Alarm Tech makes synergetic acquisition

The Maryland fire company combines its resources with a company in its backyard, adding services that enhance its market opportunities
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SEVERN, Md.—Alarm Tech Solutions, a fire company based here, has acquired SPC Inc. of Jessup, Md. The Jan. 7 acquisition increases Alarm Tech’s work force by nearly 40 percent and provides it with a variety of new and expanded market opportunities.

“It’s very exciting,” Alarm Tech President and CEO Marty Smith told Security Systems News. “It’s bringing a lot of synergies together.”

SPC is now a division of Alarm Tech and the two have combined staffs. With the addition of about 25 new staff members, Alarm Tech now has approximately 90 employees, Smith said. SPC’s former owner, Paul Curry, who has 34 years of experience in the industry, is now Alarm Tech’s account manager and will focus on building key sales relationships, according to the company.

Combining the resources of the companies also gives Alarm Tech new access to government contract markets, adds to its fire extinguisher and fire sprinkler business, and provides it with opportunities in nurse call, access control and security, as well as extensive monitoring, testing and service accounts, Smith said.

“It will increase our service, testing inspection and maintenance business by a third,” he said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Smith said that he and Curry, from the first meeting, “set our goal on negotiating the acquisition.”

Alarm Tech, a Gamewell-FCI distributor founded in 1996, has focused exclusively on fire alarm, emergency communications and fire suppression systems throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. SPC is located in Alarm Tech’s backyard, so it won’t expand that company’s footprint. However, Smith said, a small part of SPC’s business is security and access control, “so those will be added markets for us.”

Alarm Tech’s focus historically has been on high-rise buildings, both commercial and residential, and the company also does a lot of military work. SPC has a “heavy focus on government contracting,” Smith said, so now Alarm Tech will now add that vertical to its mix.

Among SPC’s clients are the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., where SPC did a fire alarm replacement project on the institute’s campus, and NASA’s Greenbelt, Md., headquarters, where SPC did a system upgrade, Smith said.

In addition, he said, Alarm Tech got into the fire extinguisher business about five years ago, but SPC has “a much heavier presence" in that segment, with the its own certified hydrostatic test facility. “We’ve actually been subcontracting out our hydrostatic testing services to them but now we’ll actually own that facility,” Smith said.

Acquiring SPC also will allow Alarm Tech to expand into nurse call, Smith said. “We’ve been talking about getting into the nurse call and associated health-care communication systems industry for five years … and this provides for that,” he said.

Alarm Tech will maintain its headquarters here, its full-service office in Springfield, Va., and the newly acquired SPC facility in Jessup, Md.

“We’re going to have Severn be our sales, engineering, project management, accounting and human resources departments, then we’re going to make Jessup our service, testing, suppression, procurement and warehouse facility,” Smith said.

Jeff Smith, Alarm Tech’s chief technical adviser and Marty Smith’s brother, said in a statement that he is excited about the opportunities the acquisition presents. “Particularly from a service standpoint, being able to offer a more complete, in-house life safety and fire protection solution is key to growth,” he said.