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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

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About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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