Best Lock Shop In The World 2009

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					                                                      Automotive • Institutional • BUSINESS • Technology • Certification

                                                                                        who sponsor others.
                                                                                        Today, Groves serves as vice
                                                                                        president and has seen many
                                                                                        changes since entering the
                                                                                        industry in 1989, most notably
                                                                                        in how quickly IT has become
                                                                                        embedded in physical security.
                                                                                        But what he enjoys most is the
                                                                                        appreciation that flows from his
                                                                                        clients and working as part of a
                                                                                        team who cares about what they
                                                                                        do—and who are truly good at it.

                                                                                        TF: What was one of your first
                                                                                        big security jobs and why is it
                                                                                        MG: Early on, Pete and I did a big
                                                                                        Medeco installation at the old ATF
                                                                                        Headquarters on Massachusetts
                                                                                        Avenue NW. It was an after-hours
     Michael Groves, vice president of Arlington, Virginia-based FedLock, Inc., along   job, and the ATF guys showed
     with Tyrone Fendall, security technician, and Brian Cameron, retail manager,       us around—including the rooms
     accept the Best Lock Shop In The World 2009 award from Tom Foxwell, Sr., RL,       where confiscated weaponry was
     ALOA’s northeast director.
                                                                                        kept. Talk about some off-the-
                                                                                        hook stuff...

     Best Lock Shop In                                                                  TF: Very memorable—and
                                                                                        unusual. What other unusual
                                                                                        locksmith jobs have you

      The World 2009
                                                                                        encountered, and how did you
                                                                                        handle these situations?
                                                                                        MG: Being in the Washington,
                                                                                        DC region, there is rarely a dull
                                                                                        moment. Since we have federal
      Michael Groves explains how FedLock has evolved
     in the 20 years since it’s founding, the secrets to
         his success and what he sees for the future of                                 “Don’t retain bad,
             the locksmith industry.   By Tom Foxwell, Sr., RL
                                                                                        abusive clients. They
 T    wenty years ago, Michael Groves left his job as a commodities trader
 on Wall Street to join his brother, Pete, to start Arlington, Virginia-based
                                                                                        ruin your employees,
                                                                                        and the money received
 FedLock, Inc. Their initial focus was on government jobs supplemented
 with residential work, which they built from Yellow Page ads and running
                                                                                        from an abusive client
 calls 24/7. In the mid-1990s, the business began migrating toward the                  is never worth the cost
 commercial clients that now comprise the company’s core business.
                                                                                        to your team’s morale.”
 FedLock joined ALOA in the 1990s, and Groves has sponsored more than
 70 individuals for membership, putting him in the top 10 ALOA members

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                                                                              “For locksmiths of

                                                                              any size to be

                                                                              successful in the
                                                                              future, we must not

                                                                              only understand the

                                                                              language of the client

                                                                              but speak it as well.”

TS clearances, however, many of       belonged...because the people           TF: For someone just starting
the really interesting jobs we are    were missing. The next day, while       a locksmith business, what
literally not permitted to discuss.   the Pentagon was still smoldering,      recommendations would you
One I can share was changing          Pete went to the Pentagon and           make to ensure success?
the locks for a well-known,           spent hours assisting the client in     MG: It’s all about human
60-something senator who was in       securing doors in the section next      resources. Invest and reinvest
the middle of a sex scandal. His      to the wreckage. Upon returning,        in training. At FedLock, we’re
office allegedly employed stunning    he was quiet for a long time. That      known for our always-on approach
young women who weren’t very          dreadful day will always be part of     to training and our mantra of
good typists. As expected, he         our lives in a very personal way.       “product knowledge is everything.”
denied the accusations. When I                                                Take seminars, classes and
arrived at his home, however, a       TF: What have you learned from          webinars. Ask questions and learn
young, model-esque woman was          these unusual jobs as well as the       from every job. And before making
sitting on his sofa—in a bathrobe.    routine tasks that can benefit          any significant decisions, listen to
The senator laughed and winked        locksmith business owners in            others in your organization. They
at me, never saying a word            helping their companies prosper         most likely will have
about her.                            and grow?                               another perspective.
                                      MG: First, realize this is a customer
But the most unusual job occurred     service business, and it is essential   TF: What is the biggest
during 9/11. One of our clients       to always be a professional. Listen     obstacle facing security
was located in the Pentagon along     more than talk and maintain a           professionals today?
the western wedge that was            position of “the answer is always       MG: Installation and service of
directly hit by the jet. He called    yes.” Finally, don’t retain bad,        physical security in this part of the
us sobbing, as he was finding         abusive clients. They ruin your         world, strangely enough, has a
FedLock Medeco high-security          employees, and the money received       low barrier to entry. Combine this
keys amongst the wreckage and         from an abusive client is never worth   with certain clients who are only
was unsure to whom the keys           the cost to your team’s morale.         concerned with the balance sheet’s

                                                                                   S   JANUARY 2010                   17
                                                  Automotive • Institutional • BUSINESS • Technology • Certification

 bottom line, and you have a recipe        our technicians and operations         headed in today’s technological
 for firms and/or individuals who          personnel so they will always know     age?
 aren’t qualified to perform the work.     how to get any answer for clients’     MG: There will always be a place
 Phony and unskilled locksmiths are        questions. We also have a proactive,   for firms that can repair or replace
 a real a problem because they put         in-house technical ratings program,    doors and frames for commercial
 us all in a bad light. Even though        all of our folks are assigned          properties. However, physical
 the state of Virginia just received       readings on marketing aspects and      security for commercial property
 DCJS regulations in terms of              FedLock managers attend training       management has moved into
 locksmiths, it is still relatively easy   sessions on management.                electronic systems. As a result,
 for scammers to set up shop in                                                   more IT professionals are now
 Maryland and DC.                          Additionally, our retail shop is       involved in the physical security
                                           spotless and is stocked with items     decision-making process. For
 TF: What methods have you                 for sale that our clients want. Our    locksmiths of any size to be
 incorporated into your day-to-            road vehicles are kept dent-free,      successful in the future, we must
 day business that demonstrates            in good repair and identified with     not only understand the language of
 your professionalism and                  professional signage. Our people       the client but speak it as well.
 level of experience to your               look professional, and we always
 customers?                                present marketing packages to our
 MG: As I mentioned, product               clients and prospects.                               Tom Foxwell, Sr.,
 knowledge and client service                                                                   RL, is northeast
 are very important to us. So,             TF: How do you see the future                        director of ALOA.
 we do frequent role-playing with          of security and where we are

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