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A secure future.

Two former Winnipeg police officers have helped change the image of the security industry. Now in its 10th year, Inner-Tec is an innovative leader in providing security services for all occasions.

Ten years ago, Michael Menzies and Grant Hardman recognized an opportunity. Drawing from their law enforcement and security backgrounds, the enterprising pair pinpointed three major deficiencies in the security industry back then: quality of personnel, lack of proper training and lack of super, vision. To be successful, their challenge was to offer a high quality alternative to clients, at the same time reversing the negative image and reputation the industry had been saddled with.

A mere fledgling in 1981, Inner-Tec Security Services began testing its wings with only 20 employees, including the management team of two, who were moonlighting from their regular jobs as City of Winnipeg police officers. Initially, the two worked double duty for nine months, changing roles from police officer to management, administration and operations executives. A bank operating line of $20,000 was negotiated which enabled them to bridge any cash flow difficulties.

Within eight months of startup, Inner, Tec doubled in size and has continued to flourish throughout the 80S. The firm had revenues of $7 million at its most recent year end and employs upwards of 700 people. Between $9 and $10 million is the projected 1990/91 gross revenue, and according to executive vice-president Hardman, they're on target." A bold contrast from their modest beginnings a decade ago of $137,086.

What does this enterprising pair attribute their accomplishments to? President Menzies offers this explanation: "The industry is highly competitive, and our 'hands on' approach to business is the key to our success. We provide a total security management program one that is personalized and tailored to individual client needs."

The hiring of good personnel is always an integral part to any successful operation, and it's no different at Inner-Tec. After a three-tier personnel screening, which includes interviews with management, internal investigation and completion of provincial licensing requirements, all employees must complete a Certificate Training Program, a thorough instruction both in theory and practical methods. In addition, all personnel achieve their qualification in standard first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques.

With the exception of such special security assignments like the Western Canada Summer Games or a particular request from an existing client, Inner-Tec concentrates solely on developing long-term contracts with clients. Short term assignments, such as social events and construction sites are avoided, which in effect eliminates the possibility of layoffs. "This policy offers job security and advancement opportunities for our people," says Menzies.

Marketing and promoting the services of Inner-Tec is a natural for Thor Goodmanson, the company's vice-president of marketing, who also is a strong advocate of a personalized client relationship. "Rather than simply providing a client with a warm body (24, hour guard), we design and manage security programs and staff our sites with fully trained, professional individuals," says the veteran of 13 years experience in commercial sales management and service with CP Air. "We also provide a private investigation division for commercial clients, a mobile division for evening lockup and patrol along with a consulting service."

But training and understanding the nature of the business doesn't stop with the employees. One of the most unique and valuable concepts developed by Inner-Tec is its Security Educational Seminars, designed for the benefit of people associated with managing or developing a property and the tenants, residents and employees themselves. These seminars introduce the company's concepts and help educate potential clients on things like fire safety and other security related subjects.

At client request, Inner-Tec will also develop a Security Informational brochure tailored to the property, outlining procedures vital to maintaining the highest level of protection.

Updating its service 30 months ago from a manual reporting system and punch clock, Inner-Tec was one of the first companies in Winnipeg to implement the Guard Control System (GCS), an electronic data acquisition unit costing approximately $7,000. Hardman emphasizes, "It's well worth the money. The accountability and credibility it adds to our service is invaluable. It's virtually a foolproof system."

Inner-Tec boasts the lion's share of the Winnipeg security services market at 70 per, cent, having expanded from the Courts of St. james (its first, and still existing client), hotels and residential property management companies, to the four major hospitals (Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface, Grace and Misericordia), shopping malls, commercial and residential office towers, industrial sites and loss prevention. Province-wide, in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada Safeway utilizes Inner-Tec loss prevention services in surveilling and apprehending shoplifters.

As successful as they have been, the partners remain cautious when talking about growth outside Manitoba: "Expansion has been generated from our existing client base," says Hardman. "Any additional future growth will likely come from the B.C. market."

Committed to its clients, all levels of Inner-Tec management are accessible 'round the clock. For example, within 30 minutes of a major fire that occurred recently at an office complex, not only was the on-site security officer dealing with tenant concerns, two levels of management were present the site supervisor and an executive officer. The client's feedback: "Talk about service. You can't expect any better than this."

Like most growing industries, security services are changing. "Clients now see security as an investment, not a forced expenditure, says Menzies. "This is perhaps the biggest difference we see now compared with 10 years ago when we were starting out."

Entering the 190s, the hands-on' approach of Inner-Tec and its ability to provide professional services remains a constant. Menzies puts it best when he says succinctly: "A company is only as good as its people."

If that's the case, then the future looks bright for Inner-Tec Security Services.
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Title Annotation:Inner-Tec Security Services provides private security for clients in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Author:Taylor, Barbara
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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