Making Lives Safer, Easier
GPI Defense protects and defends people and property
When it comes to protecting people and assets, GPI Defense takes the worry out of security. “When GPI Defense is on the job, clients don’t have to focus on making sure their goods and people are safe. They can rest assured knowing they have the best security people in the business,” says Founder and CEO Troy Skeen.
Headquartered in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, GPI Defense provides security services to clients throughout the U.S., as well as internationally. “We have connections around the globe and can provide security in nearly any location,” Troy says.
A wide range of clients includes general contractors and building owners needing property protection; hospitals, companies and schools requiring security access services; and high-profile customers like CEOs, actors, musicians and influencers in need of personal protection. The company employs unarmed and armed officers in uniform as well as plain-clothed armed officers. In addition to security, GPI Defense also offers private investigation services. “We consider ourselves a multidimensional security company,” says Leigh Ellis, Director of Marketing.
A key differentiator according to Troy is the company’s on-time guarantee. “We are extremely faithful. If we say we’re going to be there, you can count on us. And we put our money where our mouth is. If our security officers are even two minutes late, we credit our clients two billable hours,” he says.
“No one else does that,” Leigh adds. “The No. 1 complaint about the security industry is that officers don’t show up on time. Our on-time guarantee eases clients’ minds. It makes trying our services risk-free. Even after a client has signed a long-term contract, they know we’re going to hold up our end of the bargain, guaranteed.”
GPI Defense uses technology to add transparency to the process. “Most of our officers have geolocation on their phones, and we can track their location through our app. We can see when officers arrive on site and can see where they are at all times,” Leigh says.
The app also allows for better logging of issues. “If an officer encounters any problems, like property tampered with on a job site, that officer can snap a photo and log the issue directly into the system through the app. In doing this, we’re tracking issues in real time,” Leigh says. Clients can opt to receive reports daily, weekly or monthly. “By providing this visual record of our services, the system gives clients a tangible way to analyze the return on their investment.”
According to Troy, construction clients appreciate that the company provides service in nearly any location. “In construction, job sites can be quite far-flung, sometimes in remote areas. Clients don’t have to employ multiple security companies. No matter the number of job sites, no matter how many different locations, no matter how remote, we have the ability to meet their security needs,” he says.
Troy explains that since the pandemic began, the company has noticed an increase in construction theft. “We recently got a call from a large homebuilder in Houston. The company owns several new residential subdivision developments and was losing a great deal of money in property theft every single night. People were stealing hot water heaters, lumber, roofing materials, plumbing supplies—you name it,” he says.
The client needed security but was working with a limited budget. “They told us how much they were able to spend, and we customized a service plan that would give the client optimal protection while staying within the constraints of their budget,” Troy says.
The team at GPI Defense began by looking at when the thefts were occurring at each property. “By zeroing in on the timeframe of the thefts, we could staff the properties only when needed, reducing costs for the client,” he says. GPI Defense provided unarmed security officers for most properties, as well as a few armed officers. “We provided armed officers if the location of the property merited it.”
Now that property theft has been reduced, GPI Defense is working to further streamline the client’s costs by providing remote monitoring services in lieu of onsite personnel. “We can closely monitor each job site and dispatch a security officer if needed,” he says.
Leigh admits that GPI Defense isn’t the lowest-cost security company in the industry. “We’re not the least expensive and we’re not the most expensive. We’re somewhere in the middle,” she says.
Being in the middle allows the company to provide better compensation for employees. “We start our unarmed security officers at a pay rate that would normally be the starting pay for an armed officer,” Troy says. The company has hundreds of employees and believes the higher pay rate is the right thing to do. “Our employees put their lives on the line protecting people and assets. We end up taking a smaller profit margin on jobs so we can pay our people better than others.”
Leigh explains that higher pay helps to retain quality employees. “Finding good employees can be challenging. Once you find them, you don’t want to let them go. You want to show them that you value the work they do,” she says.
GPI Defense shows that not only in providing a competitive salary, but also in providing opportunities for advancement. “If an employee starts as a Level II—that’s an unarmed officer—we give them the steps they need to take to get to a Level III, armed officer, a Level IV, plain-clothed armed officer, or even a private detective. We provide them with a career path,” Troy says.
The company also provides employees with continuing education. “We conduct training sessions about once a month. Recently, we hosted a five-day training course that covered CPR, first aid and trauma, and verbal judo, as well as training in dealing with active shooters and tactics,” Troy says. “We provided almost 60 hours of training during that week.”
Leigh adds that the training provided at GPI Defense is useful on the job and off. “The situational awareness training we received really stuck with me and has helped me be more aware of my surroundings,” she says.
“A lot of companies hire an officer, provide them with initial training and don’t do anything else. We provide training that goes above and beyond the state requirements for continuing education. We want our officers to get better at their jobs and to advance in their careers,” Troy says. “We want our employees to feel proud that they get to call themselves a security officer.”
“When GPI Defense is on the job, clients don’t have to focus on making sure their goods and people are safe. They can rest assured knowing they have the best security people in the business.” Troy Skeen, Founder and CEO, GPI Defense
‘Change Has to Start Somewhere’
Troy admits that the reputation of the security industry has been tarnished over the years. It’s what inspired him to start GPI Defense in 2012. “I originally got sworn into law enforcement over 30 years ago and have been in and around the industry most of my life,” he says.
The U.S. Army veteran, who still serves as a peace officer, began consulting for different security companies and quickly saw problems in the industry. “I’d see officers sleeping, not showing up for jobs, not doing what was asked of them,” he says. “I felt like I had no other option but to start my own security company. Change has to start somewhere, and I was bound and determined to be part of that change.”
Through the company’s policies, like its on-time guarantee, and by investing in its officers, GPI Defense is helping to restore the reputation of the security industry. The company is also working to move the industry into the 21st century by investing in innovative technology. “We’ve already done a great deal to make the process of contracting security easy for customers. In just a few clicks on the website you can get a quote, and contracts are signed and completed electronically,” Leigh says. “But we wanted to go further than that.”
A new app promises to make the process even easier for customers. “If your life is in danger, you don’t want to have to go through a long process of getting quotes from companies and waiting days for service. You might need security protection within the hour,” Leigh says. “We’re proactively investing in technology that’s in step with our fast-paced society and will revolutionize the security industry, changing the way clients obtain security services and the way our officers get paid.”
Although GPI Defense is currently working in most states and multiple countries, Troy is determined to never lose that personal touch. He often forwards the company phones to his cellphone during off hours so clients can get ahold of him if needed. He also goes above and beyond to make clients happy. “We got a call from a client who was desperately searching for a security company that was preapproved by a business that vets security firms,” Troy says. “That same day, we applied and within 48 hours we were preapproved. The client was astonished we would spend the resources and take the time to go through this vetting process so quickly to meet their needs.”
Changing the Status Quo
The team at GPI Defense not only goes above and beyond for clients, but also has a soft spot for community. In addition to providing emergency security services for clients during natural disasters, the company has been on the ground providing essential items to people in need. “After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, there was a tremendous need for food, clothing and personal care items. We teamed up with a nonprofit and church to distribute $5 million in diapers, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in food, clothing and personal care supplies. There were hundreds of people in line every day to receive these much-needed items,” Troy says.
GPI Defense also lends support to Bridge The Blue, which works to unite police officers and communities, and sponsors programs that help underprivileged children.
“Our heartbeat—our mission—is to advocate for the value of human life by defending and protecting the best of humanity from the worst of it. We take that mission very seriously,” Leigh says. “How you do business and serve community is a reflection of your personal values.”
“We’re a company that cares,” Troy adds. “We love this country, and we love the people in it.”
GPI Defense’s commitment to people has landed the company solid five-star reviews on Google, according to Troy. “We’re different from other security companies. I didn’t realize when I started all this how much my love would grow for this industry. We truly love what we do at GPI Defense.”
“We’re challenging the status quo,” Leigh says. “We’re committed to changing the landscape of the security industry, helping to make lives safer and easier.”