American Alarm expands into Rhode Island

Integrator buys traditional security company, commercial fire business
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

ARLINGTON, Mass.—With the acquisition, completed Jan. 26, of two Warwick, R.I.-based companies, American Alarm, which is based here, now has a physical presence in the neighboring state of Rhode Island for the first time.

American acquired Electronic Alarm Systems (EAS) and Phoenix Fire Alarm & Communications. The companies are co-located in an office in Warwick, R.I. EAS is a security company that does about 50 percent commercial work. Phoenix is a commercial fire company.

American has “had customers in Rhode Island for decades,” Wells Sampson, president of American Alarm, told Security Systems News. American acquired an office in Fall River, Mass., in 1993, and “about a third of their customers are in Rhode Island,” Sampson said. AES had provided service for some of American’s Rhode Island customers over the years, he added.

However, these acquisitions bring American a new branch office, 30 employees and a new GM, Henry Guzeika Jr., whom Sampson called a “seasoned, high-tech sales expert.”

“We’re going into Rhode Island with a growth strategy,” Sampson said. He said the company is “looking for double-digit growth in terms of new customers in the Rhode Island branch. We’re looking to expand sales, and grow our technical services team.”

Terms of the deal were not released. However, Sampson said the acquisition includes “several thousand new accounts.” American Alarm has 190 employees and, with this purchase, will have revenues “around $26 [million] to $27 million annually,” Sampson said.

Sampson said his brother, company COO and CFO Lou Sampson, dealt “with all negotiations, preparation and planning for the closing.”

Sampson said branch managers will be working with the new Warwick office to “bring a lot of efficiencies we’ve developed for our other branches—operational, computer systems and process for quality and for managing details” to the new branches. And, he said, Guzeika will be sharing best practices, particularly as they relate to the sale of mesh network radios and smartphone-controlled security systems, to other American Alarm offices.

The deal brings the number of branch offices to five. The company’s headquarters/central station is here, and there are offices in Worcester, Mass., Randolph, Mass., and Windham, N.H.

Tom Mitchell, who was co-owner and general manager of AES and Phoenix, will stay on as a consultant for the company for six months. Henry Guzeika Jr. is the son of EAS’ founder, the late Henry Guzeika.

The former owners were interested in finding a buyer who, like them, “would care for the employees, customers and the community,” Sampson said. “That’s the strength of the companies and the strength behind the opportunity for combined growth of the two companies.”