Right place at the right time

Thursday, January 1, 2004

BALTIMORE - When the commercial security market went flat two years ago, Oracle Surveillance Systems had already positioned itself to enter the burgeoning government market.

With a new GSA Schedule in hand, the systems integrator was able to garner government work previously unobtainable. That schedule meant the difference between maintaining the status quo to a dramatic dip in sales in its commercial business, a challenge faced by numerous systems integrators across the country when corporations put the brakes on new security purchases post Sept. 11, 2001.

“It’s saved us from having to cut back,” said Michael Rogers, president of Oracle Surveillance, a 17-employee company. “We would have lost quite a number of people to accommodate our commercial sales business.”

The privately-held company was able to maintain $2.5 million in sales, but this year the company could top $3 million in sales thanks to a rebound in the commercial market.

Oracle Surveillance has come a long way since Rogers first began the company in 1988 with $20,000 borrowed from his parents. Over the years the company has evolved from a traditional alarm company to a firm that specialized in covert video installations. The company later entered the corporate security market.

Today, government work accounts for more than 50 percent of Oracle’s business, with much of the focus so far on providing security to protect service personnel. That includes the likes of barriers, access control and video systems.

The company recently garnered seven projects within the last few months for government related work. Rogers was unable to release specific project costs, but said the projects totaled less than $250,000 each.

Rogers expects government security work will continue to be an important part of Oracle Surveillance’s business, not just because of the additional revenue stream it provides, but also the opportunity to maintain a constant workflow year-round.

“The government side pushes very hard at the end of the year,” he said “The winter months, which were typically slower, are now our busy months.”