Jim Covert

SSI Hall Of Fame: 2005

Why He’s On the List:

  • Unrivaled ability to secure investors and banking
  • Strong track record of turning security businesses around from losses to profitability
  • Raised expectations and perceptions of the value of well-run alarm companies to investor community
  • Proven as an uncommonly successful independent operator and consolidator through many years and transactions, within and outside the U.S.

Something People Might Not Know: Was a successful rhythm guitarist and songwriter for Chess Records in Chicago during the 1960s

Most Memorable Moment: “More than 20 years ago, while I was working for API [Alarm Systems], a woman came into and thanked everyone for responding to a fire alarm that led to the rescue of her unconscious 8-year-old daughter. It saved her little girl’s life. It was a great reminder of how important what we do really is.”

How Things Have Changed: “The switch from mechanical equipment to digital. This has allowed much greater service and reductions in equipment pricing.”

What the Future Holds: “I have always been amazed that for an industry where people need our products so much, there are so few financially successful large operators. I believe consolidation will continue, and eventually large consolidators will get it right and will become extremely profitable.”

Reaction to Being Inducted: “I would like to be remembered as a very successful operator, as opposed to a consolidator – I am not just a guy who buys and sells companies. I’ve completed more than 160 acquisitions in my career and never had a lawsuit. I think that says a lot. As for being inducted, I am sincerely honored and humbled to be included with names I believe were much more instrumental in the industry than me.”

Career Highlights:

  • In 1968, served as criminal investigator during Vietnam War
  • From 1970-78, was a member of the Secret Service White House detail under presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter
  • In 1979, provided security consulting for the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • As operations manager from 1980-86, led California’s API Alarm Systems through more than 20 acquisitions
  • Founded SecurityLink Midwest Corp. in 1987
  • Sold SecurityLink to Ameritech Corp. in 1994, staying on as president through 1996
  • Founded Signature Security Group in 1996 with operations throughout Australasia
  • Bought back SecurityLink from SBC Communications in 2000 for $475 million
  • In 2001, sold Cambridge Protection Industries, including SecurityLink, to Tyco Int’l for $1 billion
  • Became chairman/CEO of Honeywell Security Monitoring after its 2004 purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner

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