Orange County Business Journal

Universal Protection Buys JWA Security Contractor

Jane Yu Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Universal Protection Service in Santa Ana has acquired San Diego-based Heritage Security Services, which was recently selected to provide private armed security guards for John Wayne Airport.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Universal Protection is the security arm of Universal Services of America, which began in 1965 as a janitorial company to serve Southern California. The janitorial business was sold in 1989, and the company now operates security and building maintenance divisions.

Universal Services was ranked No. 60 on last year’s Business Journal list of fastest-growing private companies in Orange County. It had about $329.9 million in revenue for the year ended June 30, up about 46% over two years. It also is among the largest employers here, with more than 1,700 workers in Orange County. It has more than 11,000 workers companywide.

Heritage Security has five offices throughout Southern California, including one in Orange. It’s been serving a number of markets since 1980, ranging from construction sites and government facilities to universities and retail centers.

The company started work at John Wayne Airport in February, with 16 armed security officers assigned to monitor vehicle gates. Their service, run with high-technology tools, is reported to save the county $1 million a year.

The guards use Heritage Security’s patented CyCop, a management tool that taps into GPS-enabled smart phones and provides electronic tracking and voice recognition, among other features.

“This acquisition... further enhances our technology capabilities,” said Steve Jones, co-chief executive and chief operating officer of Universal Services of America.