Guard, electronic security go hand-in-hand at Vector

Monday, November 1, 2004

PITTSBURGH- Vector Security has significantly increased its guard business thanks to its recent purchase of Firm Security, a guard and electronic security provider with offices here and in Philadelphia.

The acquisition is a strategic move for Vector Security in the guard market since it enables it to double its guard base to 400 and add guard service for a new area. Vector Security, a company more widely known for its 140,000 electronic security customers, has been providing security guards and guard patrols since 1999 when it bought AAA Protection. But its guard service has mainly focused on eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.

“It provided us and afforded us the opportunity to expand our guard and patrol division into western Pennsylvania, where we weren’t before,” said Vince DiValerio, president of acquisitions for Vector Security about the purchase of Firm Security.

Vector Security bought Firm Security in July, but the transaction was not announced until early October. The purchase price was not released.

Since its inception in 1967, Firm Security has offered both guard and electronic security. At the time of its sale, the company employed 176 people in the guard division, plus 30 people in its electronic security division.

Vector Security has retained the company’s employee base in the guard division, but only a few technicians and employees from Firm Security’s central station remain onboard. The company’s owner, Chuck Keefer, left the company to pursue other interests and Firm Security’s central station was closed.

For Firm Security, joining up with Vector Security provides the company with additional growth potential, plus the ability to leverage the Vector name with customers, according to Tom Beitler, former executive vice president of Firm Security. Beitler is now general manager of Vector Security’s Pittsburgh-based uniformed services.

The purchase of Firm Security coincides with Vector Security looking to grow its guard business into new markets. According to Danette Tizkowski, who heads Vector’s eastern Pennsylvania guard services program, the company is considering offering guard services in New Jersey and West Virginia.

Along with carving out new territories to serve, Vector Security also expects to tap into the natural synergies of offering electronic security and guard services together.

“It’s a model we’re building,” according to Dave Merrick, marketing director of Vector Security.

The reason is that some customers want a service provider who can provide a range of services. “You see more and more companies looking for one company to supply all types of security,” said Tizkowski.

Pairing guard and electronic security together also enables Vector Security to provide a better service, said Merrick.

“It eliminates passing the buck,” said Merrick.