Trust is a Two-Way Street: This Year’s Weinstock Winner Has Built a Career on Relationships
2020 MORRIS F WEINSTOCK WINNER: Chris Mosley
If Chris Mosley seemed a little distracted as he gave his acceptance speech for the 2021 Weinstock Award, it wasn’t because he wasn’t thrilled and humbled to receive the award. It was because he had a plane to catch. As soon as his speech was over, he sped to the airport and hopped on a redeye to New Jersey, so he could be home in time for the rehearsal dinner for his son Luke’s wedding.
“I’m hoping I said the right thing because I was in a hurry,” Mosley admits, “but I got home and it was a fantastic event at the farm.”
The farm, in Colt’s Neck, New Jersey, is a labor of love for Mosley, who grew up on a cattle farm. Today the Mosleys farm corn, chicken, and cattle and Chris collects and restores antique farm equipment. He is known to invite near total strangers as well as old friends to stay at the farm’s guest cottage.
Mosley’s daughter Lauren reflects, “Having the farm is really the best of both worlds for my dad. He has a great business, and he has the farm he can come home to. Security is obviously a high stress, 24/7 business, and I think the farm is his little piece of heaven.”
Work/life balance is more than just a catch phrase at Complete Security Systems (CSS), the Marlboro, New Jersey electronic, fire, and security company Mosley founded – it’s the foundation on which the company was built. Chris’s wife Lillian serves as the office manager for the company and Chris’s father consulted for CSS for twenty years after he retired. Luke and Lauren, who grew up with CSS as part of their childhoods, now have essential roles at CSS. CSS has built a culture so that all employees, most of whom have been with the company for many years, can put their families first.
“When Chris offered me a job,” says Anthony Ruttler, an account manager who has worked at CSS for sixteen years, “I had just left a large company where I was frustrated by being on the road so often I felt like I was missing my children growing up. Chris said, ‘I’ll get you home every night,’ and he kept that promise.”
Ruttler admires that Mosley prioritizes not only the profitability of the company, but also the company’s obligation to their employees and their employees’ families. “Chris does business with the mindset that CSS has fifty families to feed. That’s someone who’s completely in tune with what he’s doing.”
Mosley’s more than 40-year career has centered on giving back: to his family, to his company, and to the security industry. When he founded CSS, it was “Me, myself, and I, and a toolbox,” he recalls. Today CSS inhabits a 18,000 square foot facility, employs more than 60 people, and has a fleet of over 50 vehicles. CSS manages design and installation of fire alarm systems, intrusion detection, access control, and video surveillance, as well as provide monitoring services. Their IT department, a separate team from the installation techs, has helped keep CSS on top of the technology curve that can make or break a security company. Over the years, CSS has won awards from vendors, the state of New Jersey, and the New Jersey ESA.
George Mosley, an executive at Wells Fargo Alarm Services, was an advocate of joining trade associations and advised Chris to get involved with one to build his career. Early on, Chris joined the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) to get training. The professionalism he witnessed there inspired him to grow CSS through “hard work, perseverance, and aligning myself with the right people.” Trade associations also provided education on financing, HR, legal issues, technology, and other skills he needed for CSS to thrive. He joined NJESA, eventually becoming president and helping attain state licensure for alarm technicians. This raised the bar for the quality of security in the state of New Jersey.
His next move was to get involved with NBFAA at the national level. He became the Chartered State Association representative, then regional vice president. He also served as president of NJESA from 2002 to 2004 and president of ESA from 2018 to 2020; he is currently on the boards of both.
Angela White, previous ESA president and fellow Weinstock winner, commented that, as president, “Chris always brought an interesting perspective as someone who is self-employed and understands what it takes to build a credible company.” She also commends his ability to collaborate and not let his ideas get in the way of what is best for the association and its members.
Both she and Mosley call the pandemic “uncharted territory” for ESA; Mosley expresses gratitude for White and ESA executive director Merlin Guilbeau for being good sounding boards and working cohesively to help the association handle the crisis. “We did it together. I looked forward to those conversations,” he says.
Lauren describes her father as “sincere and someone that people can trust.” One of the things she’s learned from watching him work is how to lead sales efforts with a focus on relationships and honesty. “I truly believe our customers trust us with everything. I think that is a testament to my dad and how he is. I don’t even think he has to teach employees how to do this: you just watch him and that’s how he is.”
In turn, Mosley entrusts his employees with an extraordinary amount of autonomy. He has a good understanding of what it takes to be successful and shares those benefits with the entire team. “Chris gives each of us the opportunity to run our business and become experts at what we do,” Ruttler says. “Chris lets us go out and find new a product, get it in, test it, decide what application we can use it for, and think about the benefits it provides to our clients. We work closely with our client base, and we have the freedom to go after almost any project.”
Mosley replies, “I know I have to hire people who are smarter than me. When I bring people onboard to CSS, I tell them, ‘Don’t listen to me, I have to listen to you.’” Decades after his decision to join NBFAA, Mosley still believes “The best place to get information is from your peers.” Remembering his role models – his father as well as older techs who showed him the ropes – Mosley strives to help other local security companies succeed.
“Some of the smaller operators don’t have the infrastructure or wherewithal that we do,” he noted, “We can help them with permits, calculations, schematics, programming.” Since the pandemic disrupted the supply chain, CSS even exchanges parts and materials with their competitors. “You want to make sure you have liaisons in the business you can rely on,” Mosley says. “It’s a two-way street.”
“He loves helping people,” Lauren adds. “And just as he’s really willing to help everyone, everyone always has his back too. I think that really speaks to his character. When you’re a great person, you attract great people.” This includes her mother, who has been instrumental in supporting Chris and helping CSS succeed throughout the years.
“He loves helping people,” Lauren adds.
Through hard work, commitment to trusting relationships, and being a good listener, Mosley has seen CSS become one of New Jersey’s largest independent security dealers. The only downside to his ambition is that his family isn’t sure if he’s ever going to retire. “I don’t like to have grass growing underneath my feet,” he grins. Except, perhaps, the grass on his farm.
The ESA Weinstock Awards is the most prestigious honor ESA bestows, recognizing a lifetime of volunteer leadership. The award is graciously sponsored by Resideo, ESA’s exclusive Diamond Strategic Partner.