Passing the Torch
Secom executives Mark DeMartinis and Mike Kidwell Discuss 20 Years of Business, Being Old Pros, and New Opportunities.  

Secom is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and saying happy retirement to a longtime friend and champion.

After 43 years in the security industry – most notably as Managing Partner at Secom, Mark DeMartinis is hanging up his hat. He’s also passing the torch, so to speak, to another Secom stalwart – Mike Kidwell – who will head up the company’s new Government Division.

Secom Secures the Government

Mark DeMartinis was present at the inception of Secom’s UL 2050 certification – a turning point that launched the security company into the stratosphere, not to mention its specialty: Sensitive Compartmented Informational Facilities, or SCIFs. The reason Secom is The Nation’s SCIF specialist lies with Mark.

DeMartinis’ security career began back in 1981 holding various positions – customer service, service tech, sales – with some of the biggest names in the business, from Wells Fargo Security Services to ADT. When friend and colleague Mike Toomey came calling, DeMartinis was working government sales out of Chantilly, VA. That was 2008, two short years after Secom was founded.

At the time, Secom was already a success and was garnering heavy commercial work, but the company’s founder knew there was so much more that could be done – particularly in the government sector. And Mark had his finger on the pulse.

“You know, anyone can put in door contacts at a Burger King, but we knew where we wanted to go with the company, and that was getting the government defense contractor work,” DeMartinis recalls. “I had a lot of experience running the government sales division at ADT. I had a lot of customers and a lot of relationships. But we knew we had to get our UL 2050. That was the key.”

The certification process took almost a year. But it was worth it.

“We started going out to our old customers and bringing them over,” DeMartinis says. “With the UL 2050 certification, we were looking at 15-20% growth every year, which brought in more managers, more technicians, more infrastructure, and more administration. And from there, it’s just been building, referral upon referral.”

Today, as Secom’s Managing Partner, DeMartinis does “pretty much everything” for the company, from fielding UL certifications for clients to serving as a compliance agent for the Department of Criminal Justice Services. He also manages all business development in the government and DoD subcontractor segment. Along the way, DeMartinis has taught Mike Kidwell everything he knows about government security.

Learning the Ropes

Mike Kidwell will celebrate his own Secom anniversary this year. On Saint Patrick’s Day, Kidwell will celebrate a decade of working of being on the Secom Team.  They’re lucky to have him. The new VP of Federal Systems got his start working for various cabling and telecommunications companies, before making the leap to security.

“I ended up with a company that did both telephone systems and security work,” Kidwell says. “They were a small security company doing office spaces and those Burger Kings that Mark talked about.”

Ultimately, Kidwell wound up working for a startup that struggled to stay afloat in a rough economy. As they were about to shutter their doors, an email arrived from Secom’s president, who had heard through a mutual acquaintance that Mike Kidwell was looking to make a change.

At the time he joined Secom, Kidwell had worked heavily in commercial sales. Because both DeMartinis and Kidwell were based in Northern Virginia at the time, the two joined forces in the government sector.

“It just made sense for us to work together,” Kidwell says. “Northern Virginia was my territory and that’s where Mark did a lot of his work. So, I ran around with him quite a bit, and that’s where I picked up the government side of things.”

Having a UL 2050 certification made all the difference, Kidwell says. At the time he was making cold calls to contractors, architects, and construction management firms asking them if they worked with SCIFs, a far cry from selling alarms and basic security setups.

By 2023, Mike Kidwell was doing 80% of government sales for the company.

With DeMartinis on the verge of retirement, and leadership looking to make new changes for Secom’s anniversary year, Kidwell received the nod to head up the company’s new Government Division.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill here,” Kidwell says. “It will be hard work. But it will be exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

National Footprint, Local Company

DeMartinis, who will remain onboard at Secom throughout 2024 to aid in the transition, says his retirement was not due to any single factor. It was simply time.

“I think 43 years is enough,” he says. “We’d talked about it a year or two before. It was just the right time.”

DeMartinis has watched Secom grow and change and lead and succeed – while never losing sight of what was important. “I worked for several national companies,” DeMartinis continues. “When a customer would have a situation after-hours, they’d have to call an 800 number that took you out to Las Vegas, and from there it was 19 additional calls before they somebody said, ‘Sorry, can’t help you. We’ll see you Monday.’ Secom has never been like that. We never will be, no matter how big we get.”

At Secom, DeMartinis adds, customers work directly with the decision-makers. They get to know about their lives and their hobbies. It’s a family-oriented atmosphere. “And, yet, we have a national footprint. We can go anywhere in the world, and – in fact – we do. Being a regional company that can do that, and still give customers the convenience to talk to an owner or a manager over the weekend or at 5 o’clock on a Friday when all goes to hell? That is what sets us apart.”

Kidwell agrees and says that finding the right people for the right positions has been key to continued success.

“It’s about promoting people from within. Good people who get along with each other. I’ve worked for a lot of companies, and I’ve never seen the relationship between sales and operations work so well. We all agree we don’t want to do each other’s jobs,” he laughs. “We’re just all impressed at how well everyone does their work.”

“At previous jobs, it was always the other side’s fault or finger-pointing,” Kidwell continues. “We don’t do that at Secom. If a customer has an issue, we solve it. We don’t worry about who caused the problem or who dropped the ball. We get it fixed. We might revisit things to figure out how to keep it from happening again. But we’re a team and we need to get things done.”

“Teamwork,” DeMartinis says.

Kidwell echoes the sentiment: “Teamwork.”