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SSN interview with ACRE CEO Don Joos

SSN interview with ACRE CEO Don Joos

SSN Interview with ACRE CEO Don Joos

LAS VEGAS – Don Joos took the helm as CEO of ACRE, a global provider of networking and security solutions, back in May of 2022, and this week Security Systems News sat down with him to discuss how things are going and what’s next for ACRE in 2023.

SSN: Mr. Joos, please tells us a little bit about yourself, and how you’re settling into the company.

Joos: From a background perspective, you know I've spent pretty much all my career in technology, and I've been in large multi-billion-dollar companies, I've done startups and I've done mid sizes, I've done public companies and private companies. It’s my fourth time as a CEO so I’ve done some public and private, but the theme is helping the companies evolve their business model for changes in the environment. Changes to customers, their buying behaviors, and their consumption behaviors, and so in prior companies in the communications space helping companies go from a premise to a cloud, or again maybe just evolving the business model to a different set of offerings. I did that in a managed services business. Coming here to ACRE, so while it's a different industry for me and again I've been in many, the themes are very similar to what I have done in my past in regard to helping to evolve the business model and positioning the company for where we believe the opportunities are in the market.

What excited me about coming to ACRE was, you know, a couple of things. One was just the scale this business had from a revenue perspective, the scale from just a customer. Whether that's end customer or the channel community that we work with, the system integrators in distribution, the fact that this was global. Only half the business is in the U.S., and half the business is from an international perspective.

Also, I think there's a lot of fragmentation within the market, so that always leaves opportunity for some players to become stronger players. The market is in a transition as I think about how the people are consuming security. It's in a transition as people are looking more and more at subscription-based and pure SaaS-based solutions. But it's very early stages and I don't know for how long or when the tipping point is going to occur. But, if you look across other industries and other technologies, there's always some tipping point where the momentum suddenly shifts, and really for me it’s keeping a keen eye on customer behaviors and understanding the needs of that end, and really positioning the company for when that opportunity occurs. What's exciting to me when a market is in transition in its early stage is market leaders haven't been defined yet, and therein lies the opportunities. So, when I look at the assets that ACRE has and I look at the market opportunity about the transition and what stage it's in and then I look at my experience that I have doing things like this with other companies. It’s very interesting, and my first six months it’s been exactly that.

SSN: The security industry at large has been really aggressive in its acquisitions lately and in September ACRE acquired the Security Identification Systems Corporation (SISCO), Do you have any acquisitions in the coming year?

Joos: We do and with the support of our private equity owners, Triton. We're focused both from an organic perspective as well as an inorganic, so we do have an active pipeline both from a North American as well as from a European perspective at this point, and we will continue to be active from an M&A space perspective. So active pipeline deals in various stages right now. But as we progress through 2023, 24, 25, We will remain active in the market. Really thinking about it from an opportunity, because it's fragmented where there can be some consolidation. Also, looking at it from a technology perspective where there is great technology out there and accelerates my time to market because it's a natural talking of a technology into our solution. Or it could be a technology that helps expand our addressable market for us. Those are areas that are always of interest.

SSN: Could you tell us what your current goals are for the company? Are there any key verticals you’d like to focus on or tap into?

Joos: Well, I think the key goal is always growth and so we're going to continue to focus on it. I think the other aspect from a growth perspective, and it gets into some of the House is, you know growth in general, but also continuing to grow from a recurring revenue perspective, and that is just continuing with our cloud offerings as well as more subscription-based offerings. Whether that's a full sale or from our specific offering services. I would also say though, just from a goal perspective is what we're calling what I would refer to as, you know more from one acre and how we're integrating the business both from our prior acquisitions as well as just from a holistic perspective about the business from the North America and the European market. So that when I think about it from our infrastructure perspective, the simple things behind the scenes, parts you know from our networking and the systems that we run, to a product perspective as we look at the product solutions that we have as well as from a commercial perspective in regards to more commonality in our channel programs and from a CRM perspective. From our messaging in the market and from our web presence perspective. Those are two big areas I would say from a focus area. Right now, while we do well in a range of verticals, I think we'll continue to play in those in those verticals. We'll probably have more of a of a horizontal approach in in the short term.

SSN: What’s the biggest challenge facing ACRE in 2023, and what is the company doing to address it?

Joos: From a challenge perspective I almost invert the question there because if I go back to how I was framing, what excited me about it, there's a lot of things that excited me. That's always a challenge to make sure you're staying on and staying focused on some of the core items here because I think there is a lot in front of us. However, if I zoom out a little bit again and think about it from a from a macro perspective, and what I said is, I think acre is just well positioned for this opportunity in this market transition right now. The challenge always is that it's a change management challenge, right? Everyone moves at a different pace, and so whether that is from the internals of a company, whether that is through our channel community, and whether that is from an end user perspective, what we need to do is make sure the company is positioned for the growth opportunities in the market. We need to be focused on how people are looking to embed security into the workflows of their organization. But we have to recognize that they're going to move at different paces, and we need to be able to ensure that they know with ACRE that they have a clear path to get to our future state, whether that's in 12 months or that's in 36 months or 48 months, then that's OK. But enabling that end customer to be able to migrate their way through to a future state at the pace that works for them, therein lies the challenge. Because they move at a different speed for their own business reasons.

SSN: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Joos: The combination of ourselves right now, and the solution set that we have in the marketplace, I think we are a unique company in regards to the scale that we have. The geographic presence that we have, the channel, community and distribution that we have. I think we make a very unique asset in the marketplace and so with Mark (Roberts) who's on here as the CMO, I think you'll start to see and hear us a lot more as we are bringing this organization together and really start promoting the ACRE brand more strongly. So, for me I think I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me because I think that part of it is sharing our story with a lot of people. So, I'm excited that you're willing to share that story for us. 

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