Q&A With Liberty Security’s Russell Keddie Helping People Thrive
Keddie describes Edmonton-based Liberty Security as a company that stays true to its value of ‘people before profits.’
Russell Keddie is a managing partner at Liberty Security who believes empowering the customer is a key to success. Liberty Security has offices in Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer, Alberta. It provides security, automation and energy management solutions across Canada. Recently, Professional Security spoke with Keddie about Liberty Security.
PSC: Please tell us a bit about Liberty Security.
► Keddie: Liberty was founded by my partner Nathan Baldry. In 2005, he was a university student working as a technician for an American summer program and was asked to start up an office in Alberta when some work visas fell through. After that summer, Nate and a friend decided they could start up on their own, and with a couple of friends they did just that. I met him while I was a vice president at VOXCOM when they were just firing up operations. We signed Liberty up as a dealer in early 2006. I left VOXCOM in 2008 after it was purchased by Reliance and joined Liberty in 2009.
Since 2006, Liberty has grown into one of Canada’s largest providers of security, automation, video surveillance and seniors care solutions to residential, commercial and healthcare customers across Canada. We serve our customers through our head office in Edmonton, Alberta, and a mix of 14 authorized dealers and corporate branches across Canada.
PSC: What have been the most important milestones in the company’s history thus far?
► Keddie: Milestones? That’s a tough question, as we have had so many we are proud of, but some of our most important moments include being listed twice as an Alberta Venture Magazine Fast Growth 50 company and twice as a Canadian PROFIT 500 Fast Growth Company.
We purchased a 12,000-square-foot building in 2014; we completely renovated it and moved in, June 2015. We have a new home for our head office. We also had our 10th anniversary in December 2015. One of my favorite moments was at our Christmas party last year. We had 50 kids attend, and 30 were under the age of 4. We call them Liberty babies.
PSC: What customer markets does your company serve, and what types of systems and services does it sell?
► Keddie: We have installed over 40,000 residential and commercial security and automation systems in eight provinces and one territory. Liberty also services over 80 healthcare facilities in western Canada. Our focus is to introduce new technologies to our customers to make their lives easier. We really try to consider the three elements of our tagline — Simple. Safe. Smart. — in the solutions we design.
PSC: Liberty Security recently received the 2015 Interlogix Partner of the Year Award. To what do you attribute the earning of this distinctive award?
► Keddie: It was an honor to receive the award. Interlogix is a great partner. It’s no secret why we continue to receive awards and other accolades — it’s our people. We are so lucky to have the best people in the business working for and with us. From our sales reps to technicians to customer service people and other support staff, they are all very smart and they care about our customers and our vision.
PSC: When did Liberty Security become a Monitronics Authorized Dealer? Tell us a bit about being named to the Monitronics 2016 Dealer Council.
► Keddie: We became a Monitronics dealer in January of 2015. I was a little surprised to be asked to join the dealer council being so new to the program. The other dealers on the council are top-shelf executives in this industry, and they run great companies. I feel lucky and honored to be part of it.
PSC: Liberty Security is the recipient of HomeStars’ “Best of 2016” Award for superior Security & Home Automation services in and around Calgary, Alberta. This award is presented to one company in each category based on thousands of reviews. What are some of Liberty Security’s secrets to success in customer service?
► Keddie: It was a great honor receiving that award. Our Calgary branch has worked very hard and has built a good reputation in Calgary and southern Alberta. Again, I don’t think there are any secrets to customer service. You just have to hire good people who care about what they do.
PSC: Please tell us about the Liberty Classic Charity Golf Tournament.
► Keddie: That started out about six years ago as just a company tournament. Then we invited a few friends, customers and partners and decided to donate the proceeds to a charity. At the first [tournament] we raised $11,000 for MADD. Since then the tournament has grown each year. Last year we raised over $56,000 and gave it to two charities: Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s and the Neurosurgery Kids Fund. This year we expanded it even further and are hoping to keep growing the amount we raise.
PSC: What do you see as the best opportunities for professional security dealers and integrators to earn revenue?
► Keddie: Currently about 90 percent of our systems have interactive and automation components to them. We firmly believe that in the residential sector, home automation and video will continue to drive demand. On the commercial side, we have grown from camera and card access systems to much larger integrated multi-site, software-driven solutions. We are also seeing a rise in demand for video monitoring solutions.
PSC: What do you consider to be Liberty Security’s most important contribution to the security industry?
► Keddie: There are a lot of great security companies in this business, and I’m lucky to have good relationships with a lot of them. But there are also so many companies out there just trying to make short-term money. They want to build up an account base as quickly as possible and sell out to maximize their returns. Unfortunately, short term thinking often results in a poor experience for the customer, and it sometimes puts all of us in a bad light. I think we’ve stayed true to our value of people before profits. That allows us to provide a good place where people can thrive, whether they are a subcontractor, an authorized dealer or a staff member.
PSC: Have you read any good books or heard any exceptional speakers related to security recently?
► Keddie: A recent good read for me was “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton M. Christensen.
PSC: Favorite vacation spot in Canada?
► Keddie: I’ve got two: Jasper National Park and Tofino on Vancouver Island.
PSC: Some things you like to do when not working?
► Keddie: We have four young boys, so I spend as much time with them as possible. I started coaching hockey and soccer a few years ago, and I love it. We also like to camp a lot in the summer. We never leave Canada in the summer because it’s so nice. n