"Get out in front of it,” advises Time Warner Cable’s Brian Reich, director of security for the Northeastern U.S., which encompasses a TV news site (NY-1 News), call centers, distribution centers and corporate headquarters. Reich also believes in a close, working partnership with Time Warner's contract guarding company.

The Time Warner Cable executive, with 20-plus years of corporate security and law enforcement experience, oversees customer follow-up policies following resolution of investigations while driving cultural and operational changes across the enterprise. These efforts put the Time Warner security personnel in the direct line of service for both internal and external customers, reducing costs and risks as well as impacting future operational policies involving other internal business units.

The Time Warner security team understands they are part of a bigger organization that goes beyond their daily responsibilities of traditional security functions. They drive a culture of teamwork, customer service and the need to understand the business. “Our officers are most often the first faces people see identified with our company,” Reich says, adding “our needs are always evolving in security and with any business. So strong communications and partnerships are the keys.”

Evolving Officer Roles

There is a tremendous amount of assets and people protected by private security. So it is not surprising that security officers have evolved. “Today’s officers must be adept at using technology, navigating through various operating systems” beyond the typical guarding duties, observes Reich. He walks the talk, too. Holder of a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) credential, Reich is a recent participant on the ASIS International Professional Certification Board, which manages the certification programs by assuring that standards are developed and maintained, quality assurance is in place and that the exams accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities of security professionals in the areas of security management, investigations and physical security.

“Enterprise security risk management has also evolved. At the end of the day, we are business people. But we have made great strides in enterprise security and risk management,” Reich contends. Which gets back to the partnership relationship he has with his contract guarding firm – AlliedBarton Security Services. For instance, “We write the post orders in collaboration,” Reich points out. “It all depends on the type of facility and the risks faced. Choosing the right service is really important. It is essential that they understand my business, my risks, my goals and my objectives. Don’t ‘yes’ me as the client. We work in partnership regarding allocation of our resources and the work of site supervisors. The communications channel must be fluid. Businesses that succeed evolve. There is a real, ongoing dialog – ‘What about a technology solution? Should we remove or add officers?’ AlliedBarton also appreciates the management structure of my organization,” comments Reich.

Reich works with Caress Kennedy, vice president and general manager, AlliedBarton Security Services, and who is responsible for operational oversight and delivery of service to the entire New York-New Jersey Region.

Of course, it is important to consistently measure the professionalism of officers and the guarding company.

“We use a matrix measurement to ensure officers and their firm are executing on the service level. How we respond to a medical emergency; regular recurring reports; quarterly business reviews. How the people interact,” says Reich, who adds that it is a two-step approach – measure and communicate.

Wide Ranging Responsibilities

Partnership is also the mantra for Duane Ritter, vice president of corporate security for Cox Enterprises, Inc., which is a leading communications, media and automotive services company.  Headquartered in Atlanta, Cox Enterprises’ revenues are nearly $17 billion, and the company has more than 55,000 employees.

In his role since 2011, Ritter manages the security functions for the company’s corporate headquarters and all its subsidiaries.  Ritter oversees physical security, investigations, business continuity, crisis management as well as identity theft prevention.  In addition, Ritter manages Cox’s internal computer forensics and eDiscovery lab, which investigates cybercrime and Internet fraud claims reported to the company.

“In evaluating a service,” says Ritter, “I look at the professionalism and presence of the security officers, the overall management of the force, a good training program, benefits, use of technology such as an incident management system. And if the service adapts to our needs and our employee-centric culture. You have to take a 360-degree view of risk.” Ritter’s service provider is G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.

The little, everyday things make the difference when “providing customer service and a good experience at places such as our reception areas. We have turnstiles and revolving doors. It’s the first point of contact with us. Officers wear polo shirts with ‘G4S’ and ‘Cox’ on them. With four entrances, often employees forget their badge, so it is handling that issue.”

While references, the request for proposals and talking with others helps, Ritter sees a key in how the service’s management responses to occasional mistakes. “That is extremely important. So is training that we do as well as our partner does. Career development is crucial to encourage officers and show a growth pattern.”

Blending People with Technology

There is also the need to blend officers with technology they use or depend upon. “Someone has to monitor the systems, and we are training a more sophisticated workforce, and sometimes you can reduce guarding hours through technology. The days of guards, guns and gates are over,” adds Ritter. He and his service also partner with the various Atlanta metro police departments.

Then there is Lou Ortiz, manager at 3M Corporate Security, 3M Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, whose security operation has been proprietary since World War II.

He sees value in the approach. “It’s a matter of loyalty to the company as well as knowing the complexity of the operation, the vast number of products we produce and our global reach. On average, our officers each have over 25 years with the company. They have learned how to make connections with everyone internally as well as the value of our community connections,” says Ortiz.


Guarding Industry News and Resources

13th Annual Top Guarding Firms Listing

Officer Criterion? Effort Underway to Set ANSI Standard

ASIS 2015 Ralph Day Security Officer of the Year

Consolidation Heats Up as Guarding Firms Seek More Clients

What about the Keys?

Officer Educator and IFPO Executive Honored

Three Generations Set a History Record

Consolidation at the Top as Guarding Matures

Special Handling for Special Events

Real Recognition Makes the Difference

Don’t Forget Mentoring and Succession Planning

Universal Protection: First Guardsmark then ABM

When Little is a Big Advantage

Worldwide Reach Has Advantages

Guarding Firms Embrace Veterans



13th Annual Top Guarding Firms Listing

Company, Head Office



Full-time unless otherwise noted

Revenues (USD)

2014 unless otherwise noted


Securitas North America, Chicago





G4S Secure Solutions (USA), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.





Universal Protection Service, Santa Ana, Calif.





AlliedBarton Security Services, Conshohocken, Pa.


Over 60,000



US Security Associates, Roswell, Ga.





Guardsmark, New York City *





ABM Security Services **





National Security Alliance, Dayton, Ohio ***





FJC Security Services, Floral Park, N.Y.





Covenant Services Worldwide, Bolingbrook, Ill.





SOS Security, Parsippany, N.J.





Whelan Security, St. Louis





Walden Security, Chattanooga, Tenn.





Command Security Corp., Herndon, Va.





SecurAmerica, Atlanta





St. Moritz Security Services, Pittsburgh





McRoberts Protective Agency, New York City





CPS Security Solutions, Gardena, Calif.





Per Mar Security & Research, Davenport, Iowa





APG Security, South Amboy, N.J.





United American Security, Raleigh, N.C.





DSI Security, Dothan, Ala.





Titan Security Group, Chicago





Northeast Security, Newton, Mass.





Elite Investigations, New York City





Sunstates Security, Raleigh, N.C.





Madison Security Group, Lowell, Mass.





Vinson Guard Service, New Orleans





Monterrey Security Consultants, Chicago





FirstLine Transportation Security, Nashville, Tenn.





Monument Security, McClellan, Calif.





Guardian Guard Services, Southfield, Mich.





United Security, Red Bank, N.J.





Arrow Security, New York City





KD Security, Grand Rapids, Mich.





Sizemore Security, Augusta, Ga.





Teachout Security Solutions, Flint, Mich.





Black Knight Security, Pittsburgh






* Universal Protection Service acquires Guardsmark, July 2015

** Universal Protection Service acquires ABM, October 2015

*** The National Security Alliance is a network of locally owned and operated contract security companies with some reflected elsewhere in this listing.

Source: S = Security Magazine; L = Security Letter collecting 2014 data

More information on the Security Letter, 166 East 96th St., New York City, N.Y.


Officer Criterion? Effort Underway to Set ANSI Standard


The ASIS International guidelines ball is rolling, again.

The organization’s Private Security Officer (PSO) Selection and Training Guideline, more than a decade old and previously revised, is now undergoing another revision. But this time, it will include submission to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for approval consideration.

The guideline provides generic management requirements for PSO selection and training processes as well as guidance for good practices related to the selection, training and use of private security officers.  Generic parameters address issues related to elements common to any program for managing the selection and training processes, while guidance outlines what is considered industry good practice.

ASIS International is the largest membership organization for security management professionals that crosses industry sectors, embracing every discipline along the security spectrum from operational to cybersecurity. ASIS is an ANSI accredited standards developing organization (SDO).

As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment. ANSI oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses.

The work of preparing standards and guidelines is carried out through the ASIS Standards and Guidelines Committees and governed by the ASIS Commission on Standards and Guidelines. The commission ensures that the development process is a voluntary, nonproprietary and consensus-based process. For the PSO standard, ASIS Technical Committee Chair is Dr. Marc Siegel and the ASIS Standards Commission Liaison is Bernard Greenawalt, CPP. “The current guideline covers contract and proprietary officers,” says Greenawalt. “It’s guidance, best practices, not requirements, and voluntary.”

Adds Greenawalt, who is a vice president with Securitas USA, revision of the Security Officer Selection and Training Guideline will be by “virtual meetings. One of the ANSI requirements is that the makeup of the committee be transparent and balanced to include providers of the service, users of the service and other interested parties. The standard could be used by states that regulate the business, too.” Security guarding companies are state regulated, for the most part.

There also has been an ASIS/ANSI standard related to investigations, recently rolled out.

In late September, a technical committee comprised of more than 200 experts took part in the development of the ASIS International’s newly-released Investigations ANSI standard. The standard provides a framework for organizations to establish an ongoing program for investigations and to conduct risk assessments.

“Investigators of all stripes have long sought a structured, yet practical standard by which they may conduct their investigations,” states ASIS Standards Commission Liaison Eugene Ferraro, CPP, PCI. “The new ANSI/ASIS Investigations Standard is a welcome development for professional investigators in both the public and private sector. It provides guidance for individuals and organizations seeking to conduct proper and professional investigations.”

The standard uses a systems approach to modern fact-finding and offers the means for the development of an investigation program consistent with the business management principles related to the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) model. It provides insight and guidance for generally accepted practices including the processes and considerations one should contemplate when undertaking an investigation. As guidance, it does not contain requirements, nor is it intended for third-party certification.

If implemented, the framework offers investigators a high degree of assurance that their investigations will be effective, ethical, meet their intended objectives and provide the mechanisms required for continued process improvement. This standard can be used by anybody involved in the investigative process as well as those whom they serve.



ASIS 2015 Ralph Day Security Officer of the Year


Carlos Marcelo, a shift supervisor and watch commander for Universal Protection Service of Santa Ana, California, is the ASIS 2015 Ralph Day Security Officer of the Year for his stellar service and commitment to the security profession. The ASIS Security Services Council honored Marcelo during ASIS International’s 61st Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Anaheim, California.

Steve Jones, CEO of Universal Services of America, tells Securitymagazine, “I am extremely proud of Carlos and offer my congratulations on this most deserving recognition. The superb service he provides our clients and the public is a testament to the excellence Universal invests in recruiting, selecting and training professionals of his caliber. We ask a lot of our security officers, from deterring criminal activity, to ensuring the safety of employees, clients and visitors at every account we have, and Carlos does this flawlessly day in and day out.”

Marcelo, a three-plus-year Universal employee, is “out-front” on every issue, according to Steve Burhans, service manager for Universal Protection Service. “When he is on duty, he is in charge and takes his responsibility seriously. I personally feel that once he is on duty, I can go to sleep. He will address scheduling, personnel, emergency and other issues without being told and reports afterwards what he did to solve them.”

A recent heroic act included helping to save lives as a result of two auto accidents that occurred earlier this year on the 101 Freeway in Southern California.

Additionally, Marcelo is currently on a deployment assignment in the Middle East as an Army National Guard Reservist. “This is not out of the norm for Carlos as he has put his own life on the line, for all of us, as a U.S. Army Reservist. He has served abroad in some very dangerous situations, and we are very proud to have him as part of our team,” adds Burhans.

The Security Services Council established the Ralph Day Security Officer of the Year Award four years ago to honor a deserving security professional who performs outstanding service/acts in the security profession. It is named for Ralph D. Day, CPP, a highly regarded figure in the security industry and a long-time member of and contributor to ASIS International.



Consolidation Heats Up as Guarding Firms Seek More Clients


While there are an estimated 8,000 guarding firms, the biggest ones employ the largest number of officers and are gobbling up smaller firms to grow even bigger and faster.

No one knows better than Bob Perry of Robert H. Perry & Associates, Inc. (RHPA), a boutique mergers and acquisitions firm. “Soon after starting RHPA, we represented a regional manned guarding company in a sale to a subsidiary of Walter Kidde. When the news got out that we had managed the sale of a manned guarding company, we started getting calls from other industry owners wanting us to represent them in a sale. The rest is history. Today, we have the bragging rights to having represented over 200 owners of manned guarding companies – mostly located in the U.S., but some in Canada as well as Europe, the Middle East and South America,” says Perry.

Perry is known for his annual white papers since 2009. The first one “was nine pages and was going to be our way to efficiently respond to the increasing interest by the many private equity groups wanting information about possible investments in the security space. The MBAs in these firms are very analytical and wanted to know such things as: size of the industry, margins, competitive advantages, other private equity firms having investments in the space, where the industry is headed, etc.”

Perry points out that “there is a lot of industry information released on the electronic security industry, but none on the manned guarding industry. I think the reason is because the owners of manned guarding companies are very secretive about their businesses. They don’t talk with reporters or outsiders for fear they may release some information that may be used as a competitive advantage. But the owners were talking with us.”

What started out as a nine-page report is now about 75 pages and has become an annual project released in August. “We have been contacted by security directors at very large public companies asking us questions as they go through a vetting process on their present security provider or suggesting a replacement,” adds Perry.

One trend that Perry has identified is expansion of services beyond officers.

“We write a lot about the expanding menu of services, primarily because this has been the trend for the past few years.  Companies that can’t, or don’t want to, compete on price alone have had to come up with new solutions and ideas that set them apart from their competitors that offer just ‘plain vanilla’ guarding services.  Customers are learning more about the advantages of enhanced security through cameras, access control and other technologies, and they’re looking for traditional manned guarding companies with the capabilities of offering guarding and electronic security,” comments Perry.

The manned guarding companies that want to keep up with the customers’ demands have had to step up with the enhanced security offerings or risk losing the customer to companies that provide these expanded menu of services. And the additional offerings haven’t come cheap.  Some companies have spent millions of dollars in setting up a video monitoring center or investing in hand-held devices that report incidences to the customer in real-time.

Says Perry: “In fact, in our white paper, there’s a long quote from Alf Goransson, the CEO of Securitas, talking about the large investment Securitas has made in integrated guarding – a security offering that involves traditional manned guarding coupled with cameras and sophisticated reporting systems. The clients of these companies, that have invested heavily in technology, wind up with more enhanced security at little or no extra cost since sometimes the enhanced security involves replacing a human body or two (at a high bill rate per hour) with a low fixed rate security camera.”

No doubt, according to Perry, the industry is very fragmented, and there are several thousand mom-and-pop sized companies that just can’t afford to make the [technology] investment. “In our survey of owners of large to medium-sized companies around the country, we found that most of these owners are not reporting less guard hours when adding cameras; rather the customers are adding the electronic security component without replacing guards in an effort to step up the security effectiveness, even at a slightly higher cost for security than they are now paying.”

One vertical that is growing in terms of contract security is local governments.

 “We have for the past several years seen movement from proprietary to contract security.  The move has been triggered by a couple of things. One is budgetary – it’s usually cheaper to contract than it is to run an in-house force. The other is more effective security. It used to be that the governments sacrificed security effectiveness when they outsourced. But the contract companies have recently become a lot better at what they do and often much better than the proprietary force. They’re vetting their guards more thoroughly, they’re offering better benefits and in a lot of instances the contract guards are better trained. After all, the contract companies are out to make a profit; they have to run a more efficient, and effective, force; and make it available at a lesser price than the government has to pay running its in-house force,” says Perry, who adds “we definitely see the local government space as a tremendous opportunity for contract security companies to grow.”

Bob Perry sees continued advantage of the bigger guarding players.

“As explained in our white paper, we’re also seeing customers move from the smaller contract companies to the larger companies, which is underscored by the fact that we have managed the sale of more companies in the past three years than we have in any three-year timespan since we’ve been managing the sale of contract security companies.”

According to Perry, the primary reason for this uptick in activity is the fact that the smaller companies are losing business to their larger competitors. “The contract industry as a whole is growing at a not so exciting pace of around four percent, while the large companies are growing at seven percent or more. Again, this move is brought about by the larger companies being able to offer more, or the same security at a reduced price. The larger companies, in many instances, are self-insured and pay a lesser rate than its smaller competitors. The larger companies buy uniforms in large quantities, thus get a break on the per-unit cost. And the larger companies are able to service the national accounts while creating more gross margin dollars even at an often discounted billing rate per hour.”



What about the Keys?

Key control is a key element of security and its officers. And while some enterprises have gone to electronic card access, for those with keys and locks, there are electronic solutions.

For example, the new headquarters of 1+1 Media Group, one of Ukraine’s largest media holding companies, has recently opened in Kiev. Before the move, various departments were spread across the city, causing inefficiencies in both workflow and organizational structure. Now, all activities relating to the company’s broadcast, social media and content production groups are conducted at the new headquarters, making it easier for staff, temporary employees and visitors to go about business.

Bringing together more than 1,000 employees in an eight-story building necessitated rigorous planning with regard to logistics and physical security.

Access to the building had to be controlled, with different levels assigned to various employees. For economic and security reasons, management concluded that door locks with keys would be the best solution for managing access. However, manual management of the keys quickly became a problem; keys were often misplaced, lost or taken without authorization.

According to Volodymir Tarasyk, chief security officer for 1+1 Media Group, numerous procedures for controlling the keys were tried without success. He says, “There were simply too many people who needed access to keys for a manual system to be effective. We needed somehow to minimize the human factor.”

He found a solution with a key control and management system (KeyWatcher Touch from Morse Watchmans). With the automated system, all keys are secured in a tamper-proof cabinet when not in use and, when needed, can only be accessed by authorized personnel using their access control proximity ID badge to open the cabinet and remove or return a key. Users can only take a key they have been pre-authorized to access, and all others keys remain securely locked in the cabinet.

All activity is automatically recorded so Tarasyk’s department has an accurate record of who accessed keys and when. The system’s automatic email notification sends an alert when a key has not been returned as scheduled; there is also a daily PDF use report. The managing software package runs all programming, remote functions and reports while the server performs all synchronizations of transactions as well as maintaining the database.

“The system is integrated with our existing access control system, and this has greatly enhanced the level of security in our building,” says Tarasyk. “Manual control procedures have been eliminated, and we know who has used or is using each and every key.”

In addition to the economic savings realized by using mechanical locks and keys on doors throughout the building, 1+1 Media Group was also able to realize a savings in security personnel. Tarasyk states that by using the automated system they were able to reduce the number of security posts by two, further enhancing return on investment.



Officer Educator and IFPO Executive Honored


Sandi Davies, executive director of the International Foundation of Protection Officers (IFPO), the top organization that provides education and certification to protection and security officers in the United States, Canada and throughout the world, received the Karen Marquez Honors, presented by ASIS International’s Women in Security (WIS) Council recently. The annual event, now in its third year, recognizes female ASIS members whose contributions have furthered the growth of women in the security industry.

Hikvision, with video surveillance products and solutions, is a sponsor of the Karen Marquez Honors. In addition to Davies, also honored were Victoria Ekhomu, managing director of Trans-World Security Systems; Julieta Munoz Cornejo, regional vice president for ASIS Mexico; and Susan Walker, regional security manager at the Department of Homeland Security.

The Women in Security Council provides support and assistance to women in the security industry and works to inspire those interested in entering the industry. WIS promotes its global members by utilizing collaborated skills and talents to strengthen leadership abilities.

Karen Marquez was the co-owner and executive vice president of MVM, Inc., a physical security services firm, and had a 23-year career in security. Her service as a member of Women Business Owners and the National Association of Female Executives allowed her to bring her hands-on expertise to global management issues. Marquez died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer. Her work is carried on today by the Marquez Foundation, an organization that helps Hispanic students achieve college education, and by WIS.

Davies began her career in contract security in 1980 with a primary focus on personnel administration. She was instrumental in developing security officer training programs for a major national guarding company. In 1988 she joined the newly formed International Foundation for Protection Officers. In 1991, she was named executive director of the IFPO and has been a driving force in Foundation program development worldwide. She is a Quarter Century member of ASIS International, having served in various executive positions at the chapter level and a member and former chair of the ASIS International Security Services Council and a member of the Women in Security Council.

There are about 80,000 holders of certifications – including the Certified Protection Officer programs, Security Supervision and Management program, Certified in Supervision and Management and professional development opportunities – from the IFPO covering 46 countries, according to Davies. IFPO was founded by Ron Minion, a Canadian security executive. Today, more officers and supervisors are purchasing IFPO programs online. In the spring of 2016, Davies will release a book, Women in the Security Profession, published by Elsevier.



Three Generations Set a History Record


So their car broke down in 1953 in Davenport on the way to Denver, and there was no money to get it fixed. Might as well start a business. And Per Mar Security and Research Corp. continues today working on its third generation of Duffys.

Over the years, marketing research receded as the family entered the security business, expanded to include alarm monitoring and focused on full security services in the firm’s regional area, according to Brad Duffy, grandson of founders John and Eleanor, and president of security officer services.

Per Mar represents the heart of the regional guarding industry as well as its technology-centric future.

It also is a member of the National Security Alliance, a network of 16 locally owned and operated contract security companies who work together to provide customers with services throughout the United States and Canada. “None compete with each other, and we all share best practices,” comments Duffy, who adds that it is important the personnel quality is consistent. “Differentiation is on the management side while technology has gotten much more important, a game changer. Never forget that we are the face of the client company.”

Per Mar is growing. In October, it acquired Northern Safety and Security of Bemidji, Minnesota. Both companies specialize in providing electronic security solutions for their customers. The addition of Northern Safety and Security to the Per Mar customer base continues to build Per Mar’s presence in Minnesota; Per Mar will continue operations in the Bemidji office.



Consolidation at the Top as Guarding Matures


There continues to be consolidation at the top, but it’s a tough business to make money in,” says Robert McCrie.

No one knows the security and guarding industry better than Robert McCrie, professor of security management in the Department of Law, Police Science & Criminal Justice Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York (CUNY). He also is publisher of the Security Letter, the well-regarded semi-monthly newsletter.

When it comes to enhanced services beyond personnel, “it makes sense to use security personnel more fully. Additional skills are more valuable.” Concerning regulations, states for the most part set the rules. “There doesn’t seem to be interest in national legislation,” says McCrie. Although “the largest employer of security officers is the federal government, and they are in a position to set standards.” With a substantial proprietary guarding market, “there continues to be a continual movement to outsourcing,” he adds. Private security “deserves the credit for helping make people safer.”



Special Handling for Special Events


It all starts with planning before the event. “Threat and risk assessment. Plan for the worst. Look at all the details concerning the scope and size of the event,” advises Matthew Horace, senior vice president and chief security officer at FJC Security Services. He suggests that it is often common for planning to begin 12 to 18 months before the event including leadership and structure of the security effort.

Horace believes in three elements: Collaboration, intelligence and precise execution.

“Transportation and traffic need to be considered as does credentialing from simple to complex IDing,” he says. When it comes to security officers, Horace strongly suggests that staffing be geared to people who are used to crowds and are skilled in behavior recognition. “You want alert and adaptive staff who will not escalate situations” where not warranted.

Picking the right clothes for the event also is important, according to the FJC Security Services executive. “It depends on the event and the venue. Polo shirt, blazer, a clean, visible uniform. Often at athletic events, it is a bright yellow jacket.”

Local law enforcement and other agencies may be involved and that calls for collaboration and communications. “It is important that everyone knows who is in control of the event and its security for tactical support and crisis management. Are you ready to evacuate? It is easier said than done,” Horace adds. Public information and media relations must be in place and rehearsals also can be helpful. “These days, it makes sense to track social media, too.”



Real Recognition Makes the Difference


There is more to guarding than observing and reporting, contends Tom Conley, president and CEO, The Conley Group. “Our officers observe, report, react and respond.”

Which is what Lifesaving Medal recipients Sergeant Erik Faust and Security Officer Christopher Di Leonardo did while on patrol. “You can be present or you can be productive. Simply calling 911 doesn’t do it. The lifesaving metal carries an element of risk, too,” says Conley. Recognition not only shines a light on officers but reflects well on the organizations and its clients.

Both officers are combat veterans. In fact, points out Conley, all his supervisors are combat veterans. “They bring valuable training, a level of discipline. You hire character.” And you lead people, Conley says. “Lead vs. manage? You lead people and manage things. Don’t treat people like things. Focus on leadership. A leader is out front showing people where to go. A manager is behind a desk.”



Don’t Forget Mentoring and Succession Planning


While the gap between the biggest guarding firms and the regionals is getting bigger, mentoring and succession planning are solid ways to emphasize the quality of the people you are hiring and the investment you are placing in them, according to David Cullen, president and CEO at Intelligence Security International (ISI), the security consultant firm.

One big reason Cullen sees guarding firms moving aggressively into technology is that “there is a larger markup on technology then there is on guard services.” A case in point: Securitas agreed to acquire the commercial contracts and operational assets of Diebold Incorporated’s electronic security business in North America, and will operate as Securitas Electronic Security Inc. Diebold´s electronic security business, based in Green, Ohio, is the third largest commercial electronic security provider in North America. Today the operation delivers a full spectrum of capabilities including design, build, integration, installation, monitoring and service providing compelling value propositions to customers. The monitoring services include intrusion alarms, fire alarms and sprinklers and monitoring of elevators.

But investing in security officers can also pay dividends. “These men and women protect millions of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. It’s the front line. But you have to seek a balance of people and technology. There are many nuances to the job.” Cullen likes to meet with the CEO of a client company to understand the culture and what is permitted, too.



Universal Protection: First Guardsmark then ABM


It has been a good year for Universal Protection Service.

This summer, the Santa Ana, California, firm, a division of Universal Services of America and a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus and Partners Group, acquired Guardsmark. Based in Memphis, Guardsmark is one of the world’s largest security service companies, with more than 125 offices serving more than 400 cities in the United States of America, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

Then just weeks ago, Universal acquired the ABM Security business. Based in Houston, ABM Security is one of the largest security service providers in the U.S., with offices across the country, and is Safety Act Certified by the Department of Homeland Security.

In an exclusive Securitymagazine interview after the ABM acquisition, Steve Jones, CEO of Universal Services of America, stressed the future of “integrated security. Access control. Video. CyCop is our patented Web-based patrol and reporting tool that gives clients accurate data about their property and security professionals. This technology enables property managers to instantly monitor their security status effectively and hassle-free in real-time.”

Jones adds that success in guarding depends on a “host of services instead of being a one trick pony.”



When Little is a Big Advantage


No doubt. Big companies tend to go with the largest guarding companies which cover multiple markets. But there is something to say for highly personalized and local managed firms. “Fewer customers and the service can spend a lot of time with you,” says Steve Almy, chief operations officer with Virginia-based Top Guard Security and a consultant to contract guarding firms.

Almy points out that it all comes down to the right hire. “There are still plenty of smaller or regional companies. This has been a mature industry for a long time.”



Worldwide Reach Has Advantages


While it has become common for some European firms to reach into the U.S. for acquisitions, it can go the other way, too.

Recently, U.S. Security Associates (USA), through its wholly owned affiliate, Andrews International, acquired Entourage Security Management, one of London’s premier security firms. The globalization of business is leading more and more clients to seek security solutions outside the U.S. borders, and this move establishes a strong foothold for the company in Europe.

Entourage provides uniformed security services, executive protection, special event staffing and security and risk management consultation. Entourage offers custom-tailored programs for high-end clients and unique security profiles and needs. They specialize in corporate, hotel, retail and event security. U.S. Security Associates, through its affiliate Andrews International, has also recently established operations in Honduras and Nicaragua and will soon have a presence in Costa Rica.



Guarding Firms Embrace Veterans


Numerous guarding firms have and continue to welcome veterans.

One example: AlliedBarton Security Services is committed to hiring veterans, reservists, their families and caregivers, and promoting such hiring practices. Their company-wide military hiring program, Hire Our Heroes, is an essential part of the recruiting strategy. About one-third of AlliedBarton’s total employee population consists of veterans.

The men and women who have dedicated themselves to serving make an incredible contribution in the workplace.

Locally and nationally, through their partnership with a number of military assistance groups, they are committed to hiring high quality employees. Guarding firms and security services have found that the nation’s military personnel are well-trained, responsible and dedicated to serving their country and their communities. Reservists and veterans possess the leadership qualities and skills needed to provide the high level of security services that their customers need.

AlliedBarton, for instance, has partnered with a number of military assistance groups:


  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • HireVeterans.com
  • American GI Forum
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Hero 2 Hired
  • Hiring Our Heroes
  • Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
  • The National Guard


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