By Kimberly Anderson-Matich
It does not take a detective to identify the person I learned the most from—it’s my father, Howard Paul Anderson, Sr. My dad’s mentorship has guided my career.
My first job as a young girl was with Smitty’s Grocery Store in Phoenix, but I began working summers with my dad when he retired from the U.S. Air Force and founded Continental Security Guard here. I started as a dispatch assistant, but that didn’t stop me from sitting behind his desk and pretending I was in charge. It was exciting! When I was in the fifth grade, Davy Jones from The Monkeys came to the Valley to visit a girl in the hospital. Our security team coordinated his visit and afterward he came to our house to play football with my brothers.
Success is More Than a Slogan
My father sold his company in 1971, and stopped working for the new owners in 1979. I had to move on as well. I worked at a variety of office jobs that provided good management opportunities, but I never felt fulfilled. I kept thinking about my father’s company and how exciting it would be to have a security agency. Some people tried to discourage me from such a male-dominated industry, but my father’s voice stood out. He encouraged me to focus on my dream, instead of the obstacles to achieving it.
I founded Anderson Security Agency in 1994 with one full-time employee—me. I focused on carefully recruiting officers and providing comprehensive training. It didn’t take long to realize that my dad was right. Our sales hit $1 million in the first year of business.
Of course, many organizations strive to provide exceptional service, but success requires more than a slogan. My father said service begins with the integrity of knowing your business and properly training your staff. To surround myself with reliable people, I recruited members of my family who now perform various jobs from receptionist to executive vice president. My team also includes security veterans and seasoned military personnel, with more than 200 years of combined experience. Today, Anderson Security is one of the largest privately-owned security agencies in Arizona.
Of course my father wasn’t all business. Although he’s no longer active in the industry, his commitment to being a responsible member of the community lives on at Anderson Security. Our command vehicle visits schools, shopping centers and special events promoting safety programs for Arizona families. Our staff also protects the holiday spirit of a disadvantaged family every year, with donations of food, clothing and gifts.
If I could pass one lesson on to my five children, it would be what my father taught me: Success is achieved by pursuing your dreams, and doing it with integrity. It was just like he said. If my company provided superior service, no one would care if it was owned by a man or a woman.
Published in ArizonaWoman September 2005