Digital Trust

Hitting a long-awaited sales goal turned out to be the first step for NCI to face growth in its own way

Eugene Ng (left) and Danny Timmins couldn’t imagine the success NCI would find when they started the company in 2000.

Integrity, passion, respect, accountability, and leadership are the five core values upon which Mississauga, Ontario-based NCI has built itself, and they are the values that both CEO Danny Timmins and CIO Eugene Ng expect will guide the company through its next phase of growth.

“From the very beginning, our integrity as an organization has been critically important,” Ng says. “Especially when you are selling services, doing what you say you will do matters more than anything. If you want to be in the market a long time, you don’t just have to prove yourself; you have to stay proven.”

Clients rely on NCI for the most sensitive of services: IT and physical security for public safety, municipalities, government, and law-enforcement agencies, as well as all verticals, including finance, education, retail, manufacturing, and hospitals. Growing from just 5 people in 2003 to 55 in 2011, NCI is poised to make its next leap into new markets with expanded services. In order to do so, Timmins and Ng made some radical decisions about developing their organization.

“We decided to hire an executive management team,” Timmins explains. “It had taken us almost eight years to grow to $10 million, and we knew that to get to the next level we needed proven management expertise to help us develop a more structured organization.”

After months of interviews, NCI settled on a few consultants who helped the company locate and hire the right people. It took about 18 months to eventually hire vice presidents of sales, professional services, business development for Eastern Canada, and finance, as well as a director of human resources.

“If we had it to do over, I would have hired the vice president of finance first; as it was, we hired him last,” says Timmins of the extensive hiring process. “If you are not a financial person, that is a key skill set to have as you develop.”

The process was hardly stress-free. “Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty,” Timmins says. “For about three months, neither Eugene nor I knew where we fit in any longer—what were we supposed to be doing? It took a while, but finally we figured it out.”

The problem is that many entrepreneurs stop short of hiring a full management team. It has a lot to do with how the company wants to grow. “It seems that when you get to the $10 million, 50-employee level, you either stop there or decide to push towards much larger goals,” Ng says. “The decision to keep growing is a whole new set of goals.”

For NCI, staff development and communicating with employees are a high priority. In order to grow to the next level, NCI focused on three key areas. “First, getting the right people in the right job—that’s essential,” Timmins says.

The second is establishing corporate infrastructure and systems to navigate future demands. This includes the physical location, information technologies (including customer-relations management programs), accounting systems, and human resources.

Lastly, NCI made sure to continually look ahead. “Envision the market two to three years from now so you can develop internal resources to be prepared to pick up that market,” Timmins says.

Currently, NCI is looking both inside Canadian borders and to other, international markets for continued growth with an expanded interest in physical security.