A Q&A with First Response Founder, Dave Foglio

Born and raised in Portland, Dave Foglio has long been dedicated to providing superior customer care within the service industry. After running a successful janitorial business, Dave and his wife Charlene decided to start First Response Security in 1989, recognizing a need for professional security solutions in the Portland metropolitan area.

Now, more than 29 years since its doors first opened, we sat down with Dave to discuss the beginning of First Response, his dedication to giving back and where he sees the security industry going in the next 3-5 years.

What made you want to get into the security industry?

Dave Foglio: I was in another service business providing custodial services, and one of our clients asked if I had any interest in security. I looked into the security industry and found that it wasn’t as professional as I thought it would be. So through a series of events, I ended up selling the janitorial business and starting First Response, patterned after a company down in California called West Tech Security. They did all of Beverly Hills, they did Hollywood — all of the movie stars and everything — so it was a whole additional level of security with uniformed officers, professional cars and professional equipment. I decided that’s the image we wanted to portray.

What was it like when you first started off?

We started out as alarm response and patrol, and it was a real struggle, because we paid higher [wages] than what most of the other security companies were paying. We also had one professional car, and we started off as the first 24 hour service…with no clients. It was actually about three months before we got our first client. So it was a real challenge to get it started. Up until about ’91, we just did the alarm response and patrol. And then we could see that that wasn’t going to carry us through — the alarm response and patrol was growing too slowly. In 1992, we added on-site security, and that helped support the patrol division so we could continue to grow.

It seems like you are very dedicated to giving back. What does that look like for you?

Yes, I personally volunteer with a Christian organization called Samaritan’s Purse, where we go to disasters — usually floods or hurricanes — and help the homeowners there for a week. I’ve done seven of those and been to Texas three times, I’ve been to South Carolina, Georgia, Lousiana, California Colorado…I go wherever. We just help homeowners — helping clean their house up after a flood, cleaning trees or debris up if it’s been a hurricane or something.

And then we carry it over that we really want to be a part of the community here locally, so in the past we’ve been involved in several events where we volunteered at a charity or organization here in the Portland metropolitan area, where employees go and serve food or provide some time of help or services. We’ve done food collections, we did a sock drive where we collected over 250 pairs of socks for a specific charity.  We are constantly looking for ways that we can give back to the community. If we’re going to be working here and providing services here, we want to make sure that we’re also giving back.

As far as that being incorporated into the company, how did that come about?

It’s really been grassroots, internal from the employees. In fact, there were two or three things that the whole company did that… I didn’t even know we were doing it. Nobody invited me. I see this picture and I go “Oh, when did we do that?” and it’s like “Oh we did it last week, there were five or six of us  that went and we did this or that.” I like to see that, I like to see that from the inside out rather than from the top down.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to go to NASCAR races. I like to do two a year and then I watch them on TV. About the only hobby I have is bowling. I call it a hobby, because I carry my bowling ball in my car with me, but I haven’t bowled since September of last year. I don’t make a lot of time for it, but if there’s one thing that I enjoy doing, it’s bowling. I like to go up, roll the ball and just take a time out.

If there’s just one thing you wanted people to know about First Response, what would it be?

From the time that first call comes in, it’s always answered with a live voice. We always want someone to be available to take that call, and just stay focused on life safety. That’s what our job is and that’s what has made us successful.

What are you looking forward to most in the coming years for First Response?

Safety and security is changing, and we’re not standing still. We’re not just providing the same services — we’re constantly evaluating the type of services we’re providing and saying “Okay, what are the clients needs and are our services fulfilling those needs?” So I see us over the next 3-5 years changing, adapting, and possibly providing different services based on what the needs are of the community.

Celebrating 29 Years of Security Services!

Today is our birthday! Setting the cake and balloons aside, we want to take a moment to thank our most loyal community for working with us for the past 29 wonderful years — that’s you!

Since it formed in 1989 sporting a single patrol car and a penchant for going above and beyond service standards, First Response Security has grown from a little company that could to a local mainstay, today offering a full range range of safety solutions run by more than 150 professional, educated, and (we might be bias) hilarious employees.

In celebration of our anniversary, over the next several weeks, you will see a range of content that peeks behind the curtain of the different services we provide and the people behind them. What is UL monitoring? Who is coming to install your keypad? Do our officers ever make funny faces into the dashcam (not while driving, of course)? All these questions will be answered (and more) if you follow along on our blog or our social channels. And as you see our signs, stickers and vehicles around town, send us a selfie tagged with #frshigherstandard to receive a special prize!

Again, thank you for making these last 29 years possible. As we blow out our candles this year, our wish is to continue providing you with a higher standard of security service — because nothing is more important than your life safety and protection.

 

Giving Back and Giving Hope

There are opportunities each day to help someone who needs it. Dave Foglio, the founder and President of First Response Security knows this well. Being an active volunteer in his community, he wanted to expand his volunteer work and reach into the communities where disaster had struck. Asking around and expressing interest in this type of outreach, Dave was soon informed about Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

“You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” –John Wooden

It was in September of 2013 that Dave received his first call to action from Samaritan’s Purse. The town of Lakewood, CO had just fallen victim to flooding and volunteers were called upon to provide families aid in the clean-up of their homes.

When you are dealing with a house that has been flooded, you begin by “going up the wall one foot further than what the water reached, take a skill saw and cut completely around the entire house” Dave said. This includes the kitchen cabinets, bathroom etc., because everything has to dry. The furniture and flooring is taken out, the insulation under the house is cut so water can drain and the drying process can begin. The power has gone out causing the food in the refrigerator to go bad. There is flood water left in puddles around the house.

The families are devastated to see their home cut apart, but it is all done to keep them safe and to keep black mold from growing back.

Two years later in September of 2015 a call to action for San Andreas went into effect after a wildfire had ravaged through the area. Houses were destroyed and Dave arrived at the area to see only the foundation of houses left.

“Imagine a two story home and the only thing that’s left is the refrigerator, dishwasher, the stove and 18 inches of ash” Dave commented. They would begin by asking the families what areas of the house their valuables were in and from there they would begin sifting through heaps of ash in hopes of finding something, anything.

It was in the high 80’s as they wore protective suits that covered them from head to toe, sweating and sifting for hours. But it was worth it when the sifter shook the last ash out and something was left in the metal wire. “You might find a small ceramic figurine and you place it on the foundation wall. You sift some more and you could find another ceramic piece and you place that on the wall. By the time we are done we line it up so as the family is walking toward their home, they see all these little trinkets we found and the families just light up” said Dave.

One of Dave’s favorite memories came from helping an 81 year old man find his All-Around Rodeo Cowboy belt buckle he had won when he was 22 years old. Dave could tell it was something very special to the man.

Amidst the overwhelming devastation it becomes the little things that can create a smile and a sense of hope. “It is humbling to hear of the memories associated with often broken, small items…” said Dave.

In 2015, Dave and his wife Charlene volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse in three cities, helping with the clean-up of two floods and one wildfire. They gave a total of 15 days of volunteer time. Their goal is to exceed their 15 volunteer days in the year 2016.

You can learn more about the work that Samaritan’s Purse does by visiting their webpage at:
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

About First Response Inc.

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Inc. is the largest privately owned security company in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.