Ashley Cooper, CEO
Ashley Cooper, CEO of Paladin Security, has zeroes in mind when he thinks of his company's future. Nine of them, to be exact.
"The goal has always been to be the very best security company in the industry," says Ashley, speaking on the phone from Vancouver. "On a size basis, I'd like to take our company over a billion dollars in sales."
He's well on his way to doing so. Paladin Security has grown from a local operation in Vancouver to the largest privately owned security firm in Canada. Unlike most protection specialists, which usually stick to narrower parameters of expertise, Paladin offers a full spectrum of solutions. More horizontally than vertically integrated, Paladin provides security officers, alarm systems, investigators and even VIP bodyguards.
"All together these things will be the better solution and the better value," says Ashley. "Everything's about adding value back to the customer. Finding more efficient ways to deliver protection for them, for less spend."
His company specializes in protecting workers in the healthcare industry (160 hospitals are clients), college campuses, commercial buildings, the oil and gas industry and shopping malls. In every type of situation, Paladin's security officers keep people and property safe without guns.
"In general terms, security staff cannot carry guns in Canada and we're quite okay with that. It's about the training. If you look at US hospitals, where people do carry guns, you'll find a good portion of the shootings that occur in those hospitals are done with the guns that are owned by the good guys."
Paladin currently has over 6000 employees working in fourteen cities across Canada. Three operation centers in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto act as hubs, controlling everything from scheduling to alarm systems, monitoring and communication with officers on the ground.
Keeping up with the latest developments in high tech is one of the ways Paladin saves customers money. As Ashley starts to enthuse about untrickable advanced laser detection systems, I picture the museum scene in Ocean's Twelve when the bank robber dances his way through a laser field.
"That's outdated now," laughs Ashley, explaining the lasers Paladin uses aren't visible.
"Say you have an oil field supplier with a large outdoor lot, with a lot of expensive equipment. We can put one of these sensors in there. It's smart technology. If anything in that environment changes, it will track those changes, integrated with cameras so we can see who's breached the premises, where they are and what they're doing. And it's real time."
Then he puts it into layman's terms for me: "The laser spins around basically a bajillion times a second. It learns its environment, then you can map it out with software, so any change will trigger an alarm."
Paladin Security recently triggered some attention from Deloitte, landing on their 2012 Top 50 Best Managed Companies list. With plans to expand into the United States and beyond, it seems likely Ashley will meet his goal of a billion dollars in sales. Maybe even a bajillion.
by YouInc Columnist Tiffany Burns