Industry veteran assembles American Video and Security

A-1 Security's former GM in acquisition mode
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

LAS VEGAS--In the past six months, Larry Folsom, a former part-owner of A-1 Security here, has acquired the assets and the top talent of two local companies and folded them into a new company called American Video and Security.

His goal is to build a commercially focused security company, by acquiring solid, small to mid-sized independent companies.

Folsom, who sold his ownership stake in A-1 in 2007, said the conventional wisdom for someone in his spot may be to buy a large company and try to grow it.

However, there is now what Folsom calls "a new normal" here in Las Vegas. This city was growing like crazy until it was hit hard by the building bust, and the conventional wisdom has changed. Giant commercial jobs are no longer plentiful, and leveraging yourself to buy a big company just doesn't seem to make sense, he said.

Instead, Folsom purchased the assets of two smaller, well-established companies: American Video Surveillance and J and L Security.

In business since 1994, American Video Surveillance did large commercial security and fire business (including doing CCTV for customers like the Mirage Hotel). Like others, it had suffered in recent years because of the construction slowdown. "We acquired the name, accounts and preventative maintenance accounts," Folsom said. More importantly, though, he brought on former owner Mel Davis and his lead installer Mike Gans. "They bring a sphere of influence," Folsom said. Customers know and respect them and that keeps the customers coming back.

"If you know Mel, you respect Mel and the work they've done over the years. We've had people call us and say my 10-year-old DVR just gave up the ghost, can you come over and replace it?"

He chose American Video and Security as the name for his new company because he wanted to use the logo from Davis's former company. "That logo means something to people."

Folsom purchased J and L in August. It's a 10-year old company that did 50/50 residential and light commercial. Former owner, John Vaccarino, has joined AVS.

AVS now has $16,000 in RMR and a staff of 11 (Folsom says there's lots of good talent looking for work).

"It's my vision to take the smaller companies and put them together," he said. It works for the former owners like Vaccarino and Davis "who make more money and have less headaches." With their "spheres of influence [and the assets of the two companies combined] they're stronger together than as independents."