When you think about the type of person you want providing security for your home or business, what are the types of traits that seem ideally suited for the task? Right off the bat, a background in law enforcement and military service come to mind, as well as the firsthand experience that every truly successful business owner must learn when starting a company.
These are all traits that can be used to describe Jacques Sopkin who, along with his wife Mitzi, founded Mijac Alarm in 1971. Their decision to start the company came at an interesting time in their lives, when they had already experienced so many great things, but had yet to build what would ultimately become their legacy: Mijac Alarm, a national SDM Magazine Top 100 Alarm Company.
The early life of Jacques Sopkin
Jacques was born in 1929 in New York, and moved around as the son of a Navy Officer until joining the Navy himself at 17 years old, in 1946. Jacques first assignment was to the corpsman’s school in Balboa Park, San Diego, and he ultimately was assigned to hospitals throughout California, including Corona Naval Hospital and Oakland Hospital, where he finished his tour.
Jacques has said that the time spent serving in the Navy throughout California made him fall in love with the state, and is the reason why Mijac Alarm, along with his 2 children and 6 grandchildren, have lived their lives in California as well.
Post-military college experience
After finishing his tour of duty, Jacques earned a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in photographic engineering. Although Jacques had once thought that his dream was to be an advertising photographer, he ultimately found that the career was not for him. At that point, Jacques thought back to his time in the Navy, and decided to continue his service as a law enforcement officer.
Mitzi and Jacques
Mitzi and Jacques met in 1952, and by 1953 they were married. After tying the knot, they took a 30 day, 5000 mile road trip that took them from New York, to St. Louis, all the way down to Mexico City and Taxco, before finally arriving in Los Angeles to start their new lives.
Life as a Los Angeles Sheriff
Jacques was in the top 1% of 3200 applicants for the LA Sheriff’s entrance exam, and was quickly offered a position on the force. Over the course of 20 years, Jacques had a very successful career, ultimately being promoted to Sergeant. Unfortunately, during a routine physical, it was discovered that Jacques had a medical condition that forced him to choose between a desk job and retirement. Since Jacques had already started a small alarm company, he opted for the latter.
Entering the alarm industry
Back in the 70’s, the alarm industry was not what it is today. Alarms were far more primitive, and were sold largely by department stores and contractors that worked under the department store’s brand. By this point, Jacques already had a fledgling alarm business as a sub-contractor for Sears-Roebuck. His territory spanned from San Diego to Santa Barbara, and he and his 3 employees sold a basic alarm system, which consisted of an electric motor and 2 6-Volt batteries connected to a large bell on the outside of the home or business. With that early success, Jacques saw that the alarm industry was unfortunately made up of increasingly aggressive salespeople and “hucksters”. So, in 1971 Jacques, his wife Mitzi, and his employees chose to go out and form their own company, which could abide by a set of ethical business standards that the company still holds dear today.
Next week, we will discuss the birth of Mijac Alarm, the philosophy that separates it from companies like ADT and Bay Alarm, and the legacy Jacques has ensured through his son Steve’s management and his granddaughter Shelby’s involvement in the company.
Until then, if you’d like more information about Mijac Alarm, or would like information about how Mijac Alarm can help secure your home or business, please contact us via email, via phone at (909) 982-7612, or by visiting the Mijac Alarm Homepage.