Looking Forward for Business
Security horizon has bountiful outlook
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Aug 01, 2013
In the world of product distribution, Tri-Ed Distribution means business.
In fact, President and CEO Pat Comunale is so excited about the
security industry’s future, he plans to bring five, recently-acquired, data
solutions centers into the security vertical.
Tri-Ed Distribution continues its expansion in North America by adding
new branches in Denver, Centennial, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs,
Colo., and a branch in Little Rock, Ark. These facilities will specialize as Tri-
Ed data solutions centers and stock a complete line of connectivity and lowvoltage
“We’re very fortunate to partner with such a fine private equity group in
Audax,” Comunale said. “They have a buy-and-build strategy, which is how
we are growing, strong and steady. Once we integrate security products in our
new locations, the Tri-Ed model is to ensure that high-end products are available
to the integrator.”
Getting in the Game
Since being acquired from Tyco in 2005, with 25 locations and a moderate
revenue sheet, Tri-Ed currently has more than 60 locations, with more on
the way, which has increased revenue six fold. The company is going to grow
more this year as they open locations in Nashville, Tenn., Pittsburgh, Pa., Detroit,
Mich., Cincinnati, Ohio and Raleigh, N.C.
Along with the distribution centers, Tri-Ed has aligned itself with com-
Cables, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tri-Ed, located in Colorado. As a structured
cabling solutions manufacturer, comCables markets a network infrastructure
for telecom rooms, wiring closets, cable, communication outlets and
interconnect cables for copper and fiber optic applications.
“Our alignment with comCables is that we’re a good customer of theirs,”
“Gradually, we will roll out the comCable model to the entire United States.
Our partnership will allow comCables to expand its national sales through
our extensive distribution network. And, Tri-Ed Distribution can now provide
customers a complete line of connectivity products, making us the onestop-
shop of choice for all their IP installation needs.”
Comunale mentioned that the company is also anticipating a couple more
acquisitions before the end of the year, because there are a lot of smaller distributors
who find it difficult to get high-end products right now, complicating
the transition from analog to IP.
According to Comunale, the goal of Tri-Ed Distribution is to be one of the
few players that go end-to-end in their product lineup. He said that while the
migration to IP is slow, it is taking place, and they want to be the wholesaler
of choice when it comes to high-end, IP, video products. The target is to make
it easier for the integrator to install better products and technology.
When it comes to business, helping dealers and integrators is an integral part
of the process for Tri-Ed.
“Our business model includes technology and the ability to help dealers
understand what works best in a given situation,” Comunale said. “Not only
the best technology, but providing a layout end-to-end. We also want to make
sure the products they choose will integrate with each other and that they are
preprogramed for the site.”
“We want to make sure the equipment is in plug-and-play mode, that dealers
are able to upgrade DVR storage (hard drives) and that they have the right
switches and router.”
Business is Booming
Whether it is technology or equipment flying off the warehouse shelves, Tri-
Ed takes education to a higher level in the security industry with the roadshow
business, training as many as 4,000 dealers in 2012. They expect to exceed that
number this year, as they crisscross North America with training sessions.
“Our goal is to help speed up the transition from analog to IP, and we do
this with roadshows,” Comunale said. “Our trainers and experts will be in
Dallas on Sept. 12, and back in New York on Oct. 16. We close out the year
with a roadshow in Southern California on Nov. 13.”
The Tri-Ed roadshow concept is not business as usual. The company has
plenty of security product experts of their own, but many of the bigger manufacturers
also send technical experts to explain and demonstrate their products.
In fact, four of five intrusion product manufacturers attend the roadshow, and
many high-end product manufacturers also bring technical advisors.
Dealers and integrators appreciate Tri-Ed’s willingness to train and teach
the technological nuances that make the security industry high tech.
Whether building by corporate talent or acquisition, Tri-Ed is growing
through a buy-and-build strategy. It seems to be working. No longer is the
company in New York considered a small or regional player. Comunale calls
his growth pattern a “logical solution” in the business world.
This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.