Already among the fastest-growing companies in Washington state, the Spokane-based security company Argus Services Inc. is planning an aggressive expansion into the southwestern U.S. during the next year.
Separately, Argus is negotiating to acquire three other Pacific Northwest security companies, Argus President Jim Schoenleber says. Altogether, those three companies currently have annual revenues of $8 million, he says, but he declines for now to disclose further details about the companies.
The planned expansions and acquisitions could push Argus revenues up over $35 million in 2003, which would be a 45 percent increase over its projected $24 million in revenues this year, Schoenleber says.
Argus expansion plans involve opening an office next month in Phoenix, and opening offices next year in Albuquerque, N.M., and Las Vegas.
Im confident well be able to ink a lot of work quickly, Schoenleber says.
Each new office will start with up to 50 employees, and that number could increase to 200 people at each location within a year, Schoenleber says. Argus currently employs about 1,000 people in eight Western stateswith an additional 100 to 400 temporary employees working for the company at any given time.
In Phoenix, Argus already has landed a few contracts under which it will start working after opening its office there next month, says Jeannene Kurtz, the companys director of sales. Also, she says, the company has formed a marketing alliance with Phoenix Fence & Access Control, which has clients for whom Argus will provide security personnel there.
In Las Vegas, Argus plans to open an office by the middle of next year. That operation might include a satellite office in Reno, Nev., as well.
Schoenleber says the company already is talking with Las Vegas-area retailers about providing jewelry security escorts and loss-prevention agents, which are plainclothes personnel who patrol stores on the lookout for shoplifters.
Argus also hopes to land some casino-security work after opening its office there, he says.
Schoenleber says he has started prospecting for potential clients in Albuquerque and has found some biotechnology companies in need of security services. He doesnt expect to open an office there, however, until late 2003.
In all three southwestern U.S. markets, Argus expects to land some federal contracts. Schoenleber says about 30 percent of the Spokane companys officers are federally certified and trained.
Wherever we go, thats part and parcel of what we do, he says.
The planned expansions are a continuation of the companys aggressive growth clip. Last month, Argus ranked 44th on the Puget Sound Business Journals list of the fastest-growing private companies in Washington. The lists rankings were based on percentage change in revenue from 1999 to 2001, and Arguss annual growth rate for that period was 37 percent.
Argus posted annual revenue of $16.5 million in 2001, and expects to see a 50 percent increase in revenue, to $24 million, this year.
Schoenleber attributes the companys growth to stepped up security measures since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, both by private and public entities.
Our mission has been elevated for all the right reasons, he says.
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