MSA Systems Integration says future is bright for independent integrators

ASI changes name to MSA Systems Integration
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

EATONTOWN, N.J.— While some independent integrators are wary of recent changes in the security landscape (realignments at UTC and Siemens, and acquisitions such as Stanley/Niscayah) an integrator based here says his business has and will continue to benefit from what’s gone on with the competition in recent years.

“There’s money to be made in confusion,” Jim Hennessy, president of MSA Systems Integration (formerly Access Systems Integration).

It’s problematic when a security company “tries to be everything to everyone,” Hennessy said. “With the large players they may be a great fire alarm service company for example, but when it comes to access control and IP video they’re not that strong.”

 Hennessy is notifying customers this week that ASI has changed it name to MSA Systems Integration. The name change reflects the connection between ASI and its parent company, specialty security provider MSA Security, Hennessy said.

Founded by Hennessy in 2000, ASI was acquired by MSA Security in 2008. Hennessy’s company provides traditional systems integration—access control, video, intrusion, and perimeter protection. Its target verticals are big pharmaceutical companies, energy and chemical companies. MSA Security is the largest provider of bomb-sniffing canines. It also provides explosive screening, protection against chemical and biological agents, as well as security consulting and training,

“There was name recognition with ASI, but more name recognition with MSA. After three years it now makes sense to change our name. We were tired of explaining the relationship between the two companies.”

The two companies are well integrated at this point, cross-selling each other’s services, he said.

As a result, business has been very good for MSA Systems Integration in the past three years, Hennessy said.  “We’ve doubled the size of our business,” Hennessy said.

With $12 million in revenue projected for 2011, MSA Systems Integration now has 40 employees and opened offices in Los Angeles (in July) and an office in Pittsburgh in Sept. 2010.

“Right now our goal is to open one new office every year, but we may expedite that as well,” he said. MSA has set its sights on Texas next because of the number of power and oil companies in there. “We may open a new office, but we’re open to acquisitions as well if the right opportunity presents itself,” he said.

MSA Security, parent company, has a 24/7 Command Center in New York City, which does non-traditional security monitoring. It does remote screening for explosives with its SmartTech technology. Its customers are companies that screen their incoming mail for explosives and other dangerous content. When screening devices detect something suspicious, they send an image to the MSA Command Center, where the staff—which includes experts such as retired NYC bomb detectives—looks at and manipulates the image to determine if the contents are indeed dangerous.
“It’s a very unique service, which we market to our (integration) customers as well,” Hennessey explained.

The Command Center also monitors for chemical agents in New York City. “For example, if there’s a biochemical released in Time Square, we have sensors that pick up the fumes [and a graphical image comes up in the Command Center for specialists to analyze.] It’s another service we provide for our customers.”