Providing emergency help and reliable customer service to those who need it any time
Geoff Gross is the CEO and founder of Medical Guardian. The company, which started as a business run out of Geoff’s apartment, has grown into a leading provider of medical alert systems for seniors nationwide. Medical Guardian’s product range spans from at-home devices to GPS-enabled systems that guarantee emergency protection on the go. During a fall, injury, or other incapacitating event, these devices allow users to receive immediate, local help from a certified medical operator at the push of a button. Florence Henderson, known for playing Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, currently endorses the company as its Senior Safety Advocate. In 2015, Medical Guardian was #30 on the Philadelphia 100’s list of the fastest growing companies in Philadelphia, and #1265 on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in the United States.
Last year, Geoff was a finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Philadelphia), and was recently named a two-time SmartCEO Future 50 winner. Geoff also sits on the Board of Directors for the Medical Alert Monitoring Association as well as the Board of Directors for the National MS Society, Delaware Valley Chapter. As one might expect from his work with the latter, Geoff is a diligent supporter of causes related to Multiple Sclerosis: he is the founder and Co-Chair of Preakness at the Piazza, a fundraiser held each may during the Preakness Horse Race. All of the net proceeds of this annual event benefit MS education, wellness programs, and research initiatives.
Your father had a business in the home security industry. What early lessons did you learn about being an entrepreneur? How did what he do influence how you run your company?
GEOFF GROSS: I have learned a great deal from both of my parents. My mom gave me a lot of confidence to dream big, build a great business, work hard every day, and believe in what you do. That’s been important. My dad was a serial entrepreneur, so being around him and watching not only how he grew businesses but how he treated people was the main thing. He has an intense loyalty to the people that have worked for him over the years, and I think I inherited some of that. I’ve been loyal to them, they’ve been loyal to me—that’s helped my business tremendously. A lot of my ideas came from being around my dad and his company for so many years. During college, I would come home from school, work in the collections department, go out with installers, and learn the business from the ground up.
I think the main difference between the medical alert business and the home security industry, while very similar, is we don’t have to have vehicles. We don’t have to have trucks, so when it snows, we have problems maybe getting the employees into the office, but we don’t have problems sending the trucks out on the road. We drop ship all of our units nationwide. We’re able to service not just locally and regionally, but actually nationally a lot easier.
When I got out of school, I was the head of the inside sales department for his company. I was able to learn, from the ground up, how to sell things and how to sell service based on a recurring revenue model, which is what our business is.
In the fleet tracking company I had for a few years, which was called Trackitnow, we provided GPS tracking devices for vehicles. We worked with anywhere from a company that had five vehicles to the Philadelphia Water Department, who had hundreds of vehicles. We would provide a device that came with a web-based platform that would allow them to track their fleet, so they could manage everything going on on the road, to how much fuel they were using, to the hours of their drivers, et cetera. It was something I enjoyed doing, but I realized quickly that B2B was not as much for me as B2C was. So, I decided to sell that company and focus solely on medical alert systems.
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