5 Security Stars Join Hall’s Galaxy of Greats
Selfless leaders of two of the most respected family run installation and monitoring companies, a legal crusader for the security industry and its businesses, a pioneering alarm company owner and co-founder of the principal trade association, and an executive unsurpassed in boosting national providers’ fortunes are elected to SSI‘s Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement. Their stories elicit admiration, awe and inspiration.
President and CEO, Protection 1
Keys to Success
“I believe the quality of your questions is a direct result of the quality of your performance. So I am very curious, ask a lot of questions, love data to provide the answers and insights, and continually stretch myself to learn more on topics about the business and outside the industry. I also attribute my success to the people I put around me like the talented people I am fortunate to work with at P1. Dave Donnini and the crew at GTCR have also played a significant role in building my career. I value the partnership we’ve created, the insights they bring to looking at our industry and the trust they put in me to run the operations based on my knowledge and experience.”
Top Challenge of a Challenging Career
“One of my greatest challenges was the separation of Honeywell Security from Honeywell. We had a very short window and literally had to build a business from the ground up. This was a $150 million in annual revenue-sized company that required an entirely new infrastructure — new HR systems, new IT systems, new accounting systems. We had to do all that, while providing great service to our customers. It was a very intense period. I dealt with it by making sure I put the right people around me. Don Young, who I have worked with the longest, is simply the best in this space and brilliant when it comes to IT. Dan Bresingham was just starting his career with me as the controller. He had the mental toughness and know-how. It was a whirlwind and I am very proud of the team’s accomplishments.”
Things People Might Not Know
“I am a huge Sparty fan [Michigan State University]. I am also a big dog lover. My golden retrievers, Morgan and Killian, have been faithful companions for 10 years, until we recently lost Morgan. I have been a ‘big brother’ the past five years to a young man in the Chicago area. As with anything, you get out what you put in and this kid is just fun to be around. I get to be a positive role model in his life and he gets to teach me a few things along the way too.”
Projecting a Positive Outlook
“In almost any situation, someone is going to win — even in trying economic times. I believe I am going to win. Between myself and my team I know we can outwork issues. I remain realistic, but positive. The responsibility I have to others drives me. There are people depending on having a place to work and grow. I owe it to them to create a company where they have job security, and can thrive professionally and personally. It is motivating knowing you can impact lives, families and communities building a profitable company that puts people first.”
Why He’s Going Into the Hall< /p>
- Nearly 40 years of industry experience, most notably as one of the industry’s most visible, respected and successful installation and monitored services executive leaders and company builders involved in several historic transactions
- Spent 10+ years with SecurityLink beginning in 1990 as a service manager and ultimately president and COO, and then was instrumental helping the business (and other properties under the name Cambridge Protection Industries) be sold to Tyco/ADT for $1 billion, remaining in senior management and running ADT’s Six Sigma program until 2004
- Reteamed with private equity firm GTCR and SSI Hall of Famer Jim Covert (both also involved in SecurityLink sale) to serve as president and COO after Honeywell’s Security Monitoring division (HSM) was acquired for $315.5 million, dramatically improving the business’ profitability
- Helped develop management tool known as the “Scorecard,” focusing on key business metrics to improve effectiveness and efficiencies, which has been admired and emulated throughout the industry
- Played key role preparing HSM for $545 million sale to Stanley Works in 2007, where he served as COO of Stanley Works’ Convergent Security Solutions division until 2008
- Once again combined forces with GTCR to become president and CEO of Protection 1 following its $892 million sale and being taken private in 2010
- Has quickly repositioned Protection 1 as a prominent commercial national accounts and integrated services provider, facilitated rapid growth and been involved in several acquisitions
- Tenures at HSM, Stanley CSS and P1 have included companies being honored with multiple industry accolades, including SSI’s Integrated Installation of the Year, Installer of the Year and several SAMMY (Sales & Marketing) Awards
The Whall File
- Born in Detroit in 1961
- One of four siblings, father was a police officer who started a guard business that evolved into electronic security (Whall Security), mother also worked in the business
- Married 30 years to Barbara, with three daughters
- Daughter Kelli also works at Protection 1
- Earned bachelor’s degree in business from Michigan State University
- Learned about alarm industry from childhood, working alongside siblings in father’s security business, Whall Security
- Says if career had taken different path might have gone into sports coaching
- Has done marathons and other running events with daughter Shawn
- Other interests include family activities, paddle boarding and hiking
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