Former Honeywell president Ron Rothman joins AFA Protective

New York integrator attracts marquee talent, looks to grow topline revenue 20+ percent
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SYOSSET, N.Y.—Ron Rothman, who recently retired as president of Honeywell Security Group after a 32-year career, will join New York integration firm AFA Protective, based here, as SVP in August.

Rothman told Security Systems News he’s excited to join AFA, which he called “a terrific business with outstanding leadership and a long history of quality and integrity over the decades.”

“Helping my customers to succeed was my goal at Honeywell and now I’ll get to help AFA do that,” he said. In contrast to running a global operation, Rothman’s new role will allow him to work more closely as an integrator and directly with end user customers. “I love new challenges and learning new things and I’m very excited and happy to be taking on this new role.”

Robert Kleinman, CEO of AFA, told SSN that Rothman will oversee branch operation, business development and M&A. Kleinman said he expects Rothman “to take our branch sales operations to new levels.”

Photo: Ron Rothman

Based here, AFA has been in business for more than 100 years. It is a public company, but the Kleinman family owns a large percentage of the stock. It did $80 million in sales in 2014 and $2.5 in RMR. The company has 18 offices on the East Coast.

Historically AFA has been a fire alarm company and “that’s still a very important component of what we do, particularly in the Northeast,” Kleinman said. Today AFA is a full service security company that does a lot of CCTV, access control and some video analytics work. Its newer branch offices in the Mid-Atlantic “have a more traditional mix of commercial and resi,” he said.

AFA also has a growing national accounts business with several name-brand customers in vertical markets such as pharmaceutical, big box retail and high-end retail.  

Asked about revenue goals, Kleinman said he’d like to increase “topline revenue by 20- to 25 percent and recurring by 15- to 20 percent in a four- to five year period—whether that’s through acquisitions or organic growth, I don’t care,” he said.

Kleinman said he does not have any acquisitions in the pipeline currently, but he’s definitely interested “if the right property comes along.” He also said that he expects that Rothman’s “contacts within the industry will help with acquisitions.”

Rothman officially left Honeywell in June. Asked about his short retirement, Rothman said what looks like a short retirement has actually been a six-month-plus transition. Rothman said he made the decision to step down as president of Honeywell Security Group at the end of 2014 and he spent the following six months traveling around the Americas with his replacement David Paja and Inder Reddy, president Honeywell Security Products Americas, “introducing them to customers.”

Rothman said he loved working for Honeywell and the global business but that he decided to step down after his wife, Sally, had a health scare 18 months ago. Rothman said his wife is doing very well now, but that at the end of last year “I made the decision that I wanted to do something that did not have global travel involved.”

He said that Honeywell “is a wonderful company and they have been just great to me and my family.”

Rothman started his career with Pittway in the early 80s and has been with the company ever since. He said he was fortunate to work with “two industry icons” Leo Guthart and Roger Fradin early in his career. The second half of his career was demarcated when Honeywell purchased Pittway in 2000, Rothman said. At that point, “I became immersed in the global business environment,” he said.

Rothman said he “enjoyed the best of both worlds in his first 32 years in security, first as an entrepreneur at Ademco and then as a corporate exec at Honeywell” and he’s looking forward to the next chapter of his security career at AFA.