Tennessee company expands Knoxville branch

Security Equipment Co. acquires about 300 accounts, opening up fire opportunities
 - 
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MCMINNVILLE, Tenn.—Security Equipment Co., based here, recently announced the purchase of the assets of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Professional Security Consulting & Design (PSCD), adding several hundred accounts to the company’s eastern Tennessee area.

McKenzie “Ken” Roberts, president of Security Equipment, told Security Systems News that his company already had a small branch office in Knoxville with about five employees, so the addition of PSCD’s staff has “actually about doubled the size of our Knoxville office.”

Roberts estimates 30 percent to 40 percent of Security Equipment’s business is fire-related, and said the buy increases fire opportunities for Security Equipment because that company is UL-listed—something the city of Knoxville requires for fire alarms—while PSCD was not. 

“Our Knoxville office is a UL-listed fire installer. …PSCD was not UL-listed and we are UL-listed as an installer in that area and so that does allow us to offer a broader range of services to the former PSCD customers,” Roberts explained. 

He declined to discuss terms of the deal with PSCD other than to say that “we made an arrangement that was satisfactory to our company and the owner [of PSCD] as well.” Roberts said PSCD’s owner had another business opportunity he wanted to pursue.

Steve Rubin of Long Grove, Ill.-based Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group assisted PSCD in the sale.

Roberts said that Security Equipment, which was founded in 1977 and has about 25 employees, has made other modest buys over the years and said this one in similar in the way PSCD’s business meshes nicely with Security Equipment.

“Technically, it's an acquisition but in reality we look at it as kind of a merger and we approach any of the customers that were part of the previous business that way,” Roberts said. He said the message to customers is: “Your company has merged into ours and we want to continue the high level of service.”

Roberts said that because his company is in a relatively rural area, it provides a broad range of services, with fire key among them. “We’re a Notifier [by Honeywell] dealer, and we install a lot of fire alarm systems. … We service a substantial number of school systems… Most of the counties we service are in rural areas and we’re kind of their go-to-guy in providing low-voltage services,” he said. The PSCD accounts included schools, he said.

In addition to fire, Roberts estimated that about 25 percent of the company’s work is security related, 15 percent to 20 percent involves nurse call and intercom and the remainder is CCTV.