Universal Protection arrives in Denver

Guard/integration firm will bring systems unit next year
Friday, June 1, 2007

DENVER--Universal Protection Service, a $170 million company doing roughly 93 percent of its revenues in guarding and the rest in systems integration, has opened its fourth state operation here, adding to offices in California, Washington and Arizona. Based in Santa Ana, Calif., Universal Protection specializes in securing commercial office buildings and comes to Denver with a contract to secure 1.2 million square feet of commercial office space for CB Richard Ellis, one of the country's larger commercial real estate brokers.
The company will lead with its guarding operation, said chief operations officer Steve Jones, and will follow with some systems integration employees in "a year or so." Jones said the systems division is only seven years old and most of its business is currently near its Southern California homebase.
After 10 years of 25 percent annual revenue growth on the guarding side, "the first goal was to get the [systems integration] platform set up," said Jones. "I think we've done that now, and we're going to see significant growth in that segment as well."
Jones believes Universal's model of pairing guard services with systems integration gives him a leg up. "We leverage those synergies every day," he said, "We lean on systems for a lot of training in regard to access control systems, camera systems, different things that are going on in the industry. Systems lean on the guards to do systems checkups so we can proactively send technicians out before we even get a customer call."
"We see it as a tremendous opportunity," he said. "The majority of our competitors, the big guard firms, they're not doing that."
He cited Security Forces as another guard firm doing significant business in integration in the United States.
The model seems to be moderately more popular in Canada. John Van Schepen, speaking just after he'd taken over as president of Intercon Security, based in Toronto, said the model lent him more credibility with the end user.
"I would have thought that more and more security guard companies would get into systems integration," Jones said, "but I haven't seen that. I think it's just because it's a completely different business segment and you go to market in completely different ways."