ISR Solutions gets a boost after funding

A $17. 5 million investment last year enabled various improvements
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Tuesday, April 1, 2003

CHANTILLY, Va. - A year after landing $17.5 million in financing from venture capital company The Carlyle Group, systems integrator ISR Solutions has put several measures into place to better manage projects, provide additional education to its technicians and reinvigorate some existing branches.

As a result, company officials expect to grow the business from a more than $40 million company today to a $200 million company in five years.

“It really allowed us to strengthen the company internally,” said Hollis McLoughlin, who was brought on board last year as executive vice president to manage ISR Solutions. “Our reporting structure, our internal systems are much, much stronger today than a year ago.”

While the 13-location company will likely look towards additional locations in the future, for now the plan has been improving existing operations.

One change at ISR Solutions involved adding a single estimating bid system at all of its locations to manage projects. The system provides the company with checks and balances to make sure materials and labor stay on budget for each project. And now, bids of a certain dollar value require review by management.

“We have implemented better systems to control the business,” said Joe Costa, president of ISR Solutions and a 27-year veteran of the security industry.

As a result of McLoughlin coming on board, along with new chief financial officer Kevin Thimjon, Costa can concentrate on customers and consultants, said McLoughlin. “That frees up Joe, literally 95 percent of the time, to really concentrate on growing the business,” he said.

This past year ISR Solutions stepped up its employee training a notch by increasing employees networking expertise. The plan is to better integrate security systems and provide enterprise class solutions.

“We’re making sure that all of our people are certified on all of the product lines that we sell and support,” said Costa. “We’re starting to do more with smart cards and biometrics and the integration of all that.”

Part of that expertise is being applied to a pilot program ISR Solutions is participating in called The GSA Pilot Program for the Biometric Smart Card System. The company began working on the project nine months ago.

While Costa could not provide details about the program, he said it involves working with smart card systems for government agencies.

On the branch side, company officials have placed a heavy emphasis on growing on the East Coast. Locations were added in New Jersey, Tampa, Fla., and Atlanta last year, along with additional technicians and project managers brought in at several key locations. The additions were offset by the elimination of several positions on the accounting and administrative side, keeping its number of employees around the 200 mark.

“We have more people that are actually on the job,” said McLoughlin.

Additional locations could also be in ISR Solutions’ future, said McLoughlin, in the East Coast market. Company officials will look at both acquisitions or opening a location on its own if the correct person comes along.

“If we find a quality company, and a market that we’re not in that fits with us culturally, we will acquire,” he said. “That obviously helps accelerate your growth.”