Written by The Business Journal Staff
Lawrence D. Garcia, President and CEO
What We Do: AmeriGuard Security Inc., is a locally owned nationwide security contractor based in Fresno. We provide armed and unarmed security and patrol services at some of our nation’s most important assets. We guard military bases and government facilities throughout the United States. Locally we guard and patrol neighborhoods, shopping centers and office complexes along with installing and monitoring burglar alarms and security cameras, including home automation and access control to both residential and commercial clients.
Education: Fresno High, Fresno City College, United States Navy, Alameda College, Fresno Police Academy.
Family: Happily married with two girls and one boy.
How did you get involved in the security industry, Lawrence?
My father was a former Fresno County Sheriff and entrepreneur. He owned a couple businesses and one of them was a security business. In 2000 he passed away and I came onboard to run the business. At the time I was two weeks away from graduating the police academy and had a job offer to become a Sheriff myself. It was tough for me to choose but I decided to carry on my father’s legacy by stepping into the security business.
What kind of contracts does your company handle, Lawrence?
Ninety percent of AmeriGuard’s contracts are military bases and government facilities, such as the Robert E. Coyle Federal Building in downtown Fresno. Locally, we guard some of Fresno’s highest profile projects such as: high-speed rail, Save Mart Center, Juvenile Justice Center, Community Regional Medical Center, Chukchansi Park and countless local shopping centers and office complexes. We also offer 24-hour alarm response.
You’re currently attempting to get federal clearance for drone use. What are your plans for the technology, Lawrence?
AmeriGuard aims to develop and operate drones that will complete a total security network of guards on the ground and eyes in the sky operations. Air Vision Industries was created to coincide with our parent company AmeriGuard. AVI gives our existing security company the ability to provide a new approach for our clientele in the form of a bird’s eye view of the locations that we guard. Some of our clients have locations that need to be secured but are not easily accessible by ground patrol. For example, our California High-Speed Rail contract has locations stretched across the state in remote areas being targeted for vandalism and theft of materials and equipment. AmeriGuard is continuously adopting new technology solutions and procedures for the security industry.
Do you see drone usage becoming a major element to the security industry, Lawrence?
With the deployment of a drone security system, people, property, equipment and human lives can be protected providing immediate action from authorities and or security personnel. So yes, I feel that this component will greatly enhance the security industry’s ability to secure locations more thoroughly setting us apart from the competition.
What has the licensing/clearance process been like, Lawrence?
Air Vision Industries is currently going through the lengthy process of gaining Federal Aviation Administration clearance. The process has been time consuming but we feel it is important because at the end of the day, only legitimate companies will be left on the playing field.
How long has the process taken, so far, Lawrence?
We started down this road about four years ago. We are 98 percent complete in the application process.
What are some of the other goals you have for your company?
Our goals are to continue to grow our business by providing excellent service to our clients and to keep our reputation in high regard within community.
You are also involved in several other businesses, can you describe them and the work involved?
• AmeriGuard Security Systems: We install burglar alarm and security cameras for residential and commercial clients. We also provide home automation and access control.
• AmeriGuard Security Services: We facilitate armed and unarmed security officers to various locations. We have patrol services and 24-hour armed alarm response. Armed response is provided to our alarm clients and local accounts.
• The Training Point: We provide training to new and existing security officers, with 180 hours of comprehensive training that includes 40 hours of gun qualification.
• Air Vision industries: Created to coincide with our parent company AmeriGuard Security Systems, Inc. Air Vision Industries gives our existing security company the ability to provide additional benefit to our clientele in the form of a bird’s eye view of the locations that we guard. We are also entering the agricultural sector where we plan to provide our clients with drone technology that will assist them in producing crops more efficiently while eliminating water waste and pesticide over usage.
What has been your proudest accomplishment, Lawrence?
Watching my company grow throughout the years, beginning with nine employees and now having several hundred across seven different states. Having an excellent team that works together to solve any issues we may come across and facilitates ideas that will continue to move us forward.
What has been your biggest challenge, Lawrence?
My biggest challenge has been managing our growth; being able to keep pace with our demand for services. There always has been and always will be a need for a trusted professional security contractor. Although it’s been a challenge, we continue to keep pace with growing demand in this evolving industry. We are fortunate to have this problem!
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Lawrence?
I worked at Wavelength Surf Shop on Blackstone and Griffith. I learned how to be on time and professional. In my early years I learned how to talk with clients and most importantly how to listen to their needs and concerns. Now I try to create a fun environment for my employees while maintaining a professional experience for our customers.
Who has been a mentor for you and what did you learn from him/her?
My father has always been and will continue to be my mentor. Though he is not here I still feel I can talk with him and ask for guidance and the ability to make good decisions throughout my day to day.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Lawrence?
Being a dad is my most important job; spending time with my wife and children is what I enjoy most. We like to have dinners at home or at restaurants. We go boating, we ride motorcycles, and we snowboard in the winter. Golf is also one of my favorite pastimes.