Branch to tap petro-chem marketplace

Thursday, July 1, 2004

GULFPORT, Miss. - Security Services & Technologies continues on its strategy to build a $300 million business in five years, announcing in early June the opening of an office here to serve the petro-chemical industry that is prevalent in this area.

Though SST is not new to this market - the company has had a presence here by flying employees in for jobs or hiring subcontractors - the branch is a recent addition to the company’s growing portfolio of locations. The Gulfport, Miss., office is being staffed by five people that include a branch manager, project manager and technical support.

“That whole horseshoe down there from Houston to Florida is loaded with them,” said Frank Brewer, chief executive officer for FirstService’s security division, of which SST is a part. “There’s a lot of chemical plants and oil refineries and we’ve developed a niche there.”

The new branch is being headed up by Jim Fairbanks and Tim Palmer, who joined SST earlier this year when SST bought their company Innovative Security Systems, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Their company has been serving the Gulfport, Miss., market for a number of years, but felt it was time to open a location in that area as the company looks to focus on Homeland Security efforts along the Mississippi River.

“SST has relationships in the area,” said Fairbanks. “It fills a gap.”

Brewer said the new location enables SST to tap into a market with strong growth potential. Serving the petro-chemical market and high-risk facilities like this, also requires experience in that sector. The company has hired several people experienced in providing security for chemical plants to better serve this market.

“You need to understand the needs,” said Brewer. “A high-rise building has different needs than a sprawled-out chemical plant.”

With the Gulfport, Miss., office now on board, SST has 14 locations across North America. The company’s office count has grown steadily over the past several years, as it looks to expand its geographic reach.

The company currently serves the eastern part of the country, with offices in New York, Chicago, Eatontown, N.J., Reading, Pa., Houston, and Alexandria, Va., for example.

The company has recently unified operations with its counterpart to the north, Intercon Security in Canada. The two are expected to share product lines and provide a unified approach on accounts that span North America. Together the companies generate $130 million in annual business.