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2013 Affiliate Member of the Year James Taff

James Taff, CEO of Premier Security, Apex3 Security (formally Levy Security) and Apex3 Systems, was the 2013 Gold Circle Awards Affiliate of the Year. Premier Security is also a BOMA/Chicago Annual Premier Sponsor.

What are the services your company provides and what benefits do they offer to the commercial real estate industry? As a privately held Chicago based organization, Premier Security offers world-class customer service security solutions to various vertical markets. In addition to providing security personnel, we’ve partnered with law enforcement professionals to offer off-duty police solutions, off-site monitoring services, executive protection, physical security assessments, tenant safety training and technology installation and maintenance services.

You received the Affiliate of the Year Gold Circle Award in 2013. What advice would you share with others who aspire to be future Gold Circle Award recipients? My involvement with BOMA/Chicago began in 2004. After attending a few networking events, the benefits of BOMA/Chicago to our company were immediate and have continued to play a direct role in our continued growth. I would strongly encourage others to be active with BOMA/Chicago and attend as many educational events as possible. Due to our partnership with BOMA/Chicago, our clientele has benefited greatly through the years because we’ve been able to provide relevant information to building management in a timely manner.

What are some industry trends that impact commercial real estate the most? While the commercial market is improving, financial vigilance continues to take center stage when pricing services. Clients and prospects are seeking opportunities to save money and in many instances are looking to providers to recommend and implement cost saving measures. One solution is off-site monitoring services utilizing camera systems to replace security personnel. While the opportunity exists for such services, staffing levels and the needs of the property must also be closely reviewed to ensure there’s a proper balance.

What is your favorite BOMA/Chicago event and why? The variety of events and opportunities to develop new relationships with Emerging Leaders and seasoned professionals like myself are exciting. For pure fun the BOMA/Chicago Annual Golf Event at Cog Hill is always an enjoyable event.  It creates an opportunity for my executives and field managers to entertain many of our clients. On the serious side, I really appreciate the BOMA/Chicago Annual Meeting because it’s another event that brings together top industry leaders and provides excellent information. It’s well organized and a great recap of BOMA/Chicago’s accomplishments and goals for the future.

What suggestions do you have for other affiliate members about ways to maximize their BOMA/Chicago membership?What you get out of your membership is what you put into it!  As indicated earlier, take advantage of the networking opportunities. Promote BOMA/Chicago in the marketplace and volunteer to present at BOMA/Chicago events.  If you have the ability, support the industry by sharing your knowledge.

What motivated you to start your company and what are some of the challenges you’ve experienced along the way? My career path was not typical.  After taking a year off from college, a family member found me a security job for Levy Security which was a good opportunity due to my interest in law enforcement. Little did I know I would still be associated with that same company more than 25 years later!  In any case, a family connection helped me get a rewarding job that quickly turned into a career as I learned more about the organization. The training, supervision and extensive operational policies were impressive. I decided to finish my college education at the University of Iowa while continuing to work for Levy Security and I was promoted to a management position after graduating.

In 2004, I was asked by ownership to start a new company called Premier Security, which would allow us to have a relationship with BOMA/Chicago and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During the first year for Premier, I handled hiring, training, sales and even payroll and billing. The challenge we faced then and today is finding qualified individuals that understand the importance of customer service. Within a year of starting the company, we had over 100 employees and the growth has been fantastic ever since. In 2012, I was fortunate to partner with a few company executives and purchase both Levy and Premier Security.   While the security industry is consolidating, our clients value and appreciate our immediate response to all their needs. I am now the CEO of Premier Security, Apex3 Security (formally Levy Security) and another new company Apex3 Systems.

By the way, the family member that guided me down the path many years ago and whom I thank each and every day, was my Mom. Thanks Mom!