Umbrella approach helps Reilly lock up the security market
11 Nov. 2013

It is a changing world for security businesses and no one knows that better than   The Reilly Group of Companies co-owners Nick Migliore and Carmine Panaro. Mr. Migliore began his career as a part-time security guard and eventually held positions as executive director of operations and security at the CN Tower and director of security for TrizecHahn Corp. Mr. Panero started as a service technician at his uncle’s locksmith shop at the age of 15, and went on to build a deep understanding of the security hardware industry. His expertise is sought by many, including the Canadian government. Since 2004, they have overseen increasingly rapid expansion and growth at The Reilly Group. The company — Reilly Lock established in 1932, and Reilly Security established in 1996 — has grown to include Paul’s Lock and Security Barrie, Reilly Lock and Security Trindad and Tobago, Mirtech International Security Inc. and Executek International, a global security and risk management company that operates in 165 countries. In an interview with Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, Mr. Migliore explains how the company has grown so quickly.

Q Rather than growing as one corporate entity, you’ve grown as a group of companies. Is this part of the reason for your success?

A I think it has been the key to our success. Where most organizations blend everything under one corporate banner, we’ve separated them into boutique-style special services offerings. For example, Reilly Security is predominantly focused on security guard services, which is totally different from Reilly Lock, which focuses on the locksmith service or Executek, which offers security and risk management. And each is led by a specialist in those offerings. For example, Executek is led by the retired deputy chief of the Toronto police force. To conduct investigations, background checks, due diligence, reports is so different than what a security guard or a locksmith does or a technology technician who goes in to install cameras and access control

Each brand is very strong independently. We wouldn’t want to change the Reilly Lock brand that’s been around since 1932 in Toronto. Its long history reinforces stability and longevity.  At the same time, we have clients that are big real estate companies that would hire Reilly Security for their buildings, but they’ll also hire some of the other companies, or in some cases they’ll hire all of the different companies to provide all the different needs. For example, the Rogers Centre hires Reilly Security’s guard services, and Reilly Lock’s security systems and their technology access control. Other organizations really are not interested in a guard offering or a technology one and they only want to hire Executek for investigations. What this enables us is to go in with one offering, nurture relationships and then offer other opportunities.

Q Does your model give you the competitive advantages of both corporate and smaller boutique models?

A Yes. We’re able to customize and bring you that specialized offering in whatever the client is looking for on a very small scale or a grand scale. We’ve done security work during the G20, Ripleys Aquarium in Toronto and we’ve just been awarded the security contract for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, some of the biggest festivals in Toronto, the Burlington Sound of Music festival, which is the largest outdoor music festival in the country, the CNE and then we also provide Toronto residents with just a simple lock change. Every client or potential client is important. If you’re a residential customer and are calling Reilly’s Lock in Toronto or Paul’s Lock in Barrie, you’re treated the same as if you are a huge international organization.

The work we do can be very complex. We can be doing a threat-risk assessment for a financial institution, or a security plan for an attraction, or providing staffing solutions at the Rogers Centre or helping a client who is looking for a missing person and needs closure. They’re all different and unique. You can’t have one brand, one solution. You have to come with the boutique custom solutions. Without that mindset, I don’t think you can be competitive today.

Q A lot of your growth has been through acquisitions. Is this your primary growth strategy?

A We have growth strategies on different levels. For example, one of our growth strategies was to integrate technology — access control, CCTV, intrusion systems, and we were looking for an acquisition and we found Mirtech International Security. At the same time, we’re not a conventional security integrator that’s just looking at components. We’ve gone a step beyond that and in keeping with our tradition of a strategy of innovation and boutique, we’ve partnered with another group where we are offering analytical software, which is really the future. It is a highly sophisticated and powerful smart technology software solution with powerful analytics.

So our growth strategy is built not only on acquisition, but also on looking for leading-edge innovative new products and how we can customize solutions for clients using these. We put a lot of effort into seeking out new innovative products. We attend a lot of conferences and technology shows and we are aggressive in trying to secure the licensing rights and we add them to our suite of offerings.

We have very diverse clients and projects so our strategy to keep the boutique companies separated but with the ability to bring them all together has worked very well for us. Today, you have to be able to think beyond the cliché of thinking in the box. You have to redefine the box.

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