Koorsen on target for 23 percent growth

On margins, integrators need to charge for expertise provided, new president says
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Monday, November 5, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS—Skip Sampson, newly named president of Koorsen Security Technology, a PSA Security owner, said this integration firm is having a very good year and is on target for 23 percent growth over last year.

“We’re growing at a pretty good clip,” Sampson told Security Systems News.

For Sampson, who served as VP of Koorsen Security Technology since the firm was created as a spinoff from Koorsen Fire & Security in 2010, the title change is really just that: a title change. The former president, Kelly Hoffman, is now CEO and is still majority owner of the firm.

Hoffman, who recently had her third child, has taken some time off from work. Sampson said that because he has taken the lead on “some other things we’re trying to do … acquisitions and new hires … it made sense for me to have the title of president, but it really doesn't change [the management structure of the business in a significant way].”

Some of the growth is due to national account work that Koorsen does with Security-Net, namely a major project with health care provider Wellpoint, but most of the growth is from retrofit work.

“We’re a company that can do more complex installations that require finesse,” Sampson said. “There’s nothing more complex than switching out software and hardware and maybe a card system and trying not to impact the daily ongoing business [of a corporation]. We’ve done that enough times that we have a good story to tell on numerous fronts.”

“That’s where a lot of our business is coming from in 2012,” he said.

Propelling those tech refreshes is customers’ desire to “have one head end, one GUI,” he said. Noting that PSIM (physical security information management) is a big buzzword these days, Sampson said Koorsen has been successful tying disparate systems together in a custom way as well as using one manufacturer.  

“Products like Honeywell [can] bring all the pieces together without a PSIM,” he said. Honeywell has “access, video, intrusion, visitor management and the communications piece [that all integrate] to come to one head end.”

Koorsen, like most other integrators, is feeling the pinch of smaller margins. What can be done? Sampson said that integrators like Koorsen that spend a chunk of P&L on training need to charge appropriately for the expertise they offer customers.

“I’m not saying we have a new rate sheet that’ll go into effect Jan. 1,” he said. “It’s more making the client aware of what we provide for them, and there’s a cost associated with that.”

Has Koorsen benefited from being a WBE (woman-owned business enterprise)? Sampson said the company does very little bid work, so being WBE-certified hasn’t had a huge effect on business won, he said. However, being a WBE did “factor in” to a successful bid the company recently won, he said. Koorsen will do the “video, access and code-blue type protection” for a new health care facility that broke ground about 18 months ago and is known locally as Wishard Hospital.

“Health care is No. 1 on all of the national [integrators’] target lists,” he said. “We were lucky to get the award. [These jobs] are tough for a little player to get.”