Security Industry Association (SIA) member Security By Design, Inc., (SBD) is an independent consultant that brings broad knowledge to the planning and design process. SBD provides solutions and services in security planning, management services, studies, systems design and more. The firm provides services to clients who have unique projects that requires detail design capabilities or develops design standards for multi-building, multi-site or multi-national firms. SBD is headquartered in Pacheco, California, and serves clients around the globe.
SIA spoke with SBD CEO Lorna Chandler, who helped found the company with chairman Ed Chandler, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Lorna Chandler: Friends in the locksmith industry were trying to enter the alarm and access control system and required assistance in understanding the electronics side of the business. Ed, who had just finished earning his degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, worked with them to design and install several alarm and access control systems. Ed had a strong background in electronics from his time in the U.S. Navy.
The owner of the School for Lock Technology asked if Ed would write a course in basic burglar alarm installation for alternative work opportunities, and Ed wrote and taught that course. The locksmith hired the best students and sent the others to his competitors. Based on these experiences, Ed founded Easter Company, a sole proprietorship, in 1974 to design and document electronic security systems to allow them to be properly installed and maintained.
In 1981, Ed had his first large opportunity, but he was going to need more resources. I had a strong background in business planning, personnel, supervision and project management, experience in loss prevention for credit cards and lock box banking and a degree in mathematics from the University of California, Irvine. I took a leave of absence from my employer to see if it would be viable to work together so closely. We moved the office out of our home to an office building in Pleasant Hill, California. We hired two more design consultants and an administrative assistant. Working around the clock, this team kept up with a large design and construction project near the office. Our CPA strongly urged us to incorporate, and Easter Company became Asset Protection Consultants Inc. in 1982. The firm changed its name to SBD in 1997 to better describe the services provided.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
LC: SBD has a reputation for pushing on the industry to develop solutions to problems that have not been mitigated. If solutions don’t exist, SBD makes the effort to conceive of a new solution. Some of these have included using 2×4 boards and sensors to develop an initial protype for an optical turnstile in our garage. The concept was provided to Omega Control Systems in Concord, California, to see if the idea could become a product. They became the Omega Turnstile, now manufactured as Gunnebo.
Over the years there have been other concepts that have been conceived and used by various clients. The most recent innovation that is being rolled out is a web- and mobile-based tool to inventory and document field conditions at sites. This allows remote verification of conditions, which will save clients and installation contractors hours of time.
When SBD approaches a design project, the goal is to mentally install the systems so that as many of the installation challenges have been identified in advance as possible. When working on an architectural design team, SBD checks to determine the materials being used in construction, reviews the existing pathways, checks the projected lighting levels in areas where video will be used and reviews the landscaping plans for a safe and secure walkway. While this effort is not 100 percent, many of the problems are identified in advance and appropriate tools are selected to help make an installation successful. The goal at the end of the project is to create a win for our client, the installation contractor and SBD.
The solutions SBD provides to clients are never an industry “cookie cutter.” The requirements of each client’s business and facility’s use cases evolve over projects to allow the repeated use of device configurations at similar types of locations, while creating new configurations for new conditions. Thus the design elements provide consistency for installation and maintenance, the combination of how the devices are used is unique to each client.
SBD is product independent, which means that we do not have a vested interest in our clients using any particular products. This gives us the freedom to select the products that best fit our client’s needs.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
LC: Our mission is to provide security consulting and design services, to minimize our client’s “non-business” losses. Our core values are to provide “real value, win client confidence, be product Independent, follow the Golden Rule, use a holistic approach and strive for constant improvement.” Our core purpose is to grow a healthy and profitable business. Our slogan is “We create security solutions.”
We believe that most persons in the security industry are there because we collectively believe that our efforts are making a difference in other people’s lives. We enjoy the daily challenge of finding ways to enrich our customers’ business environments through helping their employees feel safe and secure so they can be more productive.
SIA: What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership?
LC: The biggest challenge we face in our industry today is the evolution of technology and the struggle to keep up with the evolution of mitigating approaches to thwart those who would use those tools to harm us. We have joined SIA to enhance our ability to participate in innovative opportunities within the security industry.