Ackerman Security Systems, Atlanta, moved from its 11,000-square-foot headquarters into a new 32,000-square-foot facility to accommodate its rapid expansion and provide new jobs for the city.

The building, which previously housed a telemarketing company, was a simple shell that Ackerman built out according to its own specifications. The expanded space will accommodate the company’s recent growth. In 2009, for instance, Ackerman grew 40 percent over the previous year.

One of the most challenging aspects of the move may have been relocating Ackerman’s UL and CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring center. Moving the central station was accomplished over a two-week time frame. “We took half of the existing central station and moved it to the new building with a VPN tunnel between the two,” said Jim Callahan, chief operating officer. “We operated that way for a week to make sure everything ran smoothly at the new central station. Once we were satisfied, we brought the other half over to the new building. Moving the rest of the company happened in a three-day time frame.”

The new facility includes a state-of-the-art demonstration center. “The purpose of the demo center is for commercial prospects to come in and see how the latest technology works as part of the process of making a decision,” Callahan explains. “We want to show all of the various functionalities of new technologies. Instead of going to the manufacturer’s websites to do a demo, we can bring customers to our offices and demonstrate functionalities of the systems they’re contemplating buying in different lighting conditions, or show them how to enroll cards into a system.”

Ackerman, which serves approximately 70,000 customers in Atlanta, currently has 258 employees and expects to increase its workforce by 25 percent in the coming year. “Some of that will be sales and also customer service and service technicians,” Callahan said. “From 2007 to 2011 we will have doubled our RMR base.” There are also plans to open additional branches in 2012 and beyond.

“We’ve made a concentrated effort to grow the size of the company,” he said. “We have 65 residential sales representatives in our Atlanta office. Nobody else I’ve heard of has that in one office.”

Ackerman was ranked No. 27 in the 2011 SDM 100. Callahan said, “We have aspirations to be in the top 15 in the next five to seven years.” — By Sabrina Gasulla, Associate Editor.