlet runs $40-$60.

"A lot of people start with one or two, and build on from there," he said.

Sitting in a chair in the conference room of his facility on Friday, Leonardo said he's happy owning his own business and never looked back.

"I just don't want to work for someone. You'll never be rich and you'll never be poor." he added.

The recession hasn't hurt business. In fact, Electronix gained business in 2012.

But despite his ongoing success. Leonardo has no plans of leaving their Huntington Station office.

"I believe in slow and steady growth. I dont like to jump too fast," he said.

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