How integration firm NAV reshaped its business

North American Video approached this year’s ASIS International Conference with a new direction under CEO Jason Oakley. The company, founded by Ron and Cynthia Freschi in 1995, is long known for its vertical work with video surveillance and the casino and gaming industry, but has expanded both its offerings and its market focus under Oakley, who took over the company nearly 18 months ago.

“Since I came on board, our strategy has been to diversify across from our video expertise into access control and perimeter security, as well as diversify the video business across new verticals,” Oakley said in an interview conducted Monday on the ASIS 2009 show floor. “We’ve seen success in transportation, education and in Fortune 1000 installations over the last 12 months or so.”

NAV is taking the lessons learned from the highly regulated casino industry and applying them to the new verticals with success. “That type of [regulatory] discipline applies to transportation markets where you may have to hold a TWIC card or various things like that,” Oakley said. “It also helps us as we get into other verticals where maybe background checks and other personnel restrictions are the norm, such as the banking sector.”

The company has already seen several major customer wins in the education, banking and healthcare markets. “We’ve had a lot of success,” Oakley said. “We have captured service business for a major bank; we captured a large-scale, multi-year surveillance project at a top university; and we are working with the first new hospital to be built in the New York City market in the last 20 years.”

According to Oakley, the University project began as a surveillance project, but the university was interested in the company’s ability to be able to integrate legacy systems such as fire systems and campus emergency phones. “It will turn into a full-scale project over the years that we hope to have the university as a long term client,” Oakley added.

The focus on the new markets has proved challenging to NAV, but one that Oakley said can be overcome.

“This is an expertise business, and winning new business is a great thing, but it also creates organizational stress around training and development,” he said. “We’ve invested about 6,000 hours total in training so far this year, and that creates stress, but what we are finding in the current economic market that we’re an exception rather than the rule, so we are having a lot of fun with this new business.”

Despite the new direction, NAV has retained its core competencies in providing surveillance to the casino and gaming industry. “We have people engaged in the two or three largest casino projects in the U.S. right now -- both in Native American casinos and in Las Vegas,” Oakley said.