The new owner of Tri-Ed Distribution plans to expand the security, fire and low voltage products distributor.
Steve Roth, CEO of Tri-Ed Distribution, has big plans for the security, fire and low-voltage products distributor since acquiring it from Tyco International Ltd. on Jan. 31.

“We need to build out our footprint and get a better handle on what I’ll call rationalizing our product line, adding brands and looking at additional segments where we feel we should be stronger,” Roth resolved.

The former president of ADI, and most recently CEO of Terk Technologies, is in the process of opening three new branch locations and filling out its footprint in the Midwest, Northeast and Florida.

“Right now we’ve just acquired Optimum Security in New Orleans, a one-branch operation,” he revealed. Tri-Ed also is branching out to San Antonio and Buffalo, N.Y. “We’ll be opening in the Boston suburbs in the very near future and in Philly, the south New Jersey area and Long Island.”

Partners of Roth and Wheatley Partners, a leading private equity firm, acquired Tri-Ed for an undisclosed price. Tri-Ed has nine sales offices in Canada, one in Puerto Rico and 16 in the United States, in addition to the three new ones being opened. This totals 29 sales offices in North America.

“We represent no channel conflicts for manufacturers – we are the only full-coverage North American distributor with that position,” Roth maintained.

“We have a headquarters functioning very well in Mississauga, Ontario, and we believe we will stay there and support North American operations from there,” Roth said. “The world headquarters will be a small operation in the New York metro area that will house not more than 25 people.”

Approximately 50 employees will be at the Mississauga headquarters and the rest of the company’s approximately 250 employees will be located at the other branches, Roth calculated.

“We are experiencing very broad acceptance in the community as far as our customers go and dealers go,” Roth noted. “I think we have people who will be providing choices in merchandising programs and provide for full value, which is another overused word.”

Paul Swan of Tri-Ed will work in a senior marketing position in Canada.

Roth was president of Honeywell’s security group after it purchased ADI, which he founded. “I’ve had quite a lot of experience in this industry,” he acknowledged.

Terk Technologies, of which Roth previously was CEO, is a manufacturer of consumer electronics accessories such as antennas, satellite radio equipment and signal management equipment to take television signals to television equipment.

“We sold Terk to Audiovox on Jan. 3, so I am unencumbered,” Roth declared. “I can devote full time and attention to Tri-Ed.”

Regarding the purchase from Tyco, Roth is realistic. “This was a non-core business to Tyco – not only was it non-core, Tyco’s ownership provided a dual-channel conflict. With ADT and Simplex, you have a company that’s parents compete with your customers.

“Tyco owns many manufacturing companies in intrusion, fire, access control and CCTV,” Roth repeated. “Remember, they never really marketed distribution as a business they wanted to be in. They bought Digital Security Controls (DSC) as a manufacturer and Tri-Ed happened to be part of DSC. They were in the distribution business as reason of that purchase.

“We were the fortunate recipients of having an underutilized asset made available to us, and we were only too happy to take it off their hands,” Roth said of Tyco.