Editor's Angle: Catch the Entrepreneurial Spark
November 1, 2006
Entrepreneurship is what made SDMâ€™s Systems Integrator of the Year, Chicago-based Initial Electronics, successful. Now the next generation is trying to encourage that innovation.
The seeds of entrepreneurship are analyzed frequently by business management professors to discover the secrets of their growth. Certain personality characteristics of the entrepreneur are cited frequently, as if once identified, they could be grown in peopleâ€™s characters.
This entrepreneurship is what SDMâ€™s Systems Integrator of the Year, Initial Electronics, has benefited from since its founding as NTC Electronics. The sons of two of the companyâ€™s three founders are working in highly placed positions at the company, which was sold in 2003 to the Initial Electronic Security Group, a division of Rentokil-Initial plc, whose headquarters is in the United Kingdom.
Two of the founders, Dick Norwood and Dick Cusson, still work and consult with the company after their retirement. When you listen to them tell how and why they started the business, the through-line of the transition from regional to international ownership becomes clear. These guys still get excited about the security and systems integration business!
The president of Initial Electronics, Kevin Robison, emphasizes that his philosophy when acquiring companies like NTC is to ensure that the founders and managers stay on after the acquisition to provide continuity.
â€œWeâ€™re trying not to lose the uniqueness, not lose the entrepreneurship, but add something in resources and people,â€ Robison explains.
That something extra in resources and people frequently comes down to investment capital and skill. Norwood and Cusson realized they could not capture national accounts without a wider presence. But at the same time, Initialâ€™s managers are trying to develop and retain the foundersâ€™ sense of entrepreneurship in the â€œnewâ€ company.
This is likely to be the challenge for many security dealers and systems integrators as their founders retire and their businesses need to reach that ever-present next level. Hopefully, the distinction of SDMâ€™s Systems Integrator of the Year has caught Initial Electronics at the beginning of its next great stage of growth, as it becomes a regional, national and international powerhouse.
First-ever Honorees CategoryFor the first time, SDM is distinguishing three other companies that applied for the Systems Integrator of the Year Award, as Honorees.
These are companies that were judged as outstanding among this yearâ€™s systems integrator applicants. Through this honoree category, SDMâ€™s intent is to provide additional recognition for the exemplary efforts of leading companies in the systems integration industry.
The 2006 honorees are: FirstService Security, Norristown, Pa.; MAC Systems, Canton, Mass.; and Universal Security Systems, Hauppauge, N.Y.
The SDM staff congratulates the Systems Integrator of the Year and the Honorees. The article begins on page 54.