Business demand for security services on the rise in the lead-up to Winter Games

Many of B.C.’s largest security companies are ramping up staff and improving operations to deal with the increased demand for business and residential security during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ashley Meehan, vice-president at Genesis Security, said his firm plans to hire an additional 300 guards over the next few months to deal with the growing demand for event security during the Games. He said the company will be providing security for roughly five major multi-day events while the Olympic flame is lit, along with several smaller events that might require 10 to 20 guards.

“There’s a massive amount needed, and we obviously can’t do it all. Our first priority is our existing clients.”

Meehan added that about 75% of Genesis’ business will be event-related during the Olympic Games, which will boost the company’s workload by between 30% and 40%.

Meanwhile, Nigel Bullers, vice-president of operations at Securiguard Services, expects the company to increase its number of security staff by 15% to 20% over the next few months. In addition to increased demand for event security and static and mobile guards, the company has noted a rise in demand for VIP security.

However, he said significant uncertainty remains over how much security clients think they will need. Bullers suggested people looking for security should determine their needs sooner rather than later, because “we anticipate there will be a lot of last-minute requests. We are asking people to be as proactive as possible.”

Provident Security’s Mike Jagger also expects at least a 10% increase in staff leading up to the Games. But unlike some other firms, Jagger is increasing staff and improving the company’s operating efficiency to mitigate the changes affecting the city during the Olympics instead of attracting Olympics-related business.

“We’ve turned down just about every opportunity that came our way related to the Olympics just because it wasn’t a strategic fit, and we were concerned about being distracted from our existing client base.”

Because of road closures and increased pedestrian traffic expected in Vancouver’s downtown core next February, the company will be increasing its staff to ensure Provident can fulfil its guarantee to have security staff at a client’s location to respond to an alarm in five minutes or less. The company has also developed in-house real-time tracking technology to improve dispatch efficiency, especially during Games time.

But the benefit of the company’s improvements will last long after the Games have ended. Jagger noted the Olympics have been a “great opportunity to focus on improving our systems to better our service delivery and better our ability to respond.”

Meehan expects security needs and activity in the region to remain high for at least the next 12 months. He was in Sydney for the 2000 Olympics.

“I saw what happened there and how there was still a lot of hype in the city, a lot of people visiting after the Games. So for us, we expect it’s going to be very busy until this time next year. We anticipate a lot of activity and growth.”

Published November 24, 2009 · Business In Vancouver · Written by Richard Chu

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