Diversifying Company Assets
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Mar 01, 2016
You’ve heard of IdentiSys, and its mission to supply identification
and card solutions to end users in North America. Perhaps
what you didn’t hear was that the Eden Prairie, Minn., company
recently purchased all assets of LINSTAR, a full-fledged security
integrator based in Buffalo, N.Y. At first glance, it seems like an odd
marriage, but a closer inspection reveals the best of both worlds coming
together to strengthen each organization. IdentiSys divides its time, about
70 percent to the ID and card solutions market; 30 percent to security and
integration. LINSTAR is exactly the opposite. Most of its efforts are aimed
at integration; a small portion focused on product development.
CHANGE IS GOOD
That business plan is about the change, so says Deb Ferril, president and
general manager of the LINSTAR division. Ferril, who had been the president
and COO of IdentiSys in Eden Prairie, has moved over to the New
York operation to begin adopting the business of integration and product
placement, along with product development.
“This acquisition for IndentiSys is very important because in order to
grow in this industry, acquisitions and mergers must take place,” Ferril said.
“Our goal is to replicate the LINSTAR business model for the staff at IdentiSys.
We simply want a stronger and more recognizable footprint in the
IdentiSys is involved in the security market but not as much as company
officials would like. There are numerous business opportunities for ID
credentials outside of the security world; IdentiSys wants to position itself
for success in both ID and security where LINSTAR is operating. In LINSTAR’s
world, the company is a well-known name for security integration
in New York and Pennsylvania, and is also dipping its toe south, into The
City. The company has sales representatives in Upstate New York, in Rochester,
Albany and the Lower Hudson Valley. Three more sales reps will soon be dispatched to New York City and
“There is plenty of work statewide,
but we also want to get into
the business in New York City,” Ferril
said. “We have an incredible sales
team; only one of which comes from
the security industry, but the others
have learned the ins and outs of the
industry from the corporate team,
and talking to people in the field.
“We truly believe that the security
industry is rich with opportunities,
and that includes training
for our partners, sales reps and customers,”
LEARNING THE BUSINESS
As part of Ferril’s view on the success
of the company, she said new
employees must have the desire to
learn the business, not just products,
in order to be effective and
that’s why training is a priority.
However, she said, security sales is a
different animal. LINSTAR mainly
uses access control products from
Galaxy and Isonas. Their VMS
products come from Video Insight
and OnSSI, and cameras come from
Pelco, Panasonic, Advidia and Axis.
As an integrator, LINSTAR excels
in three major verticals: Campus
and K-12 security, emergency
management and law enforcement.
The success that LINSTAR is finding
in the these verticals is translating
to success in the commercial sector.
Law enforcement is a big deal for
the Buffalo, N.Y., office. Sheriffs’ offices
and police departments statewide
are lining up to implement
the companies body-worn cameras.
No, it’s not the same as wiring and
placing cameras in a facility, but
lately, law enforcement body cameras
have been in the news, and
LINSTAR’s expertise with video
management and law enforcement
makes it a perfect match.
Law Enforcement officials rely
on LINSTAR for help in securing
and monitoring their facilities, as
well as public spaces within their
domain, recording of suspect interviews
for evidentiary purposes, issuance
of badges and credentials for
sworn and civilian employees, identifying
and tracking visitors.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation
Authority is a public
authority responsible for the oversight
of public transportation in
both Erie and Niagara Counties in
New York. The NFTA, as an authority,
oversees a number of subsidiaries,
including the NFTA Metro bus and
rail system, the Buffalo-Niagara International
Airport, the Niagara Falls
International Airport. The NFTA
was expanding their Body Worn
Camera program and wanted to test
the newest available technologies before
purchasing additional units.
The NFTA field tested and converted
to Safety Vision Prima Facie
cameras and Prima View software
to improve video quality, durability and ease of use over the previous
brand they had used.
“We have targeted the healthcare
industry as a vertical we want to enter
with ID credentials for both patient
and provider, but mainly as an
integrator,” Ferril said. “This is a key
market for security solutions such
as strong authentication for accessing
record and digital signatures.
A DREAM COME TRUE
For Ferril, her new assignment in
New York is almost like a dream
come true. She said she has always
had an interest in security, particularly
the video side. She said it is
fascinating, and there are a lot more
opportunities with video surveillance.
Ferril said she is a technogeek
at heart. So in line with the old
adage of: “If the shoe fits,” Ferril is
going to wear it.
Ferril’s background fits perfectly
in the security industry as she began
in the computer industry, which led
her to security, and then security
management. She is insistent that
doing a good job and taking care of
the business has led her to the position
as company president. Ferril
said the LINSTAR sales staff is in a
unique position as all of them are
female, and are finding lots of success
in the industry.
“When you get a foot in the
door, especially a woman in this industry,
you better know what you’re
talking about,” Ferril said. “There
is not one particular profile that
works for all sales staff. Each person
has developed their own style based
on experience and knowledge.”
LINSTAR and Ferril bring an
excellent integrator to the forefront.
The customer base is phenomenal,
and the dream is to have customers
talking about the company’s core
values, focus on the customer, quality
of work and the ability to deliver
what LINSTAR says they will deliver.
“Our relationships with the customer
base would be enviable to any
integrator,” Ferril said. “We hear customers
speaking about our core values
and delivering on promises made.
Our work ethic is second to none.”
And, as far as Ferril is concerned,
the LINSTAR experience is
akin to being a kid in a candy store.
The opportunities for growth fill every
shelf of the corporate headquarters.
With continued success, the
plan is to take the security business
model to IdentiSys, which is firmly
entrenched in 28 states.
LINSTAR is the latest in a number
of IdentiSys acquisitions. Moving
around the security industry
has been part of the business model,
mostly to strengthen what the
company already has in place, and
bring new ideas and technologies
to the long list of already satisfied
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.