Selkirk Security Services Ltd.

Bringing leading security to southeastern British Columbia
Written by: 
Matt Dodge
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

Founded in 2006 by security industry veteran William Trowell, Selkirk Security Services Ltd. will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary of providing leading security expertise to clients in the commercial and residential markets.

With a wide range of product lines and ample in-house expertise, Selkirk offers an extensive slate of fire-related services including fire alarm and extinguisher installation, service and testing, emergency lighting, special hazards systems, sprinklers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“We’re actually pushing very strong into fire and safety more lately due to fact there is a demand for knowledgeable companies that know what they are doing,” says William Trowell, president and owner of Selkirk.

On the security side of the business, Selkirk performs installation, maintenance and testing of access control, burglary, home automation, surveillance and alarm systems, as well as lone worker monitoring services, sound, data and communications systems as well as water and temperature sensors.

Selkirk Security Services Ltd.

“We’ve been a leader in security right from Day One,” says Trowell. While the company started off strictly in the security sector, Selkirk expanded into fire safety in 2010 and quickly made it a cornerstone of the business.

“In 2010 we came out of the gate as a leader in safety; we have fire departments recommending us left, right and center. We’re even getting calls from Vancouver when contractors are coming out here and need a security setup or guards. Our reputation precedes us in many areas,” Trowell says.

In addition to fire safety and security products and services, Selkirk offers clients consultations on their security program, emergency response plans and loss prevention efforts. The company also provides guard services to clients across the region, with 30 full- and part-time guards operating throughout the West Kootenay.

”We’ve looked after security for fire camps during the big summer fire season. We’ve also done security for dams, government facilities, hospitals, home alarm checks — all across the board,” he says.

Turning it around

Selkirk owes much of its early success to the leadership and expertise of Trowell, who spent years as a search and rescue team member and deputy sheriff before getting into the private safety and security industry.

Trowell founded Selkirk along with two partners in 2006 and bought them out in 2013 to become the company’s sole owner. At that time, poor and overpaid management had Selkirk on the verge of closing, but thanks to Trowell’s dedication and expertise, the company soon turned things around and was back in the black by the end of his first year at the helm.

“In my first year in charge we increased sales by 15 percent, brought both accounts receivable and payable up to date. Now I have my accounts payable paid every month and I’m sitting on a good amount of money in the bank,” he says.

While Selkirk currently relies on Vancouver-area suppliers, Trowell is currently earning his importers license as a means of cutting costs and sourcing materials directly from foreign manufactures. “I’m looking into bringing in product I cannot get right now, so I’m going to have to be jumping the border,” he says.

Trowell sees Selkirk as not only a leading provider of safety and security equipment and consultation, but also as an industry educator committed to providing relevant, up-to-date information to clients in a bid to raise the standards and transparency in what can occasionally be a shady industry. “There are lots of unscrupulous security and safety companies out there that knock or doors or come into businesses and mislead clients,” Trowell says.

Selkirk takes a decidedly different approach to drumming up business, acting as an educational resource for clients through advertisements and engagement on social media. “We do educational ads that discuss what security licenses people require and regulations and we have a Facebook page and Twitter account where we push education in fire, security tips, credit card scams; everything,” Trowell says.

Expanded security

There are many exciting new efforts on the horizon as Selkirk continues to grow in its 10th year. Trowell is currently looking to expand the company’s reach by setting up remote storefronts in other parts of the region and investing in a fleet of vehicles for Selkirk’s security guard and technicians that will imbue the business with an air of professionalism while acting as free advertising. “I think it’s better for the company to have a billboard driving around town rather than personal vehicles,” he says.

The company recently relocated its headquarters to a larger space in downtown Trail that will allow Selkirk to finally establish a presence in the retail market.

“Our old facility was more like a contractor’s office and there is not much walking traffic, but now we have moved downtown we’re going to open up a retail section that will sell security and safety products, first aid kits, fire extinguishers and maybe other things like drones,” Trowell says.

Many security companies expand into other related sectors, and Selkirk is no different. While the company offers document delivery services for courts, Trowell is focused on only exploring fields that will benefit the Selkirk Security brand as a whole. “We’re also looking to train more senior staff as private investigators, but I want the core of the business to stay the same,” he says.

Selkirk enjoys a very low attrition rate amongst both employees and clients. Even when Selkirk’s employees move out the area, Trowell will often tap them to set up shop in their new region, thus organically expanding the company’s footprint. “We try to keep them on board when they move and use them in those areas,” he says.

While Trowell is focused on maintaining Selkirk’s reputation as a leading fire and security service provider, it’s the next generation of ownership that really keeps him motivated. “I have a 4-and-a-half-year-old son and this is going to be his one day if he wants it,” Trowell says.

With industry-leading expertise, an ever-expanding slate of security and fire-related products and services and a strong motivation to build a business for future generations, Selkirk Security Services Ltd. will remain a leader in British Columbia’s fire and safety industry for years to come.