Already with its foot in the door, CRS to step up security business

Sunday, August 1, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One of the area’s largest fire installation firms plans to expand more into the physical security market and to grow that side of its business.

That decision has prompted CRS Building Automation, which is known for serving numerous commercial buildings in the Charlotte area, to recently walk away from opening a second location in Columbia, S.C.

It was a difficult decision to make, according to Darryl Roy, vice president and principal of CRS Building Automation, a company that employs 31 people, but one that enables the company to focus its resources closer to home.

“Columbia is an hour and a half to two hours away and has different field requirements,” said Roy. “We want to focus on making the marketplace where we also provide security services.”

Security is nothing new to CRS Building Automation, a company founded by Roy and business partner Skip Cashion. But up until now the company has focused on building its fire installation and service-related work. It accounts for a majority of the company’s $5 million in sales. Approximately $3 million in sales come from its fire installation business, while another $1 million is generated by maintenance contracts. Security accounts for the rest.

The decision to increase security resources comes as the company recognized growing opportunities in the physical security market. Not only is there more demand for security following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but CRS Building Automation realized it missed out on business when it already had its foot in the door for doing fire-related work.

While CRS Building Automation would install a fire alarm system and pick up maintenance work associated with the life safety system, Roy said it often failed to offer customers the company’s security component.

Scott Goroski, tapped to head up expanding the company’s security business, saw missed opportunities and brought it to the company’s attention.

“I just saw so much out there and said ‘why are we not doing this? Why are we not bidding this’,” said Goroski, systems sales rep for security, CCTV and access control.

Now with plans to grow its security business, CRS Building Automation is actively pursuing more security projects by extending that service to existing customers.

Roy anticipates a modest growth in security-related work this year, projecting $1.3 million in sales, but within two to three years he expects it will rival the company’s fire systems installation work.