Frank Argenbright heads SecurAmerica, a rapidly growing security company that provides innovative contract security service solutions. Founded in 2005, SecurAmerica's unique value proposition has resulted in rapid growth, high customer satisfaction rates and uniquely low levels of employee turnover. Under Argenbright's leadership, SecurAmerica has grown rapidly in a fragmented business sector, operating in more than 35 markets, employing more than 3,000 people and reaching $80 million in revenue in 2013. As he continues to grow the company, his objective is clear: SecurAmerica will be the first U.S.-based, privately-owned security company to compete globally.
This goal is possible because of Argenbright's life experience, proven track record and personal attributes. He learned every facet of the complex private security sector during years of involvement in the business. Over more than two decades, he built a series of companies that provided American businesses, their employees and consumers, with safety and security. Along the way, he created thousands of jobs, acquired dozens of companies and successfully integrated them into his business model.
His introduction to law enforcement came from growing up in the tight-knit farming and ranching community of Madison, Florida (population: 3,000). Argenbright explains, "I grew up hunting, and competed in pistol shooting. During those competitions, I met a lot of law enforcement people, and my goal as a young man was to join the FBI, so I majored in criminal justice at Florida State."
During college, he joined the ROTC and upon graduation enlisted in the Army Reserves Upon graduation from FSU, Argenbright found that the FBI was more focused on hiring lawyers and accountants at the time than enforcement agents. Never one to give-up or be deterred, he took a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve and rose to the rank of captain in the Military Police (MPs) over his six years of service.
Argenbright took his degree and military policing experience into the private sector, and over the next decade learned the security business from the ground up in several different sectors and in several different cities. In 1979, with $500, he founded Argenbright Security and Argenbright Polygraph in Atlanta. The location of his firm helped him win the contract to operate the employee shuttle for Delta Air Lines, an Atlanta-based company. This immediately provided Argenbright with size and scope, and also armed him with the credentials to effectively utilize his entrepreneurial spirit. Within seven years of its founding, the company had $35 million in revenue providing polygraph testing, security guards, and bus transports.
By 2000, the holding company Argenbright formed, AHL Services, had been publicly traded for three years and through a combination of organic growth and 21 strategic acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe, revenue had exploded from $35 million to $1 billion.
Following the sale of some AHL assets, and armed with about $6 million from investors, Argenbright in May 2002 launched his next big venture, AirServ. His differentiator was to provide a higher quality of service at a lower cost of delivery. Building on his record in the security industry, and a reputation for an honest and diplomatic management style, he soon called United Airlines, Delta and FedEx among his client list, and added many others. AirServ provided ticket checkers, airplane cleaners and cargo handlers at 27 U.S. airports and boasted a 93% contract retention rate. Revenue grew quickly from inception in 2002 to over $325 million in revenue by 2012. In the company's first three years alone, revenue grew to $115 million. AirServ was listed among the fastest-growing private companies in Atlanta in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012. Late in 2012, after growing AirServ for ten years, Argenbright successfully sold the company.
Today, Frank Argenbright is focused on SecurAmerica, which he started in 2005 as a sister company to AirServ. A famously hard worker who wakes up at 3:30 a.m. checks his first voice mail by 4 a.m., and is still leaving voicemails at midnight, Argenbright is also a leader who cares deeply about his employees. For example, he calls each of his managers on Thanksgiving morning to wish them a happy holiday.
This work ethic, dedication to clients and employees, and understanding of the security sector accounts for Frank Argenbright's success even after the challenges that confronted him after the attacks on America of September 11, 2001. Having sold his company, Argenbright Securities, nearly nine months before the attacks, his namesake company was subject to intense scrutiny and criticism. As a result of these incredibly challenging times, Frank Argenbright had to rely on the strength of his upbringing and experience in the security industry as he set out to repair his reputation.
But the many friends, employees, clients and investors who had known Frank Argenbright best and longest knew the quality of the man and his work. "My old customers knew the truth, and they helped me get back into business," Argenbright notes. And every year, Argenbright and his wife of nearly 35 years gather with his high school friends from his high school class for a reunion, a reminder of his humble roots and the importance of loyalty.