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SBA Financial and Technical Assistance help Security Firm find SUCCESS
Executive Protection Systems (EPS), of Winchester, Va. is a small, service-disabled, veteran-owned business and a provider of emergency preparedness solutions. Dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and ensuring America’s businesses are kept safe during emergency situations, EPS turned the tragedy of 9-11 into a successful business.
The company, which began in 2001, was founded by Michael Guevremont, a service-disabled veteran, and Mark Miller, who also served in the military. They previously worked together in the White House and were involved in the protection of the President and his staff. In the beginning, the company started as a security consulting firm with only two consultants in a small office. EPS now has 26 employees under the umbrella of Executive Protection Systems (EPS), an all hazards emergency preparedness company providing equipment, installation and communications as well as training and consulting services. EPS is also the largest supplier of emergency escape hoods in the country. Although Mark has since retired, the business is still owned and operated by Michael and Darla Guevremont, as well as new owner Steve Howe, who joined them as CFO in 2004.
After the events of 9-11, Mike and Mark decided to start a company utilizing their previous military expertise and got off and running with the guidance of the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and a $50,000 loan from United Bank utilizing the SBA 7(a) loan guaranty program. Under the SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program, the agency’s primary lending program, the SBA provides a loan guaranty for small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. These loans are provided through a number of banks and other lending institutions. SBA guarantees a portion of the loan to the lender, reducing their risk and allowing them to make some loans they would otherwise be unable to make. The eligibility requirements under this program are designed to be as broad as possible in order to accommodate the most diverse variety of small business financing needs, including start up funding.
With combined experience of well over 30 years in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives preparedness and logistics planning, EPS has developed numerous strategic partnerships in defense, information technology, environmental, industrial and medical safety fields, all of which helped them to provide customizable leading edge safety solutions with workable plans and proven methods for most industries and businesses today.
EPS is quite unique in the field of Emergency Preparedness and Safety. While many other businesses may offer similar products and services, very few provide the full range that is provided by EPS. The EPS staff is not afraid of getting their hands dirty and actually doing the work bigger companies will not touch. When they see a need in the community and try to fill it. The business offers expertise in safety and security to help everyone from the President of the United States down to the homeowner, offering each the same level of customer service.
Success, however, did not come without its challenges. From the beginning, EPS consulted with Bill Sirbaugh of the Lord Fairfax SBDC in Middletown VA. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a network of 30 centers throughout the Commonwealth which provides guidance and assistance to help businesses grow and prosper.
Named to Inc. Magazine’s Top 500 lists for the fastest growing privately owned companies in the country for both 2007 and 2008, they were also ranked #5 on the Virginia Fantastic 50 list of fastest growing privately held companies. The EPS staff gives back to the community by participating in local school programs mentoring young men and women, and hosting career workshop forums for students and teachers. They are also active in local councils, boards and other clubs thus providing unique and helpful services to the community. Several staff members are volunteers for the local Greenwood Fire Department. Whatever the future holds, EPS stands ready to provide protection.