By Mollee Harper
We travel to Norcross to sit down with co-founder Rick Strawn, who serves as President and CEO of Paradigm Security Services, Inc. Strawn is a retired 25-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department and a well-known provider of private security services in Georgia, since 1988. During our one-on-one, Strawn shares highlights about the company’s start in the construction industry, and making the paradigm shift to contract security services founding Paradigm with wife and partner Susan. Strawn also describes their expertise in executive protection services (in armed and unarmed personnel), and how they have positioned their offering to perfectly serve the needs of production companies, entertainers and professionals, traveling and working on location in Georgia.
After retiring from the Atlanta Police Department as Day Commander over the White Collar Crimes Unit in 1998, Strawn established Strawn Security Services to provide top quality off-duty law enforcement personnel to major construction firms in Atlanta and surrounding areas. Over the last three decades, he has developed one of the largest resources of dedicated state, county and municipal law enforcement officers and deputies available in the State of Georgia.
Inside the Paradigm
Paradigm Security Services, Inc. was founded in 2006, by husband and wife team, Rick and Susan Strawn. The Paradigm security service offering includes: law enforcement, armed and unarmed private security and concierge security, executive protection, training (in-house and on-site), marked vehicle patrol, consulting services, private investigations, and alarm and video monitoring. Paradigm Security Services is headquartered at 1770 Indian Trail, Road, Suite 110, Norcross, Georgia, 30093.
Strawn began, “Paradigm is a company with boots-on-the-ground security. Anything that you see out there that requires a security officer, we provide that security. Security is our problem, not yours. We pride ourselves in training, and offer our own academy with two State-certified trainers. We also provide consulting for security assessments, lunch-and-learns, and more, for many types of businesses of many industries. Primarily, we are a boots-on-the-ground security company. We employ over 100 officers in the field.”
He continued describing, “We compliment all of that by working with people in the alarm industry and video camera industry. We also have a fleet of 8 marked vehicles, 5 marked golf carts and provide both armed and unarmed security patrol services.”
“All of our services are customized to the specific needs of our client. Whenever anyone asks for an armed security guard, I explain the pros and cons. I often will talk someone into a lower priced unarmed guard that better meets their needs. My goal is to fit their specific needs.”
“Our initial business started out placing off-duty officers in traffic and security positions in Metro Atlanta at major construction sites. That was 98% of our business. Our clients, who really trust in us, decided they wanted one provider for their off-duty officers plus regular contract security, meaning unarmed. So, based on that feedback, we decided to go ahead and move into contract security services. We researched it thoroughly, and decided to do it right. We obtained our license with the state, and offer in-house training in our own training academy.”
Strawn shared, “Emory Murphy is our VP of Operations. He used to serve quite a bit of the movie industry with his own security firm. I did a lot with the entertainment business while employed at the APD. In 2008, when the construction industry took a hit, the movie industry really started ramping up. We decided to get back into this industry and provide a higher level of officers to serve our clients here.”
“We handled all of the Beyond Scared Straight! video production work for Arnold Shapiro, among some others.”
Strawn shared, “My police career started in 1973. Safety and security has been my life’s work. I was supervisor, for two years, with the Special Operations Unit in ATL. That included the Solo Motorcycle Units. We dealt with sporting events, festivals, traffic, crowds and more for the City. I was over that for two years. I did a lot of movie detail while on motors. Our training now covers a lot of the liabilities and intervention with crowd control. We teach them how to take any situation and de-escalate it. We also make sure our officers are on time.”
“Our training is so flexible and fluid; we can update it for any specific site or production. We sit down with the client upfront, and then provide in-house training to ensure a customized solution for that client. One of our managers, or I personally, will physically visit each site ahead of time. What do you want to prevent? Are your concerns about trespass, vandalism, or something else?”
“I work with the local and state agencies to provide traffic control for their route, location and more. We handle all of that coordination ourselves.”
Strawn offered, “For entertainers, they are primarily interested in executive protection, getting safely from Point A to Point B, and protecting personnel and property, on and off set. We have a wide range of security officers and guards, both armed and unarmed, that dress in uniform or plain clothes. We can also provide a marked or unmarked vehicle.”
“One thing we do that is different, is that we really consult with each client and ask questions to identify what their real needs are,” Strawn emphasized. “Our focus encompasses the whole picture. As security experts, our goal is to supply our client with what they actually need, not what they think they need.”
“We have the ability to supply a full and customized solution, including working with local and state law enforcement, wherever they are while here working in Georgia.”
Paradigm Leadership & Strengths
Strawn describes staff and operations, “We are locally owned and operated. We do everything in-house. All of our personnel, management staff, training facility and vehicles are housed in one place. We can remedy problems quickly because our resources are together. Our brain, control and heart are all in one location.”
Strawn explained, “We are very committed to immediate response. If you call, you will get somebody. Too many folks are spread out. I don’t want my clients to get frustrated because they can’t reach someone. I want to hear from my clients that they are happy. If they can’t reach operations, sales, etc. they all know they can reach me direct 24/7/365.”
“All of our accounting is overseen by Co-owner, CFO and CPA, Susan Strawn. Susan has an extensive background as a CPA, having worked for one of the Big 8 accounting firms,” he said. All of our data, beginning a shift, ending a shift, assignment, etc., is compiled through our own smart phone applications to ensure that our clients are billed for what is worked, not what was “scheduled”, and they are responded to immediately.”
“Our Senior Management Staff meet every Monday morning for three hours. As a Team, we review everything that went on the past week and what’s planned for the week ahead. We’re all in the same offices so we are able to stay on track.” Strawn added, “We reward our officers and guards for their good work.”
“Ken Cox, our Director of Operations, is also retired from law enforcement in Toccoa, Georgia and a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Ken is a certified Security and Firearms Instructor with the Georgia Secretary of State, as well as a certified NRA Firearms Instructor.”
“Our Director of HR is in-house. Carol Padgett is trained and manages HR.”
“Ed Aycock is our Director of Training. He is also a State Certified Security Trainer with over 20 years of Security Management Experience. He conducts classes every week to train new personnel.”
“Gary Walker serves as Director of Sales and Marketing for us.”
Strawn recapped, “We do executive protection at a high level, typically done by former law enforcement or military. We have over 250 years of combined experience in law enforcement and security.”
“We don’t sub anything out. Our people are actually employees.”
“We really analyze who they are, where they are going to need to travel and work, and more. Everything is custom tailored to the client and the location.”
“We do have licensed private investigators. It’s not one of our bigger segments. The need is really not all that high. Video and alarm monitoring is really done more in coordination with some of our trusted partners. It’s one of our value adds to provide more service to our customers. We make sure they receive quality people to provide and monitor their videos and alarms. We also help some clients install security gates. We really are full service and true turnkey solution provider in security.”
Strawn concluded, “If communication is the keystone of a great company, then integrity would be the foundation. Paradigm is committed to maintaining the highest level of both when satisfying the needs of our clients. Listening to our client’s needs is the basis of good communication and having the integrity to follow through with true customer service is the minimum that we demand of ourselves.”
To learn more about Rick A. Strawn, CPP and Paradigm Security Services, visit their company website at: http://www.paradigmsecurity.net.