Best Defense is owned and led by Carter Rierson, a 25 year industry veteran. More or less born into the industry, Carter already had three year’s experience under his belt when he started Best Defense in 1994 at the young age of 23. Since then the business has grown from a startup in the garage of his rented duplex to three offices in Wisconsin, several thousand customers, and millions of dollars per year in sales.
Best Defense has won numerous awards and recognitions throughout the years since 1994 including Honeywell Farenhyt’s Dealer of the Year in 2014, and was awarded with a place on Inc. Magazines list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for 2015, placing #2220 on the Inc. 5000 list., making Best Defense the 20th fastest growing privately owned company in Wisconsin! This is an award bound to be repeated in 2016!
Carter is certified as a NICET Level IV fire alarm specialist and is one of only three fire alarm / sprinkler specialists in the State of Wisconsin to hold NFPA’s Certified Fire Protection Specialists (CFPS) certification. The CFPS credential is internationally recognized as a mark of achievement within the fire protection field. As a NICET IV certified fire alarm engineering technician (SET), Carter works closely with Best Defense’s design team and alarm installation manager to insure compliant and informative alarm designs and submittals. Carter also serves on the Honeywell Fire Protection Farenhyt / Gamewell-FCI distributor advisory board, providing input on market and product trends.
As part of Carter’s commitment to the ongoing improvement to life safety he currently serves on the NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000 Technical Committee for Board and Care Facilities (Assisted Living), assisting in developing new life safety codes for assisted living facilities on a national level.
Carter contributes his personal growth to ongoing training. Researching and utilizing codes and standards such as IBC, IEBC, NFPA 72, NEC 70, NFPA 13, and NFPA 25, Carter utilizes his experience in consulting not only with customers, but also with Architects, Engineers, and code enforcement officials. He has taught several seminars on fire codes and also sponsored training for Best Defense employees and fire code officials throughout the state. He has also been interviewed several times for life safety trade magazines and has contributed as an author for articles. Carter is an avid reader, continually expanding knowledge to assist in the growth of Best Defense. He also makes and hosts several trips per year with other alarm and sprinkler contractors in other parts of the country to share ideas on quality, growth, and sales.
To Grow Best Defense at the rate worthy of Inc. 5000 recognition, Carter has grown Best Defense through the recruitment and training of other industry professionals with levels of expertise outside of his including three managers with 10 to 30 year’s experience in the industry.
Tom Schroeckenthaler was recruited in 2012 and is Best Defense’s Sprinkler General Manager. Tom has roughly 30 years’ experience in the sprinkler industry and is responsible for the installation and service aspects of Best Defense Fire Protection. During Tom’s career within the industry key projects he project managed include Monona Terrace Convention Center, Kalahari Water Park, and countless others. With the hiring of Tom, Best Defense grew from being an alarm company to a full service lift safety provider with the addition of sprinkler system installation. Under Tom’s leadership, Best Defense Fire Protection has grown from nothing to several million dollars in sales per year in just over three years! The business is growing incrementally through repeat business as customers experience the Best Defense commitment to quality at a value. Tom continues to build the sprinkler division through recruitment of licensed sprinkler fitters and the growth of new fitters through the Best Defense Associated Builders and Contractors apprenticeship program.
Tim Miese was named Alarm General Manager in June of 2015, bringing roughly 13 years experience along with a NICET Level III Fire Alarm, NICET Level I Special Hazards, and NICET Level I Audio Systems certifications. With Tim’s experience, certifications, and training, he leads the alarm installation team. Tim’s role includes training new technicians on installation techniques, product knowledge, codes, and Best Defense standards for installation. Tim is responsible for building the alarm installation team to expand our traditional security offerings to new levels while also providing turn-key fire alarm solutions for our Electrical Contractor customers. Tim also leads a team of two fire alarm designers in the Waunakee office and supervises the fire alarm design / submittal process. Under Tim’s leadership much detail has been added to the Best Defense submittals, making them some of the best in the industry. As part of his role as Alarm General Manager Tim also manages the Fire Alarm Parts and Smarts Installation process with two dedicated parts and smarts technicians as well as others cross-trained in the process.
Russ Stern is Sprinkler Sales / Design Manager at Best Defense. Russ has over 20 years industry experience and also holds a CFPS Certification. Russ holds a NICET IV Certification in Water Based (Sprinkler) Design, as well as a NICET III certification for NFPA 25 Inspection and Testing of Water Based Systems (Sprinkler). Russ is a license holder for sprinkler and / or fire suppression in roughly a dozen states across the country. As Sales Manager, Russ lends his experience to his sales team in properly designing and pricing sprinkler systems to be both compliant and affordable. With sales focus on building the customer relationships and building a group of repeat clients through value added pricing. As Design Manager, Russ manages a team of multiple designers; with at least one in each of the three offices. By spreading the design department between the three offices we are able to react to changes and provide efficient designs throughout the entire state.
Best Defense also employs a dedicated team which includes a Milwaukee Alarm Branch Manager, Alarm Service Manager, and Accounting / Office Manager. Each of these managers lead an effective and professional team which is quickly growing both in size and knowledge.
With such a comprehensive and well rounded team of professionals, Best Defense has the BEST comprehensive solution to your life safety concerns.
Just the right size to fit your needs! We’re not too small to perform on HUGE projects, but we’re small enough to offer you personalized and professional service. We listen to your needs, consult on the codes, discuss options, and provide YOU with the best option for your needs! With three local offices (two of which we own) we’re in your market, able to offer local prompt service. With dozens of remote employees throughout the state, we’re in your town, we know you, your concerns, your fire marshal, and what it will take to make your project successful.
You count on your life safety company to protect you and yours! That means a lot. It may mean you need your home protected while your gone, but it may mean you want your family safe while you travel, or your pet safe from fire when nobody is home. It may mean your business depends on effective security and fire protection to remain open and viable. Whatever the reason for your needing protection, it’s important that you choose a company that takes your protection as seriously as you do. In our industry the worst case scenario isn’t liability, it’s loss of life or property. It’s important that the company you choose has the experience, training, and product to do the job right!
At Best Defense our motto is Do It Right – Or Don’t Do It! This is preached from the top down daily, and reflected in the quality of work in our sales, designs, installations, and service. Within the walls of Best Defense corporate is a Wall of Fame, highlighting some of our great work, but just as importantly, we have a Wall of Shame, outlining examples of where we strive to improve.
Best Defense’s growth is built upon four principals which we call our 4 P’s.
People: Rather than concentrating on growing our business, we concentrate on growing our people. From the top down the focus of the President is on growing managers and the focus of the managers is on growing technicians and employees. If we can help our employees grow, they’ll help us grow! This is an ongoing process at Best Defense in the early stages of growth, but we’ve got an Inc. 5000 Growth award and one hell of a TEAM to attest to it’s effectiveness!
Process: Best Defense concentrates on selling the products that we’re best at. 22 years of experience have taught us that we perform best if we limit our products to what we know, and refine the process with which we deliver that product. With Best Defense you can be sure that if we sell you a product, we have complete confidence in it, and have franchised the methods we use to deliver the product to you.
Profit: Best Defense does not pursue sales simply for the sake of selling. It seems in today’s market that many companies are all about sales, sales, sales! Though we have great sales volume, we focus on making sales that provide great value to our customer while also providing a reasonable return to Best Defense. Companies that focus solely on sales, find themselves cash-strapped, unable to train, properly staff or even deliver what was promised. Focusing on profit does not mean higher prices, it means focusing on the product, the process, and installing it right the first time. Efficiency and quality drive profit which benefits both the company and the end user mutually.
Passion: I LOVE MY JOB! Everything we’ve said above sounds great – right? How do we implement it for you? We do so with employees who love what they do. They have a passion for the product, installing it, designing it, selling it, and servicing it. They LOVE to see it work. We’ve got a great team that works well together and is continually growing. We offer great benefits and work closely with our team to create opportunities for them both to grow, have flexibility in their schedule, and have fun while working.