SST begins southern expansion

Monday, March 1, 2004

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Systems integrator SST is expanding its presence into the southeastern part of the country with its acquisition of Innovative Security Systems Inc. in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The deal, scheduled to close shortly after press time, marks a significant extension of SST’s reach beyond its southern most office in Alexandria, Va. Not only does ISSI operate an office in Florida, but the company also has a presence in Houston.

“They’re going to begin the growth of our southeastern region,” said Frank Brewer, chief executive officer of SST’s United States operations, based in Norristown.. “Two places that we wanted to be very much is Florida and Texas.”

The purchase price of ISSI was not released, but Brewer said SST acquired 80 percent of the business, while founders Jim Fairbanks, president of ISSI and Tim Palmer, chief executive officer, retain a 20 percent interest in the company.

Not only does ISSI provide an important geographical market to SST, but the transaction brings together two companies with similar backgrounds. Both SST and ISSI call Fortune 1000 companies their customers, such as hospitals and large regional institutions, and both focus on design, build integrated security solutions.

Fairbanks said the deal was a natural fit for the company, as it also looked to expand in the southeastern market, as well. Fairbanks and Palmer started the business six years ago. Today the company employs nearly 40 people and pulls in $6 million a year in revenues.

“We’re going to have tremendous growth opportunities as a combined entity than as individuals,” said Fairbanks.

Brewer is also banking on growth for SST. The company currently does about $125 million in business a year when combined with its sister company in Canada, Intercon. In five years, Brewer plans to nearly triple that to $300 million.

All told, Brewer said SST and ISSI employ 250 people in the United States with offices in New York, Chicago, Eatontown, N.J., Valley Forge and Reading, Pa., Columbia, Md., Alexandria, Va., West Palm Beach, Fla., and Houston.