Security Industry Association (SIA) member Securitech manufactures high-security door hardware, including multi-point locking and deadbolt locks. The company is headquartered in Maspeth, New York, and serves a variety of markets, including schools, behavioral health care facilities, worldwide retailers, government institutions and infrastructure.
SIA spoke with Mark Berger, president and chief product officer at Securitech, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Mark Berger: Securitech Group, Inc., was founded in 1983 when three companies in New York City – each of whom was dedicated to creating security door locks that pushed the envelope – joined together. The leading company was already recognized in the city for providing multi-point locking and installing solutions in commercial, residential and government locations, but the product line’s special installation requirements limited applications and distribution.
The combined resources and creativity sparked a movement to create a company dedicated to listening to end users and answering their toughest problems, whether for one door or a thousand. Simon Berger and his taller son Mark created the company, and we remain its leaders to this day.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
MB: Securitech is known across the security industry as the go-to company for solutions that go one step beyond the existing industry offerings; all our products must possess three qualities, which we call DBA: Different, Better and Appreciated. We listen to the end user community and produce what they ask for, not what we think they need. Best practices are applied, ensuring security without compromising safety.
We take a leadership position in school locking with our “red button” locking philosophy – anyone inside a classroom should be able to lock it down, but always in a code-compliant manner. Securitech answered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s call for the quickest, simplest and safest barricading method – effective locks. The award-winning SAFEBOLT and QID (Quick Intruder Deadbolt) locks are just the latest examples of Securitech leading the way in both K-12 and higher education security.
Bringing multi-point locking to secure the exit and delivery doors of retail facilities, from major chain drug stores to electronics and cell phone providers and many others, has been a mainstay for over 10 years.
The secret sauce is the strength of our product development team members, who can take the drawing from the back of a napkin and turn it into a prototype on the customer’s desk in record time. Adapting a function or feature never frightens the Securitech team. Answering the call, sometimes even adapting the product to add a newly discovered need after the order has been placed, is what separates us.
What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?
MB: Securitech can’t possibly list all of our solutions on our website. One reason is that we customize products for certain end users where discretion is key. Other unique solutions, for end users like the New York City Transit system (adding an exit device and providing alarm notification capability and keyed entry bypass for all the exit gates), are very customized and hard to describe.
We were honored to have been chosen to design and provide the electric locksets and exit devices for the back-of-the-house security program for the World Trade Center as it rebuilt after the 1993 bombing. That experience taught us the importance of providing safety as well as security. We know that discipline is critical in saving lives, and we try to honor the memory of our teachers, some of whom gave their lives on 9/11.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
MB: 9/11 showed us the importance of respecting safety while designing security solutions. Just about 99 percent of people below impact escaped in an hour or so on that horrible day. Our vision is to empower users to secure their spaces quickly and safely without sacrificing security. We try to envision one of our own family members needing the safety and security of what we produce at a time when they are most vulnerable. We don’t want to let them down.
There are many different aspects of the security industry, and all are important in a holistic solution. They all must work together to truly provide “security.” But we are the part of the security system that everyone touches, and we understand the critical role we play in life safety and personal security.
The key to understanding Securitech is recognizing our expertise in these disciplines:
- Forced entry
- Deadbolt exit devices
- Multi-point locking
- Automatic deadbolt locking
- School lockdown
- Electric locking
- Behavioral health
- Unique and special locking
We combine these different disciplines to meet specific needs.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
MB: As a young boy, I grew up in an open society. We had a latch lock on our home door, and I don’t think that was locked too often. And when it was, lifting up the doormat would expose the key. Sadly, that world has left us. Protection from the unexpected is now a requirement at home, at work and in a public space.
Some of Securitech’s most popular identities are “the “Saferoom Locking Specialists” and the “Special Locking Specialists.” But what we once provided for the secret safe room for the chairmen of Fortune 100 companies is now something most of us are going to expect in our homes, our schools, places of work and public assembly. While we may not all need multi-point locking, we all want to know we can quickly keep the bad guy on the other side of the door.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
MB: Short term – continued growth and innovation. Long term – continued growth and innovation. There will always be a need for physical security.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
MB: Frankly, manufacturing in a major city like New York is a challenge. As we grow and need to increase our capacity, finding space within a city that prefers residential growth to industrial growth presents unique difficulties. We are also living in an Amazon Prime mentality, where customers seem to believe everything can be delivered in two days. That’s not the case when you are producing custom solutions with lots of intricate moving parts.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
MB: We have a great team. Listening to the feedback from our feet on the street as they work with end users to understand their needs and brainstorm solutions and then watching our engineering staff work hand in hand with our product team to produce what no one thought could be done is a thrill that is indescribable. I then get to see it go through the production process, make it out the door and hear the feedback and appreciation when it is installed. I also enjoy driving across the country and seeing our “S” logo on the outsides of buildings and getting pictures from others who see them as well.
Securitech also has products that are in daily use in VA hospitals, and I know we are doing our part to help keep veterans safe as they integrate back into society, while battling demons they acquired in service of our nation. Protecting children in schools, making them feel safe while not hampering their ability to learn, is also an important part of what we do.
As a lifelong Yankees fan, there’s nothing better than walking into Yankee Stadium and seeing our “S” logo on the open gates when approaching the turnstiles. That was a custom solution we created, and while it took the customer months to get back to us after the quote (why is our industry based on “Hurry up and wait and then rush?), we produced the locks in record time to get the stadium opened on schedule.
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?
MB: Combating fly-by-night solutions which are non-compliant separates professionals from profiteers. We are proud to work with SIA in the legislative and code community to bring the experienced view to help protect students, teachers and all those who are in public spaces.
We also enjoy exhibiting at SIA-sponsored shows and participating in SIA summits – they are all first class and very valuable. Winning the SIA New Product Showcase every time we enter ain’t so bad, either.
SIA: How does your organization engage with SIA? What are your plans for involvement in the next year?
MB: Securitech has been exhibiting at the ISC shows for over 30 years! We see many repeat customers and friends years after year. They are a mainstay of our marketing program.