Koorsen launches growth strategy with OEP buy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS--Koorsen Fire and Security, a large independent integrator based here, has acquired Columbus-based integrator Ohio Electronic Protection, and company officials say it's hopefully just the beginning of more acquisitions geared at increasing the company's security business.

Curt Wellington, OEP president, will remain with the company, as will most of OEP's 13 employees.

"Curt's an ex-Honeywell guy," said Koorsen president Rick Tiemann. "He built OEP into a nice, small company, and it's a great fit with us. What his company values, we value, and he was interested in hooking on with a larger company he could grow with. We're tickled he's staying with us."

"They had a nice book of business that fit with what we were doing already," said Skip Sampson, Koorsen vice president of security integration. The OEP staff will be moved to Koorsen's existing Columbus office.

Sampson and Tiemann elaborated that while Koorsen has traditionally been much heavier in the fire business than security, that's beginning to change, and "Columbus is the first of what we hope to be a few more acquisitions," Sampson said, as Koorsen looks to grow its security business in certain of its 20 offices.

"We think there's a lot of opportunity in the mid-to-high-level systems out there," said Tiemann, "and we think service is the key to that."

And while some of that might be new video monitoring, virtual guard touring, or access control management, much of it is "just plain old comprehensive service contracts," said Sampson. "For so long, it's just been 'run to failure.' As systems have gotten more sophisticated, there has to be a plan to manage service in place, so they don't fail ... Can they go a few hours without a card reader? Well, we say they can't."

Going forward, Tiemann said Koorsen will be looking to acquire in the four states where its offices are most concentrated--Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. "We want to be able to service our customers from a very strong regional perspective," he said.