Don’t look now, but another multibillion-dollar business has emerged in Northeast Ohio, this one in the suburban city of Green between Akron and Canton.
Most people likely haven’t noticed, but former Diebold executive Tony Byerly and his team have built Securitas Technology into an international force with annual sales of about $3.1 billion.
That’s OK, though. Byerly isn’t in the business of being seen; he’s in the business of watching.
“We have 10 monitoring stations around the U.S,” Byerly said in a room filled with dozens of Securitas staffers monitoring locations around the nation. “This is one of the largest. The other one that’s very large is in Plymouth, Minnesota.”
Securitas Technology is a unit of Sweden’s Securitas, an even larger corporate security company that provides guards, investigations, mobile patrols, monitoring and other types of security, with more than 300,000 employees and annual sales of more than $13 billion.
Down in Green — Byerly likes to say Uniontown, which is technically a “Census-designated place” inside of Green — they handle the electronic side of the business.
That’s not to say that all those monitors are watching every property Securitas secures constantly; that would be nearly impossible. The company watches over thousands of factories, warehouses, airports and high-profile sites like Ground Zero in New York City.
“My business is in 40 countries,” Byerly said, adding that “the largest presence is in the U.S. and Europe. … They’re probably about 80% of our business.”
The company has computers and algorithms to do the constant monitoring, and humans are alerted when something suspicious takes place. But cameras are still king in the security business.
“The fastest-growing segment is still video, by far,” Byerly said “And that’s where AI is going, by the way.”
Meanwhile, Securitas monitors the goings-on in all of the places where it has clients — watching the weather for threats and monitoring news outlets so that it’s on top of any instances of civil unrest or other security threats, Byerly said.
Those human monitors aren’t just hired in and plopped in front of a screen, either.
First, they get three weeks of basic training, After that, they spend time working as monitors but with an experienced monitor by their side, sort of like a driver with a learner’s permit. After about two months of total training, they are tested to be certified monitors, and then they’re certified by the industry’s trade group, The Monitoring Association, before they can work on their own.
It also mans or maintains on-site monitoring and command centers at important client sites, Byerly said.
None of that, of course, can take place before Securitas Technology’s clients are wired up and connected. For that, the company has 5,000 field technicians installing cameras, lights, sensors, identification devices and other equipment, as well as designing systems for clients that tie it all together into a cohesive cocoon of protection.
The company has a room full of toys for clients to check out, also in Green, from near-instant fingerprint scanners and retina identification systems to more mundane things like card readers.
Ironically, Byerly’s building the company in a building once owned by his former employer — and Securitas Technology’s existence is a result of Securitas’ acquisition of Diebold Nixdorf’s former electronic securities business for $350 million in 2016, Diebold reported at the time.
Since then, Byerly has been rebuilding it from the ground up, beginning with the 67,000-square-foot building that now houses Securitas Technology. That was completely gutted and rebuilt as modern offices and with new wiring and cables all installed in the floors, Byerly said.
He also has built Securitas Technology via acquisition, most notably its purchase of Stanley Security from Stanley Black & Decker in July 2022.
“That was a $3.2 billion transaction that doubled our business,” Byerly said.
It also more than doubled the number of monitoring stations Securitas Technology has and doubled its headcount.
“We have a combined 13,000 employees worldwide now,” Byerly said.
Since then, Byerly said the business has continued to expand, and now has more assets to continue its growth.
“We doubled our size in most of our markets,” Byerly said. “We have a broader offering and a broader reach now.”