UPDATED: The Texas tour–Day 2… Texas messes back

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06/04/2010

onthego3

Well, let me preface this by saying this will be, initially, just a bare-bones post. I’ll flesh it out with more art, more specifics and more Texas-sized hijinks with associate publisher Gregg Shapiro in the morning.

The headline for this particular post doesn’t really mean anything… Just that it’s been a very long, but productive and enjoyable day. I’ve managed to go over all my notes and get them separated out and filed according to topic and potential story. Gregg and I had dinner this evening with Michael Lagow and SGI Director of marketing Brian Cates. We talked a lot about their nascent plans for expanding their portfolio of services as well as the future of video.

I’ve gone through a LOT of pics from a combination of my cell phone, my camera and security execs’ phones & cameras.

Here’s the command center SGI built for their technology partner Stealth Monitoring. Nice place.

cmdctr

I have to go to bed because I have a big day tomorrow with the folks at NMC. However, today was devoted to SGI Protective Services, Stealth Monitoring and Monitronics.

Michael Lagow et al over at SGI really started things off right today. I showed up at their new digs (I wrote about their big move last year) and noticed the digital sign board behind the reception desk sported a big, flashy welcome message specifically for me. “Welcome, Security Systems News!” It said… Hey man, that was pretty neat… I mean, as a trade journalist, I’m pretty used to the rock star reception I get everywhere I go (please note the air of tongue-in-cheek), but it’s still nice to receive that kind of welcome!

I signed in and was welcomed to sit in the comfy reception area while the receptionist got me a cup of coffee and I checked my laptop, notepad and voice recorder. The first thing I noticed was that these new digs were fly. I mean they are beautiful… I’ve been to a number of security companies and central stations and command centers, and the new space (they’re actually still finishing up the 2nd floor walk-throughs to the Stealth Monitoring side) at SGI combined a lot of different little elements… It’s just industrial enough–with muted earth tones and grays and blacks and clean lines and lots of glass and metal–in concert with organic touches from furniture, art and spaces that invite sitting and lounging… I found out later the recently occupied space–once gutted–was placed in the capable hands of SGI director of marketing Brian Cates (who also runs his own architectural/interior design business). Brian beamed as he showed us around the facility, which felt like it was all business, all home, all high-tech… “I wanted to make it feel like a day-home,” Brian said as he showed us the sitting area outside Michael’s office.

I met with many of the executives at SGI including Michael, Brian, VP of ops Shelly Anderson, VP of engineering Max Cook, and former Dallas Police Chief Bill Rathburn who is the spokesman for SGI’s background check division PBS. Rathburn teleconferenced in from the road and discussed the importance of being a one-stop shop and offering a total, tailored solution.

I also met Jim Gang who heads up 21st Century, an engineering company that R&Ds and produces armored vehicles for military deployment and personal protection. Jim and Michael are in the process of working out a partnership which will allow SGI to further the complexity of solutions it can tailor and offer clients. I won’t do Jim the disservice of trying to explain the technology that guy’s cooking up in his Dallas facility. I’m not an engineer. The armored Ford pickup he showed me, however was impressive. Trucks just like it have been saving lives in war situations. In fact, Jim’s product has an impeccable track record with zero fatalities. I read an email from a grateful soldier who walked away from an IED (improvised explosive device) detonation at 12 feet from his vehicle with a couple scratches. Impressive stuff.

 Me and Jim Gang with one of Safeguard's guards in front of the armored vehicle, which can withstand a 50 Cal armor piercing round from point blank range.  
Me and Jim Gang with one of Safeguard's security officers in front of the armored vehicle, which can withstand a 50 Cal armor piercing round from point blank range.  

While with Michael earlier in the day, I got to tour one of their security officer training sessions, which was cool. We were pressed for time, otherwise I think I would have offered myself up for taser training. We WERE pressed for time, however, so I watched a little of the “how to cuff and stuff” action and we moved on. We were slated to tour the production facility where Jim Gang develops and tests (read blows up) his composite armor materials. I was really looking forward to seeing some stuff blown up.

Gregg and I caught up with Michael again later that day for dinner, which was also excellent. Jasper’s had an amazing appetizer that was basically homemade potato chips with blue cheese… fantastic. I got the surf and turf with goat cheese potatoes and Butterfinger creme brule for dessert. Again, I say, fantastic.

On second thought, looking back at the pics, I can’t lie and say that I wish I’d let training director Rob Deanda man-handle me… it didn’t look like fun.\

Security officer training director Rob Deanda about to lay the smack down with the cuff and stuff.   And director Deanda actually laying the smack down.
Security officer training director Rob Deanda about to lay the smack down with the cuff and stuff.   And director Deanda actually laying the smack down.

Look for more news on Safeguard Security in the future.

In the middle of my Safeguard Security day, Gregg and I took some time to visit with Monitronics and get a tour of their grounds and central station. Mitch showed us around the new Monix dealer training center. It was nice and had a homey feel. Mitch said his intent was to make dealers feel at home, help them to enjoy the mandatory training and realize that THEY were the element that made the difference.

monix

Mitch hinted that there may be some exciting technology news from the the Monitronics camp come ESX. Stay tuned.

Comments

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<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 5th, 2010 at 8:32 pm </span></span></p>
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<p>[...] of you who have been following along with this blog know associate publisher Gregg Shapiro and I had some crazy times down there in the land where [...]</p>
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<div class="commentbody">
<p class="comment_author"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 5th, 2010 at 2:24 pm </span></span></p>
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<p>[...] blogged recently about my second day in Texas and my meeting with Safeguard Security. The day 3 wrap-up, complete [...]</p>
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