How can you get your piece of the stimulus pie?
CANTON, Ohio—Buckeye Protective Services CEO Ray Jones said staying not only alive, but thriving, in a tough economy was a matter of tenacity. Jones’ company recently received $60,000 of federal stimulus money to help his company grow through the creation of jobs. The opportunity, provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, could be there for many other security companies, as well, the only thing standing in the way being the willingness or lack thereof of a CEO to do some research.
Jones said it really is just a matter of being willing to pick up the phone and make a few calls. “We applied through the city. They were offering the money to anyone who could create more jobs within the city limits,” Jones said. “We’ve already progressed considerably into the central station for video monitoring and made a great investment into it—that was a requirement, that we put some of our own money into growing.” Jones said Buckeye hasn’t actually received the check yet, but that he has invested nearly $100,000 in renovations and improvements to the inside and outside of Buckeye’s headquarters and has been promised the stimulus money.
Jones said Buckeye would be able to use the money to upgrade hardware and software in his central station and create six new positions, including operators and IT people. “Everything is IP these days, and I’m too old to understand all that. I gotta have somebody to tell me how to do all that,” Jones added.
Canton Community Improvement Corporation deputy director Linda Barnes worked with Buckeye to administer the stimulus funds. “The stimulus funding from the federal government is really divided into a number of pots and administered by a wide variety of federal and state agencies. The funds Buckeye received were from a pot under the community development block grant program through HUD,” Barnes said. “The good news is there may be dollars out there, but the flip side is that there are some requirements to secure those dollars.”
Jones advised anyone wishing to reap the benefits of federal stimulus money to start at the local level. “Contact the city or county that you’re operating from to see if they have anything available,” Jones said. “Start there and if there isn’t any available, go through the state—senator, representative—someone will be able to point you in the right direction. We were fortunate that when we contacted the city, they said, ‘Hey we have this money available.’”
Information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 can be found at www.recovery.gov.
Buckeye Protective Services was started in 1944 and was bought by Jones’ father Don Jones in 1970. When Don Jones took over the company, he had 10 employees. Buckeye now employs about 400, 75 percent of whom are full time. In addition to the central station, Buckeye has a substantial guarding business. Buckeye’s central station monitors alarm systems for more than 100 alarm companies.