AMP: Former Platinum space good fit

‘We kind of moved in like a hermit crab does to a new shell’
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AMERICAN FORK, Utah—The large, dramatic letters emblazoned across the top of the imposing new office building here used to read “Platinum.” Now they say “AMP”—because financially beleaguered Platinum Protection has vacated the space and it is now AMP’s headquarters.

AMP Security President Ryan Lee told Security Systems News that AMP, a summer-sales-model company like Platinum, wasn’t really looking to move, but the 28,000-square-foot office space it took over recently was just so ideal, with reasonable rent, a central location in Utah Valley, and even about $100,000 worth of office furniture that AMP essentially got for free.

“The space was already built out for what a security company needed,” Lee told SSN. “So we kind of moved in like a hermit crab does to a new shell.”

He said AMP, founded in 2007 and which also does business as AMP Alarm, previously had its main office in the nearby community of Orem and an operations center not far away in Provo.

“It’s literally the exact space where Platinum was,” Lee said. “We’ve taken our two buildings and we’ve moved into one and it gives us room to grow and plus allows us to get everyone together, because neither of our other buildings was big enough to keep all of our people together.”

The move to 1261 South 820 East, Suite 300 took place over about three months and was completed in July, Lee said.

That used to be Platinum’s address. The company, founded in 2006, moved there in 2009, according to the company’s website, which still touts the “brand new building” it moved into and displays a picture of the multistory edifice with “Platinum” inscribed across it.

But Platinum, one of the nation’s leading door-knocking security companies, ended up in financial distress last winter and in February laid off almost of its employees, from managers down to techs, sales reps and support staff.

The company’s financial difficulties came on the heels of an announcement last December by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had charged Utah residents Wendell Jacobson and Allen Jacobson with running a $220 million real estate Ponzi scheme. The Jacobsons provided the primary startup capital for Platinum, but Platinum said it had sundered all ties to the family as of last summer. The SEC case against the Jacobsons is pending.

It’s not clear what Platinum’s financial status is currently. While many in the industry believe the company has gone out of business, operators still answer its phones and its website lists a new address in American Fork at 896 South Auto Mall Drive, Suite B. Attempts by SSN to reach Platinum CEO Jared Hallows and the company’s lawyer for comment were not successful.

Lee told SSN that the move for AMP into Platinum’s former space has been a good one. “It was great timing for us,” he said.

He said AMP learned about the availability of the space through Platinum’s former in-house legal counsel, Mike Melzer, who was among some Platinum staff members AMP hired this year after they left Platinum.

Lee said AMP had already moved about four times in its five years of existence so “we were, like, ‘No, we’re going to wait another year,’ but then we went and toured it.” He said that after Platinum left, “the landlord was in a hard fix, so to speak … and they offered pretty good terms for us and so finally it got to be so good we couldn’t pass it up.”

AMP, which has about 500 employees, is thriving and has been recognized as one of Utah’s fastest-growing companies, Lee said. Last summer season it added about 16,700 new accounts and company revenues exceed $25 million annually, he said.

AMP currently sells most of its accounts, primarily to Vector Security. Lee said the company plans over the next few years to transition to keeping the majority of its accounts in house, but said the transition will be done in a way that also maintains AMP’s relationship with Vector.