As a former Marine, Steve Van Ness knows a thing or two about the importance of security. After finishing his service with the Corps at Kaneohe Bay, he opened APN Alarm Systems of Hawaii in 1994, and the company has grown to include more than 30 employees. In nearly 20 years of doing business in the Islands, APN Alarm Systems has installed more than 10,000 units in homes and businesses across Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

“You can replace your valuables, but you can’t replace a member of your family,” Van Ness said. “The peace of mind knowing that when you come home, your home is safe because of the security system, that’s priceless. We want customers to sleep peacefully at night. Unfortunately, crime is on the rise, and you don’t know who the next victim will be, so it’s important to protect your family, home and valuables.”


The family business also involves Van Ness’ three sons. As Van Ness described, “One is an installation assistant learning the ropes, the oldest is the company’s top sales representative and the middle son is my top service technician. My older brother runs our service department, my wife works in the office, my daughter-in-law works in the office and I have two of my nephews — one in sales and one in installations. It’s truly a family company.”

According to Van Ness, APN Alarm Systems performs roughly 70 percent of its jobs at residential units and 30 percent at commercial sites, and the systems installed utilize some of today’s groundbreaking technology. Customers are able to arm, disarm and receive updates from their system via computer or smart phone, and certain systems even allow customers to view camera angles directly on their phones — this allows users to check on activity, whether it’s a break-in or simply one’s child arriving home from school and disarming the alarm.

“We tied the two together so if something happens with the alarm system, you receive an email or text message, and the user can access their system immediately to see who’s in your home or business,” Van Ness said. “It’s all fully connected these days with the technology available to us.


We use the Honeywell Lynx system — it has a touch screen and keeps the customer totally connected.”

Van Ness also stresses the point that his employees are a part of the company, not sub-contractors. “We have a unique philosophy, and I don’t know of anyone else that does this, but we share part of the customer’s monthly service fee with the service technician and sales representative (who) are tied to the account,” he explained. “I want to have a true ohana, and I want everyone to have ownership of the account.”

Such a unique ownership philosophy translates into stellar customer service, Van Ness added. Everything APN Alarm Systems sells is stocked locally at its office in Halawa Industrial Park, and the company guarantees a 24-hour service period. As Van Ness put it, “If a customer calls with a problem at 2 p.m. on Thursday, we’ll be out there by 2 p.m. Friday to fix it. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, and have a live technician to assist you — you’re not just talking to an answering service. I want the customers to have the best service they can get.”


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APN Alarm Systems of Hawaii
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Photos: Nathalie Walker


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