Growth & Opportunity

Bank of America, BP Oil, and the city of Atlanta.

Cris put up the initial seed money of $400,000 and became chairman, while John, who runs the company day to day, became president and CEO and added $250,000 to the pot. Before leaving his position as vice president of Barton Malow, a construction company based in Detroit, John oversaw close to $5 billion worth of construction projects for clients such as the Cincinnati Bengals and the Chicago Bears.

It was Cris’ connections that got the fledgling security company its first break. An executive from ADT approached Cris as a fan, and in conversation Cris spoke about his new security company. The executive says he immediately saw an opportunity for the two companies to work together. At the time, Tyco Fire & Security, a major business segment of Tyco International Ltd. and an ADT affiliate, that provides electronic security and fire-protection solutions in more than 100 countries, was looking for a partner with construction experience. “Managing multiple large products and dealing with construction companies every day is where they saw their weakness. That is our strength and where our experience came into play,” says John. Within weeks, the men set up a meeting.

Tyco Fire & Security benefited from the strategic alliance with Carter Brothers because it had been maintaining an in-house installation team, leading to tremendous overhead. The agreement allowed the company to outsource that work to Carter Brothers. In addition, Carter Brothers provided Tyco with its largest supplier diversity success story, says John. Over five years, Carter Brothers has managed more than $250 million in projects and assets for ADT. “If you looked at our business in the beginning, we were primarily supporting ADT as a second-tier supplier. Over the last five years we have been able to grow our
relationships with some of our largest accounts.” Certification as a Minority Business Enterprise with the National Minority Supplier Development Council helped Carter Brothers secure additional business, totaling about 200 clients.

John believes recent industry trends will allow for continued growth. Yesterday’s security was cameras and card access. Today, it goes further to include how those cameras, card access, and IT interact with outside lights, border gates, and other barriers. Everything and everyone has to be in communication. “I think 9-11 has really changed it,” John says. “You used to deal with a security director. Now you are dealing with the COO, the CIO, the security director, and the director of facilities.” He expects revenues to swell from $47.8 million to as high as $75 million next year. Projects under management are expected to grow from $79 million to $150 million.

Both of these entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They understood when it was time to take a different path in life. As a result, they’ve created multimillion-dollar entities with strong foundations that are built to last.


18 MIG-Visteon Automotive Systems L.L.C. La Vergne, TN 185 Tier 1 automotive parts supplier 242.000
26 Millennium