Vector buys talent with CSS purchase

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Friday, December 11, 2009

PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Along with 17,000 accounts, 30,000 customers and four offices, Vector’s Dec. 9 acquisition of Certified Security Systems brings with it personnel and experience that Vector CEO John Murphy said are “at a premium these days.”

“Our primary goal is to combine forces with the brains and enthusiasm of John [Sheridan] and Joe [Hassan] and grow in this market together,” Murphy said.

Asked why this move makes sense for Vector now, Murphy laughed and said, “If you knew how long we’ve been courting these guys …”

Hassan and Sheridan will both join Vector, as will the entire 80-person staff of Certified Security Systems. Hassan and Sheridan will both become VPs of Vector’s Florida District.

“John has already met with our key national accounts people and Joe has met with the folks that run our national account business. I’m not a big believer in synergy,” Murphy said, “but I am a big believer in combining similar talents. We’ve got some similar talents here and it’s going to help us in Florida and it’s going to help us in other areas as well.”

Vector operates in 14 states; it expanded its dealer network in the South last year in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Certified has four offices in Florida: in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Coast. CSS has expertise in residential security for gated communities, particularly around the Fort Lauderdale office, and it has a concentration of commercial customers in the Jacksonville area.

Murphy credited Vince Divalerio, Vector’s VP of acquisitions, with “championing this deal on both sides.” Hassan said he was approached by several suitors who wanted to acquire Certified. With Vector, “we can continue to keep the same level of commitment to our customers, but we’ll have better opportunities for our employee base,” he said.

Sheridan said Certified will look to Vector “for support on the technical as well as the sales side to grow our business.”

“Over the years, Vector has built a very good business model [capable of] analyzing our business in real time,” Murphy said. Implementing these modeling and IT tools at Certified, he added, will accelerate Certified’s growth “and bottom-line profitability.”

Murphy expects Vector’s RMR to grow 18 percent in 2009 and “we’re looking at 20 percent-plus for 2010.” The growth will be organic, from the Vector’s dealer program and from “select acquisitions like Certified,” he said. Asked about his business strategy over the next year, he said, “My strategy is to hire all the smart people in the industry [to work at Vector where] we can offer better service than anyone else.”