Doyle Security celebrates 100 years

Jack Doyle talks with SSN about the milestone and the company’s largest acquisition in the past century
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Friday, March 29, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—It was St. Paddy’s Day 1919 when John A. Doyle started the Doyle Detective Bureau, a business that has managed to evolve and adapt to become one of the top security companies in the industry today with 175 employees and between $1.2-$1.3 million in RMR.

Now, 100 years later, fifth generation Doyle family members, including Director of Business Development Jack Doyle and his sister, Digital Strategy Manager Alexandra Justis, are carrying on the tradition, guiding and helping Doyle Security Systems to persevere and stay relevant in the 21st century. To celebrate, the family had a party (see photos) on St. Patrick’s Day-eve, March 16, with a New Year’s Eve theme that culminated in a ball drop at midnight to signify the century mark.

Photo: The Doyle family, including President and CEO John Doyle (far right), his son Jack Doyle and daughter Alexandra Justis to his left, celebrate 100 years at company party.

“This is a really big deal and means a lot to the Doyle family because we have been family-owned and operated for the entirety of our history; we are a generational business: My great, great grandfather, John A. Doyle, started he business back in 1919,” Jack Doyle told Security systems News. “Back then it was just a private investigations firm and since then we have grown quite a bit throughout the generations into a variety of markets, all security related. Lasting this long has required a lot adaptation and hard work from all of our employees and partners who have helped us build this company over the years — we have grown and adapted through strong leadership and persevere and continue to grow.”

The anniversary comes on the heals of the company’s largest acquisition in its 100-year history with the purchase of the customer accounts of Commercial Instruments & Alarm Systems (CIA Security), a privately held company headquartered in Fishkill, N.Y. The purchase adds 7,500 new customers and 55 employees to the Doyle family.

“It dovetails rather nicely — two major milestones all at once — and it is extremely exciting for us,” Doyle said. “We’ve been growing through acquisition in a more modest fashion for the past 25 years and strategically we have tried to grow our footprint without biting off more than we can chew, so to speak. To have this opportunity to bring on such a talented staff during this 100-year milestone is a huge opportunity and blessing and we are excited.”

The acquisition significantly expands Doyle’s geographic scope and reach in New York State. Doyle will retain the current CIA offices in Fishkill and Catskill, adding to their existing branches in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo and Erie, Pa. and their Rochester, N.Y. headquarters. 

CIA Security was established in 1979 by founder, president and Alarm Industry Hall of Fame member John Lombardi, who will remain on board with regional leadership responsibilities. “It is with pride and confidence that we share this news.” Lombardi said of the sale.  “I have no doubt that the incredible team at Doyle will continue to treat our customers and employees with the immense care and compassion that we have for the last 40 years.” Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group assisted Lombardi in the sale.

Doyle said he is excited to bring such an experienced and talented group into the fold, especially CIA’s full service CAD department and engineering team.

“We are bringing on a collective skill set and knowledge that is really above and beyond, especially on the engineering side of the commercial fire and intrusion business — some really talented people in that arena,” he explained.

A big focus for the year, Doyle noted, was guaranteeing a smooth transition with the CIA team. “Anytime you are going from 125 employees to a 175, some extreme precautions are taken to ensure smooth transition, and so far we are off to a great start.”

In addition to growth on the commercial side of the business with this latest buy, Doyle continues to adapt and grow on the residential side as well.

“We have found some success with a more entry-level, mass-market style offering that a lot of traditional alarm companies haven’t gotten as involved with,” Doyle explained. “We have made an effort to compete nationally with the likes of ADT and other national mass marketers and we have found that we stack up pretty well. So we have been doing a lot in home automation and on the residential video side, working a lot with the Honeywell Lyric product and the new camera suite that they put out, and we have definitely had some success with that.”

He continued, “Some of the integrated smart home technologies — the wireless door locks, thermostats, Skybells — all of those types of products have paid some dividends and allowed us to compete in a very volatile residential marketplace right now.”