July-August 2013 | UNDER CONTROL

Donna and Paul Sicari



The Sicaris may have found their dream house in Bethany Beach but it was Alarm Engineering that made it their home

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

When asked how they came to own a home in Bethany Beach, Donna Williams starts off with a laugh and the explanation: “Well, the story comes full circle.” Six years ago, Donna and Paul Sicari met at work, at a Washington D.C. firm. Paul was replacing someone who was retiring and relocating with her husband to Bethany Beach. Turns out that the four became fast friends; soon after, Donna and Paul were taking frequent vacations in Bethany Beach not only to visit their friends but also because they’d fallen in love with the area.
“Compared to the ‘big city,’ Bethany possesses a wonderful small-town atmosphere,” said Paul. “We really enjoy the area, the people, the businesses making everything easy and fun… we love it here!” Over the next six years, Donna and Paul repeatedly told their friends to keep their eyes open because they would love to get a second home, in Bethany.
On one October evening in 2012, they went out for a ride and looked at several new-home developments in Bethany Beach; it was that weekend they decided that the home had to be in Salt Pond. On Sunday, they found what was to be their new home. “We decided right then, on the spot!” Donna recalled. The home was perfect for them: With 5 spacious bedrooms, 4 full baths and a gorgeous deck, there was plenty of room for multiple families vacationing together.
As perfect as it was, Paul admits to having some trepidation about taking on the full-time responsibility of a part-time 
home. However, when they learned from another friend about the benefits of emPower remote-management technology from Alarm Engineering, it was what Donna and Paul refer to as a “no-brainer investment.”
“A friend from South Bethany just recently shared with me that her neighbors rented their home out over the summer and that those same renters were still using the home on Thanksgiving because the renters had made themselves a key!” Paul shared. “Well, there’s no way that can happen with our home: We can just look to see if anyone has come in or even if anyone changed the thermostat settings.” 
Custom user codes can quickly be entered from any computer with Internet access for each new renter, cleaning company or worker, so you know exactly who is coming, who is going and when. You can also easily set your system to send you emails or text message with updates. 
“Integration is the key,” said Ron Boltz, president & CEO of Alarm Engineering. “Using emPower in conjunction with a comprehensive security system utilizes the technology to its fullest potential. The security system serves as the brain of the home or business and ‘knows’ when the building is occupied or empty. Our emPower solution leverages that functionality to include thermostats and lighting, to achieve not only convenience but also more efficient energy usage.”
“I couldn’t imagine a better solution for a second home or an investment property, it’s so incredibly convenient!” Paul said. “Simple things, like wondering if the cleaning lady came, you can just look on your phone and, yep, Heather came at 11:00 and left at 1:00!” 
“We have remote controls for everything these days, so why not for your home?” Donna reasoned. “Control your lights, or lock and unlock your door remotely — and your thermostat! Now that’s the biggie! Just touch your phone, and you’re done! I don’t have to worry about whether I remembered to bring my keys when I left D.C, and I change the thermostat settings on my way, so it’s comfortable when I arrive.”
For Paul’s part, he remembers that they had just signed our paperwork for the emPower system. It was winter at the time, the week before the system was to be installed.
“The thermostat was on for an hour, and I still was an ice cube!” he recalled. “It was then that I really wished the system had already been in place!” 
As far as user-friendliness is concerned, Paul pointed out that if someone can make an Amazon.com purchase, they 
can set their thermostat remotely with the emPower system. 
In fact, Donna loved the features of the system so much, she immediately had its features added to her primary residence as well.
“I’m never more than three feet from either my phone or iPad,” Donna Praised, “so it’s really that easy.”
 “This system removed the burden and pressure of owning an investment property,” Paul offered. “Now, we’re looking forward to our first renters at Savage Pines this season!”
For more information on how emPower can improve your investment property or second-home ownership, contact Alarm Engineering in Salisbury, the first company of its kind to offer interactive services on the Shore.

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