ISI Security wants to be next super-regional

Backed by MML Capital, new CEO Ray Gilley turns company focus to RMR creation, expanding commercial market presence
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—ISI Security is known for its expertise in the detention market, but CEO Ray Gilley told Security Systems News he has a plan to make ISI Security a regional integration powerhouse within the next two years.  

Groundwork for the plan has been laid, Gilley said. Since joining ISI Security in May of 2012, Gilley has changed the sales strategy “to capture RMR and build the value of the business,” he said. “We’ve revamped the selling process, upgraded contracts and sales proposals to emphasize test-and-inspect, maintenance contracts, and general security monitoring contracts,” he said. 

ISI has already seen results. The company has gone from “about zero in RMR in May of 2012 to $60,000 in RMR today.” 

Previously, the company did “a really good job selling and installing systems, … but then they would lose track of their customers and there was no RMR attachment or relationship after the initial installation was over. We really had to put a customer-focus on the business, so we can make it a long-term relationship, even a lifetime relationship with the customer if possible.” 

A 30-plus-year security veteran who was EVP and COO of Sonitrol Management Corporation before it was sold to Stanley, Gilley also founded Encompass, an integration business, which he sold to ASG in 2010

This week, Gilley announced that the five ISI Security Group subsidiaries are now branded under the ISI name. Those companies include: ISI Detention, MCS Detention, Com-Tec, PDI and MCS Fire & Security. ISI does installation of specific security systems unique to the detention market, as well as access, video and fire. 

ISI is publicly owned, and New York-based MML Capital is the majority owner. ISI expects total revenues to be between $65 and $70 million. Approximately 30 percent of total revenues are generated by MCS Fire & Security, the subsidiary that focuses on the commercial security and fire market (as opposed to the corrections business, which is the focus of the other companies). Gilley has focused heavily on the commercial business and says there’s a big opportunity for growth in that part of the business. 

“My goal is to make this company a super-regional [to expand from] Texas into Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida,” he said. “We can take it from a Texas-based company to a regional company over the next 12 to 24 months, branching out both organically and expanding with tuck-in acquisitions,” Gilley said. 

Gilley said ISI is the leader in the detention market, having done more than 2,000 correctional facilities in the past 20 years. Those customers will continue to turn to ISI “because we’re good at it,” he said. And he believes ISI’s roots in the detention market differentiate it as a systems integrator in the commercial market. 

“It’s given us a unique understanding of critical security,” he said. Any capable systems integrator “can do a decent job in a department store,” he observed. “But you can’t really make an error in a prison. We take that critical security approach with our commercial security clients as well,” Gilley said. 

The company also has R&D resources on the detention side that help with commercial security applications. 

“Most of our competition uses off-the-shelf products. We do our own software development,” he said. “We can take products and make them do things others can’t because we’ve got the [R&D] folks on staff and because we understand the complexity and importance of critical security. If we can make [integrated systems] work in a prison, we can certainly make it work in normal [commercial applications] circumstances.” 

ISI’s current clients include petrochemical giant Chevron Philips, hospitals, transportation and large defense contractors. It has 300 employees and has offices throughout major metropolitan areas in Texas.