Industry Vet Starts GHS Interactive Security, Acquires LifeLine Security

By Ashley Willis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — GHS Interactive Security, a recently formed company by industry veteran Steve Baker, has acquired LifeLine Security and Automation for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2005 by Gordon Johnson and John Fox, LifeLine, based here, also has offices in Emeryville, Calif., and Fresno, Calif. With about 50 employees, the company uses a year-round door-to-door sales model. After four years as a top-selling member of Monitronics’ dealer program — which required LifeLine to sell the majority of its accounts to the wholesale monitoring provider — Johnson and Fox decided it was time to venture on their own.

Enter Baker, who formerly served in executive roles at ADT, Monitronics and Westec. He started GHS explicitly to acquire LifeLine, build an organization and execute a long-term business plan with the company’s founders. New York-based Topspin Partners, a private equity firm started by former Honeywell executive Leo Guthart, provided GHS with an undisclosed amount of equity capital to get the firm started. Additionally, GHS received a $20 million loan facility from Barclays Private Credit Partners Fund.

As part of the deal, GHS will retain all accounts it originates.

“We had been seeking an equity partner for a while,” Johnson tells SSI. “We didn’t find equity partners because John and I like the Monitronics program or model. It was just time for us to go on to the next step, which was self-funding and holding onto the accounts ourselves.”

Additionally, LifeLine, which earned the 2013 SAMMY Award for Best Sales Brochure, will rebrand as GHS in an effort to trademark the company.

“By trademarking, we won’t have any issues as we grow and expand,” Johnson says.

Baker will serve as GHS’ president, while Johnson and Fox will be part of the executive and will lead the company’s sales efforts. Additionally, Craig Weingartner will serve as CFO and John Bergher will serve as vice president of marketing and customer care. All members of the executive team are investors in the company.

GHS is wasting no time growing its business. Next month the company will open a branch in Dallas, and in 60 days the firm expects to launch operations in Las Vegas.

“We’re growing so fast, and we have such huge growth planned over the next two years that’s going to be continual,” Johnson says. “In the next year and a half, we’re going to Phoenix, Houston, Austin, maybe San Antonio and all through Southern California. It’s going to be a wild ride.”

GHS still intends to use its door-knocking sales model to accumulate new business. However, Johnson says, GHS’ model is not like the traditional summer-sales model in which companies often hire college-aged students and send them out on their own to drum up business. Rather, GHS sends out a team of five, including an experienced team leader, to reach potential clients, which adds to the quality of the firm’s customer service, he says.

“Each team has a manager who’s been with us for a long period of time,” Johnson says. “Instead of sending out our employees on their own, the managers go with them, which really helps with customers understanding what’s going on.”

Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION magazine. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters