|CEO Stephanie Point|
Stephanie Point, CEO of Point 2 Point Global Security, (P2P) prides herself on her highly trained teams who provide customized security services to protect people and assets for both private companies and government agencies. Among the several government agencies she serves is the Department of Homeland Security. During 2008-09, for example, P2P completed 189 flights transporting high level felons back to their home countries in South America. Each flight, for which P2P contracted 737 jets including flight staff and pilots, required 14 security officers and one manager. Once the DHS deposited detainees at a given airport for departure, a P2P security team met them to process their paperwork; it also took custody of the detainees for the duration of their travel; upon arrival in their destination cities, P2P released the detainees into the custody of local authorities.
Security is a natural business choice for Stephanie who spent nearly a decade as a top level L.A. homicide detective working everything from narcotics to street patrol in the high crime South Central area. But one day as she was leaving a court house after delivering a search warrant, she slipped and “blew her knee out” which required six surgeries and ultimately forced her to retire. Her next stint was as Vice President for a company that protected jewelry executives as they transported their wares. After four years, Stephanie decided “I could do it better. I saw that companies in this area didn’t treat people well or pay them well enough.” In 2004, 48-year old Stephanie founded Point to Point Global Security.
While the business prospered during the first few years, once the recession hit, P2P, based in Phoenix, Maryland, saw its revenues cut in half. But Stephanie Point took an unusual tack: she decided to work on building her company from the inside to move away from heavy reliance on subcontractors. She pays her employees 25-30% more than her competitors and “even though I made less for awhile, they made more.” The result, she proudly observes, is that her turnover rate, in an industry known for high turnover, is less than 5% nationwide. “My best management practice,’ she notes, “is hiring really smart people and treating them with respect.”
To supplement her staff of 230 employees, many of whom have top security clearances, Stephanie has on call some 8500 active or recently retired law enforcement officers. She estimates she gets about 15% of revenues from government agencies, such as FEMA which has called on her to secure “assets” following emergency disasters. The rest of her revenues comes from large companies, such as the hospitality, banking and financial industries, who require security protection for personnel, property and special events. One recent uptick to her business has resulted from the Occupy Wall Street protests which have pushed companies to increase security protection. Another growth industry is energy: oil and gas companies ask P2P to protect their “critical infrastructure,” so deemed by the U.S. Patriot Act. Even schools now require more security officers. Stephanie’s firm provides “a safe environment” for the children who attend the 10 Texans Can Academies, which offer a second chance to “at risk” high schoolers who have struggled in traditional schools.
With ever tightening security requirements, business prospects are bright. Stephanie’s goal for P2P is to double current revenues to $25 million for 2012. Does she see any prospective exits on the horizon? “I’ll think about selling when we employ 2000 and hit revenues of $100 million. I love growing this business,” though she admits to “missing the kids” she used to protect when she was on patrol in South Central L.A. “But now I have the pleasure of hiring law enforcement professionals to add to family incomes.”
|Lani Hay at a Navy Seal Training Base|
Lani Hay, who along with Stephanie Point, is among the winners of Ernst and Young’s 2011 Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, always wanted to be a fighter pilot. But in her last year at the US Naval Academy, where she received a B.S. in mathematics, when they “scrubbed” her lifelong medical records, they discovered Lani has an allergy to bee stings, so she was disqualified from piloting planes. Instead she became an air intelligence officer, based in Hawaii, analyzing and disseminating intelligence for squadron air crews. Lani has a special interest in technology. For example, “helped pioneer the transmission of live video feeds from aircraft to intelligence centers on the ground to speed up the process, compared to relying on satellites.”
When 36-year old Lani Hay, the daughter of a Vietnamese immigrant mother, left active duty in 2002, she started her civilian career as a consultant while she was completing an MBA at the College of William and Mary. In 2003, she founded Landmark Technology Inc(LMT)to provide “mission essential” national security services. One company specialty is to help the military protect service members against IED attacks. Lani also helps the military develop tools to gain a better understanding of terrorist networks, so they can disrupt them. Sometimes that requires hiring anthropologists with knowledge of local culture, other times veterans who analyze data. Lani sees as her mission “ integrating technology into usable intelligence.” So her company spends a lot of time charting trends, based on simulation models, similar to what financial analysts do, but in a military-political context.
Even though the US military has begun pulling troops back, Lani remains confident her business will grow for two reasons: she thinks the IED threat will continue and thinks her services will shift to civilian agencies. For example, recently, the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, asked LMT to provide the classroom set-up for curriculum and instructors in cultural immersion, language training, and country briefings for the diplomatic corps.
For 2011, with about 200 fulltime employees, LMT reported revenues of around $30 million. Within two years, Lani predicts she will “hit 50 million, though I won’t be satisfied until I reach $100 million, probably within 5 years.” Recently, LMT, based in Vienna, Virginia, added a film production division to support the government and military through training videos; Lani also wants to develop some inspirational programming; one project in the works is a television series that focuses on the critical role of women in the Special Forces. Lani believes the US should lift the combat exclusion policy completely, because “it will help us get the job done.” What motivates her and her staff, is that her clients start their days by reading the latest incident and casualty reports. “That focuses us on the mission and on how what we do translates into saving lives.”