Wisconsin's Johnson Controls May Expand Security Line to Airports, Airlines

Jan. 25, 2002
Knight Ridder Tribune Business News (KRTBN)
Thomas content , Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jan. 24--Johnson Controls Inc. executives are studying whether to make a bigger strategic push into products for airport and airline security.

The company is looking to capitalize on corporations' and governments' increasing attention to security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Keyes told more than 100 employees and shareholders Wednesday.

Johnson Controls already has projects under way, including an American Airlines terminal at JFK International Airport in New York City and a project at the Toronto airport. The company is working on Cardkey access systems and closed-circuit television monitoring systems in the airports.

But the company is evaluating whether it makes sense to make a bigger push, with the board of directors recently receiving a presentation from Controls Division President Brian Stark, Keyes said.

"This is an active project. We're working on it. How far we go with it is one of the questions we hope to answer in the next several months," Keyes said during the annual shareholders meeting, held at the Italian Community Center.

The Glendale-based company has expanded the sales force in its controls unit to try to capitalize on what it sees as a "huge latent opportunity" for sales to help office buildings, schools and government buildings save on energy costs and help their bottom line, Executive Vice President John Barth said.

To focus on an expected surge in spending on security, the company last year acquired Scientech Security Services from privately held Scientech Inc. of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The controls unit of Johnson Controls is already in the security business, through its Cardkey building-access systems subsidiary. But Cardkey, which Johnson Controls acquired in 1999, has served mainly commercial customers, whereas Scientech Security Services serves government buildings.

Companies have taken a new look at disaster planning after Sept. 11. In a survey released this week by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI in Arlington, Va., 26 of 52 companies said they had increased surveillance of their facilities, with 12 saying they have purchased monitoring equipment.

The Wisconsin chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society has devoted more attention to contingency planning and disaster preparedness, chapter president James Shelton, regional risk manager at Manpower Inc. in Glendale, said in a recent interview.

Johnson Controls, which had a record year last year, expects profit margins to fall this year but has said that its profits this year will "approach" last year's results.

The controls unit accounts for about 25 percent of sales at Johnson Controls. The remainder is derived from the company's automotive interiors and battery business.


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(c) 2002, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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