Entrepreneur Takes Security
Business into New "Millenia"
[My latest publication, a profile piece
published last week for a new local rag, "San Diego
From the center of a nondescript Kearny Mesa
industrial park, a wide security network extends
outward to observe and protect over 300 local
businesses. At the hub of this web of protection,
local entrepreneur Ty Odeh presides over a robust
mix of low- and high-tech security solutions to
keep watch on his valued clients, many of which he
has served since taking the helm of Millenia
Security Services (formerly Southern California
Security Services) ten years ago.
Odeh followed a winding path from studying
mechanical engineering at UCLA to heading a dynamic
security services firm. After a short stint at
Rockwell International as a design engineer, he
took a job at Hewlett-Packard in Rancho Bernardo.
Starting off as a manufacturing engineer, he
quickly developed an affinity for marketing and
customer service and joined HP's marketing
department. He spent the next 13 years traveling
extensively as an international marketing
development manager for HP's line of color
Driving through Rancho Bernardo every day to go
to work, Odeh watched with increasing interest as
the North County Fair shopping mall (since renamed
Westfield Shopping Town North County) was built.
The sight of the ongoing construction awoke an
entrepreneurial appetite within him. At his wife
Fadiya's suggestion, he opened a Greek food
restaurant, Gyros Classic, in the mall's food
court. Over the next five years, Fadiya ran the
business during the day and Odeh helped out on
nights and weekends.
Meanwhile, the frequent travel that his position
at HP demanded began to wear on him. With each
passing year, his entrepreneurial spirit
intensified. Desiring to spend more time with his
family and enter more fully into the service
industry, he left HP to strike out on his own. It
was no impulse decision; Odeh spent over 18 months
researching the marketplace to find just the right
niche, finally settling on the security services
industry for its resistance to the up-and-down
cycles of the economy. With the help of a broker,
he found ailing Southern California Security
Services and approached the owner, who was as
anxious to sell as Odeh was to buy. With the
proceeds of the sale of his gyros business as a
down payment and a seller-financed deal for the
remainder, Odeh took over the company in 1993. That
was the easy part.
Odeh now found himself in a new working
environment, facing stiff competition in a tough
market. During the first two years, the learning
curve was steep, but Odeh attacked it like a
climber scaling Mount Everest. Working long hours,
he learned the industry inside and out, taking
classes and doing lots of networking. More
importantly, he immersed himself in every aspect of
his new company. "I rolled up my sleeves and did it
all before sitting down in front of clients,"
recalled Odeh. Doing everything from walking
patrols to monitoring video surveillance, he gained
firsthand knowledge of every facet of the business.
The experience proved invaluable, for it gave the
new CEO instant credibility with his employees.
It also helped him avert a major crisis in the
early years of the business. One day, Odeh's key
dispatcher suffered a heart attack, and the only
other person trained for the job was out of town.
Odeh had to jump in and work dispatch for 36 hours
straight until the other dispatcher returned. Had
he not taken the initiative to learn every facet of
the business, the accident which threatened the
life of one of his employees could have threatened
the health of the company itself. As things worked
out, however, he gained even more credibility with
his employees. They learned that he'd do whatever
necessary to keep the ship on course. He taught
them that, "when things get hot, Ty will jump in
and make a difference."
This was the philosophy that he brought to
Southern California Security. Being the owner and
chief executive officer meant that "the buck stops
here." He had no corporate safety net, as he'd had
during his years at HP. "For every decision at HP,
I had a hundred consultants available to me,"
remembered Odeh. "Here, I don't have that luxury.
Decisions come from your experience, your gut." His
decisions were now his own, as were the effects of
those decisions. And early on, many such decisions
were made in the middle of the night, as he
remained on call 24/7 and got more than a few late
night calls from his employees.
Two years after Odeh took over the company, he'd
turned things around and doubled the business to
approximately 80 employees. In 1997, he opened a
second office in San Marcos to facilitate the
company's growth into North County. Last year, a
third office was opened in Newport Beach to aid the
company's expansion into Orange County. Odeh now
employs nearly 200 employees-including his wife
Fadiya, who has been Odeh's "right-hand person"
since the beginning. The secret to his success? "We
concentrated on executing on basics-customer
service, training, giving value to our clients.
There was nothing magical about it."
Odeh brought the firm into the twenty-first
century by integrating the latest technological
innovations into the three divisions of his
company: standing guards, mobile patrols and
digital video monitoring. To provide quality
assurance to his clients, he implemented a Proscan
system whereby microchips could be installed on
properties of a client's choosing. Guards could
then wave a wand over these chips when making
rounds, generating digital, verifiable proof for
the client that the patrols were made.
The company was also one of the first to utilize
the now-common Teletrac technology, a wireless
tracking system by which Odeh's fleet of security
vehicles could be monitored at all times. This
technology not only provides a real-time display of
the vehicles' locations, but also generates a log
of the vehicles' activities, affording another
level of quality assurance to Odeh's clients.
Most recently, the company unveiled its digital
video surveillance and monitoring services. Motion
detection cameras placed on a client's property
sound an alarm and send live, digital images
whenever the motion sensors detect movement.
Personnel monitoring these cameras from the
company's Kearny Mesa nerve center can then assess
the incident and notify law enforcement if
necessary. This technology not only provides a more
advanced level of protection, but also eliminates
the need for a standing guard, which in turn brings
down the client's cost.
Reflecting this embrace of technology and a
revised business plan, the company renamed and
rebranded itself last year, becoming Millenia
Security Services. Odeh plans to expand the
company's operations into Northern California,
Arizona and Las Vegas over the next few years. This
new expansion effort is the culmination of Odeh's
core vision, which he followed from the beginning:
"The future would be bright if we focused on the
basics." He did just that, and the future does
indeed look bright for Millenia.
Strickland ALL RIGHTS
What is "The Daily Strick"?
I have long called
myself a writer, but too often I don't do
what a writer must do daily: write. So
you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of
my resolution to make a positive change in
at least one area of my life. Every single
day of this new year (almost), I will
write something, anything, and post it
here. It is my intention to use this daily
exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant
creative energies, and perhaps generate
some worthwhile material this year.
Hopefully you will find at least an
occasional amusement or insight in my
Like what you've
7/17: Death Ship
7/16: The Da Vinci Code
7/15: Bad Moon Rising
7/14: Adios, Compay
7/13: Ty Odeh
7/4: On the Road Again
7/3: Onion Valley
7/2: Happy Independence Day
Previous months in The Archive
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