Veteran Success Profiles

Army Buddies Secure Success in Alaska With Signal 88

See why Signal 88 was the perfect opportunity for these veterans!
By Dan Fazio
Will and Zach from Signal 88

Zachary Alsterberg

Signal 88 Security of Anchorage

Age: 33

Military Service: Seargent (E-4), Army (2004-2010)

MOS, Rating or AFSC: 19D

Purchased: December 2009

Opened for business: October 2010

# of Employees: 34

Will Serra

Signal 88 Security of Anchorage

Age: 35

Military Service: Specialist (E-4), Army (2004-2010)

MOS: Intelligence Analyst (96B)

Post-secondary education: Bachelor’s degree, international business, American Military
University, 2014


If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business, there are many reasons to consider a franchise. Probably the best one? You don’t have to start from scratch.

Will Serra, 35, a one-time Army intelligence analyst who has dreamed of being a business owner since childhood, found that aspect of franchising attractive.

“I’ve always known that franchises take a lot of the guesswork out of being a business owner,” says Serra, who co-owns a Signal 88 security franchise in Anchorage, Alaska, with a fellow Army veteran. “All of the little nuances of business ownership are already ‘figured out’ in your plan, so it makes the entire prospect much more appealing.”

For many veterans, the franchising path represents the fulfillment of a dream. More than half of the 120 Signal 88 franchisees are military veterans. A unique type of drive and determination make veterans good candidates for franchise success.

“Owning a business is hard work, so Signal 88 wants an owner who is what we call a ‘Team Captain,’ meaning they are dedicated, process oriented and passionate about serving their communities,” says Kevin Jones, chief development officer. “Veterans fit that Team Captain mentality perfectly.”

Serra, 35, caught the entrepreneurial bug early. “I sold papers when I was 6 years old, and I barely understood the concept of money,” he says. “When I was 18, I purchased a mini-donut stand franchise, and leased out a spot at the 5th Avenue Mall in Anchorage. I’ve always maintained a passionate interest in business, so when I heard about Signal 88 Security, I knew I wanted to be involved.”

In 2009 Serra teamed up with fellow Army veteran Zachary Alsterberg to open a Signal 88 franchise in Anchorage, Alaska. Today the duo’s business employs 34 people and grossed nearly $1 million in 2017.

“We have succeeded due to the development of friendships and ensuring that we always place others’ needs above our own,” says Alsterberg, who describes business ownership as the “most difficult and rewarding task I have ever taken on.”

Will Serra of Signal 88 during his military service

Are you equal partners?

Serra: Zach and I are 50/50 partners.

What challenges have you faced since you became a franchise owner?

Serra: Oh, where do I begin. We faced every possible problem since we started. Any number of employee issues, vehicle issues, finance issues and the list goes on. We worked well at overcoming them when challenges did arise. We try not to let the problems fluster us. So we would work diligently at game planning a course of action, and then follow through. The important step is ensuring a process is setup to prevent the challenges from recurring.

Describe a time when your military skills and training helped you out of a tough spot as a franchise owner.

Alsterberg: Ability to work continuous hours without stop! I worked 430 plus days, 13 hours per night with only
five total days off during the entire time to get the businesses started and built to where it is today.

Why did you choose your location?

Serra: At the time I was very familiar with the Anchorage area, and Zach was as well. Unfortunately, Palm Springs didn’t cross my mind at the time.

What three tips would you give to transitioning service members or veterans interested in becoming a franchisee?


1) Don’t think you will not be working extremely hard.

2) Truly care about the clients and team members you serve.

3) Learn as much from existing franchise owners as possible and carefully select your territory.

Signal 88 Security is one of the nation’s leading security franchises for residential, commercial, retail and institutional customers. Built on the principle that safety is a basic human right and need, Signal 88 offers customized services to keep communities free from harm. This includes the brand’s unique patrol method—in which a Signal 88 Security vehicle comes on site a number of times per night to scope out the designated area—as an effective and economical means to deter crime.




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