WHEN CORPORATE DOWNSIZLNG RESULTED IN A JOB change from manufacturing supervisor to security guard, Mary Parker didn't complain. Instead, she remained upbeat, embraced the new challenge, and quickly earned the moniker "Officer Friendly" in the building where she worked. Now as president and CEO of ALL(n)1 Security Services (www.alln1security.com; 404-691-4915), a full-service security firm in Atlanta, Parker imparts that same commitment to compassionate security to the people she employs: eight full-time office staff and nearly 200 people in the field.
Founded in 2001, the company offers security personnel and technology, traffic control, and law enforcement services primarily in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. Its annual revenues reached $3.2 million in 2008 and 2009 revenues were projected to reach $8 million, helped by a project in which the company was contracted to monitor the more than 30,000 parking spaces at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
While Parker's business acumen helped her win 2009 Supplier of the Year honors from the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council and Outstanding Achievement Woman of the Year honors from the Atlanta Business League last year, she's also overcome several setbacks, including a demotion from her first security director position in the early 1990s, and the demise of a business partnership in 2000. Prior to founding ALL(n) 1, she co-owned another security firm but never took the reins. "I had not really learned how to lead and grow an organization," the 55-year old explains. "I didn't work on developing strategies or implementing a management team or process to grow. We ran the business without a plan to be successful."
The idea to strike out...