Benfield Electric creates security supplier from scratch

Electricians’ security product requests prompts Benfield to open a security division
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Friday, August 1, 2003

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - An electrical and datacom product distributor has recently opened a security distribution division here, an addition expected to help the company’s 2,500 customers in the New York area gain an entrance into the security market.

The creation of Benfield Security Supply by Benfield Electric Supply Co., an $82 million distribution company, came earlier this summer with the hiring of Glenn Tompkins, a veteran of the security industry with 26 years of product distribution experience. Tompkins most recently worked for ADI, while previous employers included King Alarm and Security Wherehouse.

Benfield officials decided to open the security distribution business after current customers, mostly electrical contractors, began asking for security products. It marks Benfield Electric’s fifth division, with distribution businesses also in the electrical wholesale, datacom, lighting and control and power distribution markets.

“The electrical, data and security markets are slowly integrating and we think that many electrical contractors will get more involved in the security business,” said Dan McLaughlin, executive vice president of Benfield Electric.

Though only a few months old, Benfield Security Supply has already signed on 120 vendors. Pelco, GRI, EverFocus, Altronix, Crow, Edwards, Silent Witness and Visonic are some of the manufacturers in the market providing the company with security products.

For now, Benfield Security intends to target its parent company’s current customer base. Ninety percent of the company’s business is located in the five boroughs and four northern suburbs of New York City from locations in Patterson, Suffern, Long Island City and here.

“Our target is the electrical contractor. We’re not even targeting the alarm industry because competitors are already doing it,” said Tompkins.

McLaughlin, however, would not rule out possibly expanding the company’s reach to include traditional security installers. “We have over 2,500 active customers, so we look at it as a start,” said McLaughlin. “We want to service them before we look at a new customer base.”

The plan is to educate and train electrical contractors on security products.

Tompkins is now formatting a series of seminars to train customers and the company’s existing sales team.