Brothers Larry B. High, left, and Steve High, co-owners of HighTech Communications Inc., have seen the company grow from an operation that was started 30 years ago working out of the former's pickup truck to an award-winning small business

Telegram photo / Emma Tannenbaum

Brothers Larry B. High, left, and Steve High, co-owners of HighTech Communications Inc., have seen the company grow from an operation that was started 30 years ago working out of the former's pickup truck to an award-winning small business

Firm offers assurance in hard times

By John Henderson
Staff Writer

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More than 30 years ago, Larry High started a business with a ladder out of the back of his pickup truck, installing security systems for local residents.

His business evolved and grew as technology advanced, gaining customers such as the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh under former Gov. Mike Easley’s administration, local schools and a range of businesses.

In 1994, his brother Steve, who had a banking background, joined the business to handle its finances and become vice president.

Dawn High, Larry’s wife, also has joined the company as the office manager.

Today, HighTech Communications employs a staff of eight, and it’s business has been increasing in the down economy as the crime rates have increased, Larry High said.

In October 2011, the business won the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Month award.

HighTech emphasizes personal service, Larry High said, including customized design of security packages and their installation. The business has thousands of residential, commercial, industrial and farm accounts across Eastern North Carolina. In addition to burglary and fire alarms, HighTech also works with access-control and closed-circuit television systems.

In 1990, the business opened on Winstead Avenue. In 2002, it moved to 142 Roundabout Court.

Q: What products or services do you provide?

A: Larry High: We provide burglar alarm systems, fire alarm systems, closed circuit TV systems, which have cameras. We offer access-controlled systems, medical response systems, intercom systems. I started the business 36 years ago. I was working for another (security company).

Dawn High: We design and install security systems. We offer security cameras for businesses and homes, closed access, push-button entry for securing doors at schools and businesses, intercom systems, and we also monitor security that we install. We install medical alarms.

We do interactive service where you can control your system remotely. You can arm or disarm it, remotely check your systems when you are not at home. Say you are out of town and you are not sure if you have armed the system. If you have an interactive service, you can go on your cell phone or laptop and see if everything is secure. You can arm your system by your cellphone, Internet, iPad, through whatever Internet service you have.

Q: Who are your key leaders?

A: President Larry High, Vice President Steve High, office manager Dawn High.

Q: How many people do you employ?

A: Eight full-time employees.

Q: What is your business philosophy?

A: Larry High: Our business philosophy is to make a little bit of money off a whole lot of folks instead of trying to make a whole bunch off a couple.

Dawn High: Our slogan is “We listen.” We try to meet customers’ security needs based on their needs and not just offer the cookie-cutter package. We don’t try to sell them something they don’t need. We try to fit the security around what they do need.

Q: What makes your business unique?

A: Larry High: Something ... that makes us unique is we are a totally hard-wired company. We use very, very little wireless. It’s a good thing. You never have to worry about batteries getting weak on doors or losing programs, false alarms. Everything is hard-wired.

Another thing that makes us unique is we work under our own North Carolina electrical license. A lot of alarm companies don’t hold a license. They hold it under someone else.

Dawn High: We’re a locally owned company, so we know a lot of the people. We have 24-hour service. If you call, you will speak to a person each time. There is not a recording we try and give service within 24 hours of a phone call.

Q: How has your business grown last few years?

A: Larry High: Crime is up, and so is business. We don’t really cold call. We don’t have to cold call. Our phone rings constantly. People are scared.

Dawn High: We’re a growing company. Our business has probably doubled over the last few years because of the need. With the down economy and additional crime, more people want security. It’s not something you just automatically used to do in a business. Now everybody because of the economy and crime are considering (having some system installed).

Q: What kind of growth do you expect in the coming years?

A: Dawn High: We’re hoping to at least double our business every year. That is what we’d like to see. But we don’t know what the economy is going to be like in a year. Security is not something that is going away. We’re trying to grow with the industry.