(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series on the origins of H&S Protection Services.)
Steve Garritson started in the alarm industry early in 1980 after reaching his “full university potential,” as he puts it wryly. He joined a small residential security company in Elm Grove, WI, doing installations and service calls. He was later hired as an operations manager by Central Control where he was in charge of the central station and customer service.
The company sold to Ameritech in 1997, and with frustrations mounting, Steve had a meeting around his dining room table that led to the formation of his own company, Sentra Protective Systems in 1998. “We did security, a little bit of fire alarms, and cameras were just starting to come into play,” Steve (who along with Mike Horgan co-owns H&S Protection Systems) remembers.
“We went to some of our former biggest customers and got a big break. Three came over to our new company – Warehouse Shoes, Guarantee Bank, and St. Francis Savings and Loan,” Garritson says.
Sentra hung its hat on “mirroring the service you expect,” making sure customers knew they could talk to Garritson and his team at any time about any issue, and retaining local control of the business, all qualities he has brought over to H&S.
Steve and Mike developed a close business relationship, along with former partner Chris Utter. As they compared notes, it became clear that one business could be stronger than the two separately, and they began discussions about the best path to merge.
(Stay tuned for Part III of this series on this blog site.)