CM3 is the #4 Fastest Growing Security Integrator in the North America! – SDI Fast50

CM3 Building Solutions, Fort Washington, Pa., is a building solutions provider in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey region, focusing on the K-12 market, healthcare and county government. Started just a decade ago, this year finds CM3 bursting into the #4 spot of the Fast50 — quite a jump from 12 years ago, when a group purchased an existing factory-owned branch office from a global HVAC automation manufacturer. At the time, there were 17 team members.

“We started as a building automation integrator and quickly grew a service business and a performance contracting business,” says Bruce Michelson, president of CM3, which got started as a security integrator when the primary manufacturer it represents was acquired by a company that also manufactures card access and video equipment.

“Our growth has been organic and is a result of our quality of work, the service that we provide and our reputation. Today we employ 108 team members and we are currently recruiting new onces,” Michelson says. “The biggest obstacle our company overcame in achieving growth is working through how to maintain significant growth with limited overhead.”

Handling Growth

CM3’s growth has been significant over the last several years. “We have not been able to on-board qualified personnel as quickly as our growth may have demanded,” Michelson says.

As such, they have had to become creative in efforts to meet high demands. “We have achieved this by off-loading specific aspects of installations so that our trained personnel are able to focus on the more technical aspects of a project,” Michelson explains. “Freed up from the constraints of particular aspects of an installation, our top personnel have been empowered to become the best at what they were trained to do, and to continue executing an increasing number of installations in a timely manner.”

“We believe that it all begins with the customer experience,” adds Jim Fitzgibbon, security division operations manager. “Treat and provide the customer with the service you would expect if you were the client. Be responsive to their needs and provide excellent service 24×7.”

Fitzgibbon notes that many companies claim they provide this during a sales pitch or installation process, but lack customer service when the customer needs them the most. “Customers have peace and mind of knowing we will be there to support them throughout the sales, design, and installation processes — but most importantly that we are always there in the end and for years to come,” he says.


Back to School

CM3’s mainstay market is K-12 education. “The demand in this market has been consistent over the years, and we expect this market to continue to experience growth in the years to come,” Michelson says.  “We have a long history of serving (the K-12 market), which has led us to develop expertise and proficiency in meeting their demanding needs.”

Adds Michelson: “While we have been successful in the K-12 market, it presents the biggest challenge from a manpower planning perspective,” Michelson says. Work in K-12 is typically done when buildings are unoccupied. This makes it difficult to maintain adequate staffing since work is typically compressed into a short duration of time.

Bill Lawrence, security division manager, sees the fallout from the scheduling problem: The main difficultly with K-12 is site access. “Being forced to work at night or only in the summer months drives up our labor overhead due to large labor demands for short periods of time,” Lawrence says.

All of CM3’s primary markets — K-12, healthcare and county government — are growing, which has enabled the company to expand its security offerings, notes Bill Lawrence, security division manager. “I don’t see these verticals slowing down any time soon, and our expertise in these areas will certainly contribute to future growth,” Lawrence says. “Our success and client support allows us to easily expand in these verticals. CM3 is a mix of old school integrity and cutting edge technology. We are externally focused on our customer’s needs and view their problems and successes as our own.

Unchecked, staffing and scheduling issues can damage customer relations ratings. They create peaks and valleys in labor demands which can destabilize the workforce. “It is important to diversify your customer base and provide preventative maintenance contracts to flatten your labor demand curve,” Lawrence says. “This helps us to maintain our current staff while we search for new talent.”


Growing Staff and Offerings

“One of the keys of our success at CM3 has been our field staff,” Lawrence says. “Our employees care about our clients and it shows in the workmanship they provide and the relationships they help build. Their efforts and professionalism promotes repeat business and new referrals which has been instrumental in our overall success.”

Lawrence is proud that many of CM3’s employees come from word of mouth, although the firm also uses headhunters, ads, and professional electronic networking.

Michelson says CM3’s corporate strategy is to continue to grow organically by providing excellent quality and exceptional service. “Our installed base and the expected growth in K-12 fit this strategy well,” he notes. There are a number of professional organizations attended by K-12 leaders. CM3 participates in these organizations, enabling the company to leverage its existing reputation to develop new relationships. The result is more opportunity to grow market share.

he company is expanding its services in several areas, launching a name-brand security offering and an expanded sustainability services offering. “We have deployed a high-level scalable video solution under the name brand Enexxis,” Michelson says. It allows customers to purchase preconfigured, plug and play video solutions that are scalable to meet their needs.

“Our goal is to develop a card access component to this offering, so we can offer a completely integrate security platform,” he continues. “Our sustainability services group offers solutions that allow our customers to operate their facilities more safely, more comfortably and more efficiently. To do so, we deploy technologies such as analytics engines, building optimization solutions and energy dashboards. We are currently working to add new technologies and expand this offering to reach more of our market.”

Any products and/or technology that allow CM3 to expand its core strengths to its current and future verticals will certainly be included in the overall strategy, Lawrence promises.

How can others follow their footsteps? “My best advice is to hire the best people you can on the front side. They are worth their weight in gold,” Michelson says.

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CM3 Building Solutions, Inc designs, installs and optimizes the most advanced Building Automation Systems (BAS) in the market.

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Energy Services

CM3 Provides guaranteed solutions for modernizing and improving your facilities funded through energy, operating and capital cost savings.

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Maintenance Services

CM3 provides best in class service at all times whether on preventative maintenance inspections or at your most critical time of need.

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Security Services

CM3 provides security solutions, specializing in video surveillance, access control, intrusion, and emergency communication/notification systems.

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