Each October one of my favorite stories to write comes around: The systems integrator of the year. I love delving into a company’s history and culture and learning what has made them a success worthy of being chosen for this award. In the application and judging process, however, I hear a similar comment from potential contenders who decide not to apply — they are not big enough, not ranked high enough (or at all) on the SDM Top Systems Integrator’s list, or there is no way they can stack up against the big guys.

That was one of the reasons I was particularly excited to work with this year’s winner, Stone Security of Utah. With under 100 employees, the company has a strong local, regional and global presence. Stone Security has an interesting approach to doing business that has allowed it to grow at a fast pace — 51 percent in 2019 over 2018, and strong double digits for the last several years. They are extremely selective about the partners they work with, and very dedicated to those they choose. They only work with one main manufacturing partner for each technology they offer customers, and one distributor. This philosophy grew in part out of practicality, because none of the founding members had extensive knowledge about the security integration industry when they started the company in 2006. But there was another, more important reason they kept it going for all this time.

“Our dad gets credit for having the mindset that you need to find partnerships and be loyal to them,” says Brent Edmunds, CEO. “We wanted to be the type of business that built strong partnerships. Within two to three years we realized actually some power in keeping the business model simple and not taking additional partnerships.”

These partnerships figure prominently in every aspect of the company’s culture and business relationships and have steered the company through the ups and downs of the industry, including this year’s pandemic. Although like most of the security industry COVID-19 posed challenges, the Stone Security team was able to come through this time without any layoffs and keeping their employees full time with benefits.

Read the full article to learn more about why “the biggest little integrator in the country” was named SDM’s 2020 Systems Integrator of the Year.