Success in the restaurant and bar industry allowed him to focus on charitable work, which was his passion.
But one of those philanthropic efforts led Windom Security Strategies Today CEO Dylan Vicha to another professional firm and launch his private security firm.
Vicha is the co-founder of Homes for Wounded Warriors, the nonprofit that raises funds for the housing of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s one of the many collaborations Vicha has with his business partner and former NFL defensive specialist Jared Allen, who he grew up with.
This non-profit organization introduced Vicha to the world of veterans and their goals after their military service. Vicha was approached by his Windom co-founder, Chad Arruda, who had a concept to start a security company made up of veterans.
But it wouldn’t be an ordinary outfit with employees who exuded characteristics worthy of a “mall cop.” Veterans who are seriously interested in a career in law enforcement doing the job, most with the intention of using that experience as a stepping stone to police academy, would distinguish it. The result would be a top level security company.
In addition, instead of competing with government law enforcement, Windom would be a partner. Vicha saw this concept in cities like Lower Manhattan, where these partnerships between private security companies and city law enforcement were effective.
For Vicha, it was a way for him to continue to help veterans while giving them valuable work with a credible security company. He spent a year researching and meeting with various Phoenix executives in both cities and law enforcement and in 2019 he and Arruda started Windom.
âI am excited to make a difference in people’s lives all the time. But with Windom, you get (the rewarding feeling) that you get from nonprofits, but you also make it into a business, âVicha said.
Visha knew that training had to come from law enforcement personnel so officers could trust his team if they encountered each other in the field. He made sure Windom had the proper gear that was on par with the police, so it was the first and perhaps the only private security company to use Axon Body cameras – the same ones used by the law enforcement, Vicha said. Windom has access to the same databases, which allows his company to share information with police, lawyers and others.
The strategies include predictive patrols, dispatch network, and detailed client reports. The company partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to provide timely intelligence reports that enable them to identify emerging threats to crime or homeland security.
âA lot of private companies have this mentality of us versus them with the police. We don’t do that. We take a partnership approach and promote the police,â Vicha said.
In 2019, Windom generated $ 1 million in revenue, Vicha said. In 2020, he made $ 2 million and today, he is present in 150 communities in the valley.
Windom is part of a North American security services market valued at $ 32 billion in 2018, according to Statista. It is also a facet of an outsourced security services market that generated $ 27 billion in the United States in 2018.
More than 80% of Windom’s staff are veterans, with the majority seeking law enforcement, Vicha said.
âMany don’t know where they want to work and they don’t want to go to a police academy. It gives them the chance to slow down and the time to figure things out, âhe said.
Most of Windom’s clients are property management companies, City of Phoenix-owned properties, and municipalities including the cities of Chandler and Tempe.
Cushman & Wakefield is one of them. Over the past five years, the international commercial real estate company has engaged the services of Windom for a number of its multi-family residential properties in the Valley.
Vice President of Operations Kris Tomlinson was looking for a private security provider when he connected with Windom co-founder Arruda. At that time, Tomlinson said he had used just about every security company in the metro area “with poor results.”
He was impressed with the decorum of Arruda and his team and the way they approached security as a whole. The military and veteran aspects were also essential. He gave Windom a chance.
âThey don’t treat it like a simple job, (they treat it) like a career,â Tomlinson said. âNow this is the only company I will recommend or use. “
Windom’s ability to provide proper and appropriate security for the wide range of Cushman & Wakefield apartment complexes has been a plus, explained Tomlinson. These include upscale luxury lodgings in Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix and Tempe, where a soft touch of velvet is needed to resolve issues like noise complaints.
These are also groups located in more rugged neighborhoods – some surrounded by barbed wire – which are or have been remodeled. In these scenarios Windom is able to provide a firmer hand which can sometimes require an armed presence. Tomlinson said Windom helped his business transform these properties.
âJust because people don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean they don’t want a nice, safe place to come home,â Tomlinson said. “They specialize in that and come to help deliver that.”
Originally from the Santa Cruz, California area, Vicha was a motorcycle rider who turned professional at the age of 18. He was living in Los Angeles when he suffered the first of what would be a series of injuries that would ultimately end his career.
During one of those injury breaks, Vicha was 20 when he accompanied a friend on a life-changing visit to Arizona State University.
âI was in Tempe, midnight shirtless, in swimming trunks. There were palm trees and misters everywhere and I thought it was heaven, âhe recalls.
After graduating with a degree in biology, Vicha gave another shot at a career as a professional runner. An accident that broke his leg into 15 pieces closed that door permanently.
But Vicha has found her vocation which balances entrepreneurial and spiritual development. He explained how Windom’s services have provided some low-income communities with the empowerment they need to make them safer places to live.
And there’s how Windom gave veterans the chance to start their next career in a different way.
âSeeing a veteran go where he wants to goâ¦ that’s exciting for me,â said Vicha. “I’ve never served, but I can share that a bit, even though I’m not the one on the street.”
What: Windom Security Strategies Today
Or: 4914 E. McDowell Road, Suite 101, Phoenix
Interesting statistic: The North American security services market was valued at $ 32 billion in 2018, according to Statista.
Details: 480-865-4272, windomsecurity.com