Meeting of the Minds
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2012
the security industry
up of numerous
I never paid
that much attention to partnerships until about 10
years ago when I leaped from Associate Publisher to
Editor-in-Chief of this magazine. Then it seemed like
Company A was doing business with Company B, and
Company C liked what it saw and wanted to join in.
Partnerships make for a good marriage.
Speaking of marriage, I spent a few days in beautiful
upstate New York at the end of July for an unusual
family reunion. Call it an Italian wedding and
reunion, if you will.
My gracious host for the event was Lenel Systems
International, whose team introduced me to Mercury
Security Corp., an organization with whom Lenel has
had a long and distinguished history. It all started
about 16 years ago when the two companies discovered
they were good for each other in marketing a
hardware platform (Mercury) for the On Guard access
control system software (Lenel). But like some
marriages, things sort of got crossways.
Critical to this marriage were the “23,000 children”
in more than 90 countries, who have benefitted from
the union. These end users were never really affected
by the disagreements because, as happens in a truly
joint partnership, the children were always looked
after. Who are these children, or end users? They include
Ebay, Amazon, Apple, Boeing, Chevron and
several higher education campuses. In fact, 92 of the
Fortune 100 companies employ Lenel security solutions,
but who’s counting?
Enter Joe Kirmser. New to the strategic Lenel
management plan. Kirmser has been president for
only five months, but a year ago he saw the opportunity
of saddling back up with Mercury. It was time to
put the legal battles and turf disagreements to rest.
Kirmser said he knows where he wants to take the
company, and he doesn’t want to make the trip without
Mercury. Kirmser is still a young guy who doesn’t
lack for good judgment and the ability to seek the
wisdom of Mercury CEO Frank Gasztonyi, who also
wanted to get the relationship back in good order.
“People sometimes get lost in the mix during periods
of significant organizational and market change,”
Kirmser said. “Sometimes people lose sight of the
valuable partnerships that have been developed over
time. Relationships are critical and deserve attention.”
On July 2, Mercury signed a long-term agreement
with Lenel to continue providing access control hardware.
Following the agreement, Mercury participated
in Paradigm for the first time ever, which sent a strong
signal about the importance of the relationship and
the new commitment to growth by partnering with
one another. Paradigm is an annual consulting event
for the most influential security consultants in the industry
The event is held in Rochester, N.Y.
Gasztonyi, who as Mercury’s co-founder was an
originator of the Lenel partnership all those years
ago, said he was pleased and excited to announce the
relationship’s renewal and looked forward to enhancing
product lines with Lenel over the next decade.
Both companies have work to do; they admit that,
but thankfully, the leadership has come to terms in a
full strategic vision for the future. What seems evident
to me, and Gasztonyi validated this, was that Kirmser
was motivated to restore the relationship and that
both internal leadership groups were able to compromise
“What we have together is a winning formula for
the customer,” Kirmser said. “Together, we’re better
for the customer. Together, there will be more exciting
What I took away from Paradigm is that Lenel and
Mercury want to provide scalable integrated security
solutions, enabling their customers to effectively protect
and manage their people, property and assets.
Plus, both companies have a vision to effectively collaborate
with their consultants.
Here is the real key: “We do not want to be arrogant
but certainly proud in what we do and confident
in our abilities to execute our strategy and solve big
problems,” Kirmser said.
He cited several qualities that will drive the company
vision, including demanding solution flexibility and
providing value-add services and applications. Kirmser
also said the customers deserve the best of breed
when integrating access control and video software,
and they deserve the best product quality for command
and control for security or in the overall facility.
Let’s face it. The security business is built around
technology and the genius that many people bring to
the table. An open architecture will provide companies
the opportunity to blend their solutions together,
forming key partnerships to the benefit of the end
user. It’s all about understanding the strengths of the
partnership and healing the weaknesses as a team.
Now that the nuptials are recorded, it’s time for the
party to begin in earnest. May there be many happy
This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Security Today.