In life there are many adages that relate to size, such as Good things come in small packages. When SDM Magazine, 15 years ago, first published the SDM 100—the industry's only ranking of the 100 largest electronic security firms, some folks were skeptical about the idea. A ranking based on gross revenue was fine, they said, but what about measuring the customer service quality or technical aptitude of a dealer's business? Although certainly not impossible, it can be very difficult to assign value to, measure, and rank companies by such criteria. A security dealer may reach or exceed certain minimum requirements in order to meet an industry standard; however, ranking a dealer among others that have also met the same standard can be a subjective task.

Much can be concluded by examining the largest companies within an industry—they are usually the biggest employers; they often are the companies that dictate product improvements industrywide; and they usually lead the way in market development through their advertising and sales efforts. Coupled with these factors is a natural curiosity by the industry to know more about the next tier of security dealers beyond the SDM 100—those with gross revenues in the $1 million to $3 million range. These are typically key players in some of the country's secondary geographic markets, or tough competitors against the SDM 100 firms in major markets.

Our editors view these firms as "up-and-comers" because, as a group, they play a pivotal role in the underpinnings of the security industry's delivery of products and services. In fact, six companies that were ranked on SDM's Up & Comers Report in 2004 now have shifted up to the 2005 SDM 100 based on their revenue increases. (See "Flood of Demand," SDM May 2005)

SDM's second annual "Up & Comers in Security" Report begins where the SDM 100 leaves off, by ranking firms whose revenues fall just below the SDM 100's lower limit of $3.24 million. More than 20 companies participated, and in future annual editions SDM plans to include more firms, but that will depend upon industry participation. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these companies, many of which have been in business 20 or more years. Together, the 23 companies ranked on the Up & Comers Report counted more than $54 million in revenue in 2004, and employ more than 600 security professionals. They are all privately owned businesses.

Editor's Note: If you think your company may qualify to be ranked on either the SDM 100 or the "Up & Comers in Security" report, contact SDM at (630)694-4027; or send an e-mail to stepanekl@bnpmedia.com.

CLICK HERE to see this year's SDM second annual "Up & Comers in Security" Report.