Edward B. Silverman: A Vision to Transform Private Security

Edward B. Silverman | Chairman & CEO | SOS Security LLC - Insights Success

SOS Security is a leading provider of security personnel and related services, helping a broad range of clients in the corporate, government and high net worth sectors to protect their people, assets, and reputations. Today, SOS Security is the fifth largest security personnel company in the US and growing.

The Early Years

For Edward B Silverman, CPP, the journey began shortly after he graduated as a polygraph examiner. After attending the University of Maryland, he proceeded to the Backster School of Lie Detection. Shortly thereafter, he started his career administering polygraph examinations built around investigative services.

It wasn’t long before he sensed that there were opportunities beyond polygraph services. Security Operations Systems was founded in 1969, as an offshoot to his father’s window cleaning company, International Services, which also provided limited “watch guard” services for their clients.

The real journey began in the early ‘70s, after Edward obtained his New Jersey Private Investigator license. By then, he had been operating his polygraph business for four to five years, already engaging with clients and listening to their feedback.

This was also a period of mergers and acquisitions, and as a result, many of their clients were suddenly regional, national and global players. At the same time, the security industry big players were consolidating: Pinkerton became the Securitas, Wackenhut became G4S, and Guardsmark was acquired by Universal, which was later acquired by Allied to form Allied Universal.

As clients encouraged him to “grow with us,” he knew he couldn’t ignore the opportunities any longer. He changed the company name to SOS Security to better compete for the long-haul, began providing security personnel and related services, and started making major investments in the company.

Changing for a Changing Industry

In 1991, Edward established company headquarters at One Security Plaza in Parsippany, NJ. As clients faced new security challenges, the company acquired and deployed new security expertise, methodically setting up operations in many states, one state at a time, and continuing to add the best resources domestically and abroad to meet client needs.

I knew we could create a new benchmark for quality, and achieve the goals developed in partnership with our clients,” says Edward. “That’s why we invested in institutionalizing our quality and client-centric culture and developing what has become our hallmark programs – the Pursuit of Excellence and Team Partnership Program (TPP).

The “Pursuit of Excellence” program provides a framework to recognize employees for achievement, client satisfaction, and quality. The TPP formalized the company’s approach to open and trusting client relationships. With each client engagement, the TPP has played a vital role in open communication, teamwork and accomplishment of goals, requirements and expectations. He adds, “With TPP, we committed to learning and growing with our clients by maintaining regular and transparent communication on all key program aspects.”

Preparing for a Marathon, not a Race

With the foundation laid, the next step was building his team. He knew with a team of the best people, he could provide high-quality services and build a first-class security company. To maintain sustainable growth, Edward recruited expertise of former Secret Service and FBI agents, state and local police and industry experts.

He also established strategic partnerships with the best international companies to support its emerging global clientele, saying, “Adding the “best of the best” to our team was the key in maintaining what we were building.” Currently, the company has about 10,000 employees and growing, with 70 offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the world.

Continuing its commitment to client operations, the company recently built a state-of-the-art Global Command Center to support operations and services ranging from security personnel and executive protection, to retail loss prevention and risk management, intelligence analysis and fire and life safety.

Motivation Comes from Within

Edward says his motivation came early, and from perhaps a surprising source – his 7th grade track coach. “He taught me to believe in myself. He instilled the concept that to achieve goals, you need to believe in yourself and work harder than everyone else. I knew I was not the most gifted athlete, but I was the most dedicated. I believed in myself and I worked hard, which led to a full college scholarship and after college, competing in over 30 marathons – always striving to be the best for myself, and at the same time balancing work, family and fitness. You may even say I was “obsessively dedicated” – with my efforts leading to qualifying for the Olympic trials,” said Edward, adding, “My biggest asset is my optimism. Likewise, my biggest fear is disappointing myself, because if I disappoint myself, I will disappoint those that count on me.

Driving the Way to Success

Having been in business for nearly 50 years, there have been many milestones along the way. From being recognized repeatedly as one of the fastest growing small companies in NJ, to one of the top 50 largest security companies in the US, to now being the fifth largest security company in the U.S., with no signs of slowing down.

From the beginning, growth has been driven by a dedication to meet clients’ evolving security requirements. As needs expanded and changed, so did the scope and character of SOS Security’s growing portfolio of security solutions.

Going forward, Edward believes the greatest challenge will be to continue growth while remaining boutique. “I believe we can stay ‘small’ way past a billion,” said Edward, “We will continue to have a team of top talent focusing on our client priorities, we’ll work hard to attract the best resources and partners, and strategically acquire like-minded companies to help us deliver our global security mission.”

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