David Sullivan named CEO of SDI

Former HID, IR executive calls SDI 'tremendous platform to build a national organization'
 - 
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CHICAGO—Systems integration firm SDI today announced that David Sullivan, whose background includes leadership roles at IR and HID, has been named CEO. David Gupta, founder and former CEO of SDI, will now serve as vice chairman of the SDI Board of Directors.

SDI grew rapidly in the past year, making two major acquisitions. It is now a $70 million company with plans for further growth.

“IT IQ is a critical differentiator for us. We think [successful integration firms] need to have a strong capability in IT and have [in-house] IT IQ. That’s been our thesis from the beginning,” Gupta told Security Systems News. “Now as we build out our company, we’re very excited to be able to attract an executive who ran a billion dollar division for IR.”

Sullivan was part of the founding management of identity solution provider HID, along with Joe Grillo. He also led Ingersoll Rand’s security sales division before it spun off and became Allegion in 2013. He also worked for integration firms earlier in his career.

SDI is headquartered here and has nine offices around the United States. It has 250 employees. SDI specializes in complex technology systems and network infrastructure for critical infrastructure. Its customers include airports, utilities, schools, 911 centers and public transit and toll authorities. Since June of 2012, it has been owned by LLR partners, a $2 billion investment firm.

Sullivan told SSN that SDI’s “blended security and IT solutions” position it well for growth. “It’s a tremendous platform to build a national organization and establish [itself further] as a leader in this segment,” he said.

Increasingly, integrators are dealing with CIOs as decision makers, Sullivan said. “Integrators need to be able to have a discussion with a CIO at a level that makes the CIO comfortable that what you’re putting on their [network] is not going to cause issues or problems.” From Sullivan’s point of view, SDI is one of “a handful” of integrators with sophisticated IT skills.

Dawn Nash Pfeiffer, CMO for SDI, said SDI’s capabilities to do complex installations such as “Active Directory for single sign on, mobile wireless systems, customized PSIM solutions, one system with 300 terabytes of storage in a virtualized environment and one instance with a petabyte of storage … have been proven out with our current clients.”

Systems integrators need more than just textbook IT-knowledge, Gupta said. For example a customized PSIM solution involves “a whole chain of events. …You need to understand [the customer’s] business process, do the consultation, build the application, help train the staff, and commission the install.”

Sullivan said his first task is to complete the integration of i-sys and X7, the two companies that SDI acquired last year, into SDI. “Once we get them integrated effectively, we’ll move down the path of further acquisitions.”