There is no reason to re-invent the wheel if you have good product and it keeps rolling around the country without a hitch. That is the basic management philosophy at Protection 1, which, despite a huge market footprint, believes in replicating success without going too far afield from the tried-and-true.
Protection 1 was founded in 1988 by PacifiCorp, a West Coast utility company that later incorporated and merged with the security services of Westar Energy. Following that merger, Protection 1 benefited from additional acquisitions that accelerated growth, propelling it forward within the security industry. Timothy J. Whall has been president of the firm since 2010. The company lays claim to being the largest full-service security provider in the United States. With 70 regional offices, its footprint is quite broad.
When it comes to security, Whall knows whereof he speaks — he originally began working for his father in the family security business. “This is where I learned a passion for not only security, but for customer satisfaction and really doing things the right way,” he says.
From that start, Whall has held nearly every position the security industry has to offer, from installer to call center operator, general manager, chief operating officer and CEO. As the company has grown, its profile has changed. “We’ve gone from about 70 percent residential to about 50/50 residential and commercial,” Whall says. “Our National Account growth has been a key contributor to this shift. More and more national buyers are seeing us a viable option with our national footprint and our reputation to deliver something better.”
Serving Diverse Markets
Trying to manage a company serving 70 markets might seem akin to herding cats. How can a customer in Alabama have similar needs to a client in New Hampshire? Is urban Pennsylvania really like Iowa? “First of all, we believe that customers actually have similar needs — to receive great service,” Whall says, noting that there are several unique things they do that enable them to deliver.
“Our culture is based on putting the customer first — this helps unite us across 70-plus locations, different call centers and different departments,” Whall says. “We realize that the needs of certain type customers are in fact different — that’s why we’ve organized our support for National Account clients in our National Account Operations Center in Dallas in a unique structure of client-based teams. It’s also why we acquired Suntera and Integration Logistics last year,” he adds.
The acquisitions brought talent that had deep knowledge of how to serve and manage the needs of highly complex and integrated systems clients. The acquisition of Vintage is another example of an acquired company that serves the high-end custom home builder market. “Our eSuite platform really helps us deliver data and service unique the individual customer area of focus,” says Jamie Haenggi, Protection 1’s chief marketing and customer experience officer. “Niche markets aligned with experience talent, coupled with national culture based on serving the customer the way the customer wants and needs to be served — that’s the method we use.”
Multi-Family and Beyond
The Protection 1 multi-family division is based on selling to property owners who look at security as an amenity for their tenants, which are primarily owners. “They have special needs. The offering, while security based, must allow for the property manager to access the home or condo unit even if armed to allow entry for maintenance crews, etc.,” Whall explains. “They also may have needs around occupancy rates that play into the pricing. It is a unique market for sure and one that is ripe for new technology to provide an even greater benefit to their tenants.”