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2011 Idaho Minority Small Business Person of the Year
Some entrepreneurs dream big. Some entrepreneurs work tirelessly. Entrepreneur Corrine McKague, owner of Alarmco Inc., doesn’t know the word no. McKague came by it honestly as her she watched her father run a successful security business for many years.
In 1995, Corrine McKague and her husband Charles started Alarmco, Inc. to service small commercial and residential clients with security, fire and closed–circuit television systems. “We had the expertise,” recalls McKague, “But what really motivated us was our passion for the security industry and a vision for a sound business model.”
Traditionally, the security industry is dominated by large firms providing expensive, often impersonal, service. In building Alarmco, the McKague’s made their personal commitment to exceed client’s expectations, thus gaining repeat business and word of mouth referrals. This approach worked very well as local commercial accounts turned into national accounts with giants like Boise Cascade, Office Max and Grainger. Likewise, Alarmco’s offerings expanded to include design-build services for these larger, commercial customers.
In 2003, Alarmco decided to expand their customer base once again by targeting U.S. government facilities. McKague was aware of how challenging it is to “break into” selling to the government so she decided to pursue the SBA 8(a) Business Development certification.
“Before pursuing 8(a) certification I did my homework to make sure it would be worthwhile for Alarmco. What I found was there was a large demand for the services we provide not only locally, but nationally as well,” said Corrine. In October of 2003, Alarmco received word they had been certified by the SBA and she immediately started looking for contracting opportunities.
“We poured a lot of hours into making contacts and our commercial background helped convince wary contracting officers of our ability to deliver,” said McKague. And, it wasn’t long before Alarmco was awarded their first federal project with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. “It was a real learning experience completing our first federal project and in the end the government got a great product.”
Alarmco has never looked back. Relying on their excellent past performance, Alarmco’s federal customers include the Department of the Navy, National Park Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Land Management and the National Guard nationwide. Last year, Alarmco was awarded a contract to upgrade the security system at our national treasure, Mt. Rushmore National Monument.
Corrine McKague is a hands-on entrepreneur; her positive attitude in infectious. Her continued commitment of customer satisfaction makes Alarmco a real success story for Idaho.
“We recently received an SBA 7(a) loan for working capital to implement this new technology and have already hired four new employees,” McKague stated proudly. “We’re nowhere near capacity yet and with the help of the SBA we’ll just keep growing.”