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40 under 40: Zach McDougall, Palmetto Security Systems

40 under 40: Zach McDougall, Palmetto Security Systems

40 under 40: Zach McDougall, Palmetto Security Systems

YARMOUTH, Maine—It’s all relative for Zach McDougall. McDougall is the operations manager at Palmetto Security Systems, a Hardeeville, S.C.-based home protection and business security systems company that he and his wife purchased from his father in April 2020.

The 30-year-old McDougall, whose father Marc started the company in 1999, began working for the family business in April 2013 as a residential sales rep and evolved into the operations manager in 2016.

“As an owner of the company, my day-to-day consists of managing employees, sales calls, project bidding and commercial installations,” he told Security Systems News.

With his father being involved in the industry for more than 20 years, the younger McDougall explained that he was inspired to get into the security industry after bonding over topics discussed with his dad, such as evolving technology.

“The most impactful inspiration that I learned from my dad was that this industry allows you to not only be successful in doing something that you love, but you can also help protect your community in doing so,” he noted.

DIY Market

When asked what the top trends are in today’s security industry, McDougall immediately stressed the emergence of the do-it-yourself (DIY) market.

“I think the most common answer to this question is that the DIY market has exploded, and big-box stores will become the industry leaders in residential applications,” he explained. “Our focus at Palmetto Security System is to provide top-notch service to the population that still believes in ‘professional-quality’ work. We also have geared our company toward commercial applications as you find that businesses utilize products that a big-box store simply cannot create into a DIY product.”

Access Control Software

McDougall believes that access control software utilizing analytics and smart phone integration is the “most promising” security technology on the market. “This technology is also becoming more price competitive allowing commercial companies of all sizes to protect their assets at a ‘valuable’ price,” he said.

Keys to Success

As we continue the fight against COVID-19, McDougall cited a few keys to success in coping with the pandemic, both on a personal and professional level.

“The main keys to success during these times is to provide superior customer service, patience, and accuracy,” he said. “A customer’s time is more valuable than ever as the personal effect of the pandemic is unknown, so being patient and prompt with your service and installation is valuable.”

Marketing Strategy

Moving forward, McDougall believes that the future of the security industry rests on how successful businesses are in locating and marketing their clientele.

“I believe that there will always be enough clients that believe in the professional and local companies, but the correct strategy to finding and marketing to those clients will be the challenge,” he explained. “I also believe that surveillance and access control will continue to become more affordable, allowing for all businesses to protect their assets and employees.”  

The security industry also must be forward-thinking, and not look back on the past, when recruiting more talented, diverse young people, according to McDougall.

“As the industry becomes more wireless and application-based programming, I believe that applications and interviews should be geared more toward the future of security rather than the past,” he stated. “I think offering more IT-related services as a company will allow tech-savvy people to be groomed into security.”


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