Acquisition transition

Sentinel adjusting to Certified buyout
Sunday, August 1, 2004

CHICAGO - Things have changed for Sentinel Security.

The medium-sized, once independently run alarm company, has been acquired by Certified Security.

Pat Gaffney, who founded Sentinel, is finding the progression to being owned by a larger organization somewhat challenging. “It’s a complete rethink from where you’ve been,” Gaffney said.

But Gaffney’s decision to stay onboard as the Long Grove, Ill-based company’s general manager may ease the transition. In addition, he plans on keeping the company’s four employees on staff.

“There will be no changes of any concern to customers or staff that get in the way of doing what we’ve done,” Gaffney said. “Now, we’re in the process of integrating our businesses together, which is a bit daunting because this is a large change.”

Sentinel brings 600 mostly residential accounts to Certified Security’s mainly commercial footprint. The company, which is also in the midst of acquiring other security businesses to expand its reach in the Midwest and beyond (see related story), currently has 2,000 subscribers. Jay Rutili, chief executive officer, expects that number to rise to 4,000 through additional acquisitions and expansions.

“We want to build a regional, high-quality operating company,” Rutili said.

And building that entity comes from acquiring quality companies, Rutili noted. He said Sentinel’s reputation in the market was a reason he was interested in the prospect of joining forces. “They have high quality residential and commercial customers.”

With the acquisition of Sentinel, Certified has moved ino a geographic area where it had limited presence previously. It also gives Sentinel additional resources - such as sales and marketing dollars - to grow the business.

“We’ve expanded their footprint because now they are in a place they weren’t before and couldn’t be if it wasn’t for us,” Gaffney said.