Security Business

MAR 2014

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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56 2012. Brian's role with the team began as vice president of sales in 2006. Brian continues to grow the company in his new position, always making sure to keep the company vision in mind. It was in 2008 that A3 launched its surveillance and access control division. Today, A3 is an all-inclusive communications and IT service pro- vider able to serve enterprise and education customers in every aspect of a technology infrastructure. "We are not your typical security integrator," Thomas says. Coincidentally, growth in the IP arena opened doors to services for customers who already were friends of the com- pany. "We, as a company, saw 350-per- cent growth over the past three years," Thomas says. However, this was not manna from heaven — rather, Thomas had made a conscious decision to com- pletely restructure the sales organiza- tion and A3's approach to the market. At that point, the company served a number of small-to-midsized businesses along with educa- tion and government clientele. "We changed our approach to service the enterprise mar- ket from smaller businesses," Thomas says. At the same time, Thomas realized he needed to adjust A3's market share in the education sector — a sec- tor that ballooned to rep- resent 80 percent of the company's income. The thinking was simple. In the 2005-2008 era, cor- porations pulled back o n s p e n d i n g . M a n y enterprises were build- ing large cash positions and were spending noth- ing on network infrastruc- ture; thus, their systems aged and declined in efficiency. In the past year or two, that scenario has flip-flopped. Large enterprises are more willing to spend to upgrade sys- tems and expand service offerings, and A3 is there to help them do it. It is a template they have followed in the past and expect to replicate in the future. As a result, the education slice of the pie has dropped from 80 percent a year ago to 70 percent today. "That was a strategic decision," Thomas confirms. He was worried about the company having too many eggs in one basket — no matter how attractive that basket is. Still, education, especially the K-12 market, is flourishing for security. With the return of the enterprise operation to the market, Thomas figured it was a no-brainer to go after bigger compa- nies, but not to totally abandon their stronghold in education. Finding the Right People While it is nice to have a plan and projections for success, eventually it comes time to put up or shut up. For any security company, that means hav- ing the sales and service technicians on the ground to deliver what the cus- tomer needs. Thomas admits that finding people is one of his biggest challenges. "It takes a very long time to find the right people," he says. Typically, the hiring process is a six-month odyssey. Once the right person is found, the training and re-training commitment is huge. Thomas has had success hiring aggressively out of college and then training open minds to the com- pany's standards and requirements. "The younger generation is leaps and bounds above other workers when it comes to understanding technology," says Thomas, who is just 34 years old himself. "What separates us is the fact we are not just AV, or physical security, or cabling, or virtualization — we are able to offer to serve all of an enterprise's technical needs under one umbrella" — Brian Thomas, president, A3 Communications ww | SD&I | March 2014 SDI_54-59_0314 Fast50 A3.indd 56 3/5/14 1:39 PM

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