Aerwav embarks on building biz

Thursday, April 1, 2004

NEW YORK - Aerwav Integration Services has made its second acquisition in the security market, this time buying Florida systems integrator Hi-Rise Safety Systems, a company with revenues of $5 million.
The acquisition builds upon Aerwav’s existing business, which it picked up by buying the systems integration business of Armor Holdings in May 2003.

“When we purchased Armor, it was to be a platform that we could expand,” said Bob Shiver,

chairman and chief executive officer of Aerwav. “That gave us locations in New York, New Jersey, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., while Hi-Rise covers the South Florida market.”

Davie, Fla.-based Hi-Rise serves the West Palm Beach, Fla., area, with business extending into the Florida Keys. The company was started 15 years ago and today employs more than 40 people.

The purchase price for Hi-Rise was not released, but Shiver said the acquisition was funded through profits already generated from the turnaround of Armor’s systems integration business. Shiver began the company’s drive towards profitability shortly after the acquisition. He closed a non-strategic and profitable branch in South Carolina, laying off 10 people and integrated what was once a company operating under three names to a single name.

Today the business employs 200 people, including Hi-Rise’s employees and revenues in the $20 to $25 million range.

Shiver said Aerwav continues to look for opportunities to build the company into a national provider. But its focus is not just on security, but providing critical communications.

“If you really look at what a fire alarm, CCTV or card access does, those are really critcal communication systems,” said Shiver. “I believe that over time those kind of systems will merge into one integrated data stream that offers more effective security. The Armor acquisition and Hi-Rise gives us what we think is a tremendous platform to expand upward.”