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How the ‘Best’ Are Beating the Economic Blues

SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine talks with leadership at five highly skilled installation firms about how their companies have been affected by the recession and ongoing economic challenges.

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The upcoming July edition of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION is our annual Best of the Best Issue, featuring 10 of the industry’s best-run businesses and most highly skilled installation firms. In interviewing leadership from all of these tremendous organizations, one of the things I asked was how their companies have been affected by the recession and ongoing economic challenges. What’s apparent is they embody the survival of the fittest philosophy in that all of them were well managed enough at the onset of the downturn to weather it and because of that are also emerging from it stronger than ever before. Here is what some of them had to say ...

Jeremy Bates, GM, Bates Security
“You would not know there was a recession based on our performance the last several years. Sales have increased every year. The size of our company in revenue and employees has also grown significantly.”

Mark Recene, VP Sales & Marketing, HS Technology Group<p>HS Technology Group taking part in one of the many volunteer activities in which the firm engages.</p>
“We performed a large percentage of work for several production builders in our area, two of which declared bankruptcy and left HST handling the clean-up. We were fortunate to be able to bounce back and pick up work with more custom builders, as well as develop relationships with trade partners in the commercial security and integration business. We now have a steady work flow of commercial work coming from several architects, electrical contractors and general contractors in our area. We do our best to manage our cash flow and work with our new partners with credit and financing terms as to not put HST in a similar position. We have learned that there are many ways to reduce risk.”


<p>Members of Per Mar Security Services' IT team show off the company's 2012 SSI Installer of the Year award.</p>Dean Guyette, COO, Per Mar Security Services
“We were very fortunate to maintain our current level of staffing without impacting anyone’s employment. We took the approach that we would retool, evaluate and improve all processes so that when the economy improved we would be ahead of most. Overall, we did see a decline in larger projects but saw an increase in the need for people wanting residential security due to increased levels of crime in their markets. In general, we were able to better prepare ourselves and come out of the economical challenge stronger.”


<p>Protex Central has been growing steadily and recently opened this branch location.</p>Shawn Mullen, President & Chief Energy Officer, Protex Central
“In many respects, the fire system business is somewhat recession-proof.  Since fire systems are required by either local codes or insurance companies, the systems must be in place and maintained. While no guarantee against recession, Protex Central anticipated the slowdown in the new construction markets and invested heavily in a single-source inspection and maintenance program to garner fixed-price service contracts. In addition to moderating the challenging business environment, this program and produced consistent and profitable upgrade and replacement work.”


<p>Stanley CSS spent much of 2011 expanding its portfolio of offerings as well as growing its footprint through strategic acquisitions.</p>Felix Gonzales, VP Strategic Initiatives & Business Development,    Stanley CSS
“Due to the current economic condition we continue to challenge and evaluate every initiative; pushing everyone to be more diligent with every dollar spent. Each program or campaign is tracked for ROI and overall effectiveness. For instance, to save on travel costs we make great use of video conferencing especially when working with team members across international borders.”

Scott Goldfine

Article Topics
General Industry · Installation and Service · Interviews · Management · Blogs · Business · Installation · Management · operations · Under Surveillance · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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