From a team of four to a team of 20,000, Paladin Security is one of North America’s biggest Security Success Stories. But CEO Ashley Cooper says the company is doing what it must to grow, which takes innovation and resilience.

By Michael Wayne

Legend tells of 12 knights of the court of Charlemagne, King of the Franks. Led by Roland, these paladins were charged with protecting France from outside invaders during the eighth century. Tales of their valiant efforts to secure king and country echoed through the ages; indeed, Paladin has become shorthand for a stalwart protector wherever they’re found.

In modern-day Vancouver, Ashley Cooper has a legend of his own. “In 1978, my older brother incorporated Paladin Security,” he recalls. “It was just a little security guard company in North Vancouver with one contract and four employees, and he ran the company from the corner of his desk. He was a stockbroker, so he ran this thing part time.”

At just 19 years of age, Ashley began working for his brother as a security guard while he completed his business degree. “After I graduated, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he says. “I came to see the security company as an opportunity.”

He bought the company from his brother and immediately began to build the business beyond its humble beginnings. Today, Paladin Security is a force of 20,000 employees across North America, and Ashley is its CEO – its Roland. “The bottom line is, I’ve been in this since forever.”

Paladin’s astronomical growth didn’t happen overnight, however. “I don’t think there’s any silver bullet when it comes to growing a business,” Ashley shares. “Yes, we’ve had longevity, but I think businesses grow to be the size they are based on their ability to retain clients and employees, and to provide a superior service quality that the competition doesn’t have. You have to be good over time.”

“Our company was built by 20,000 people. It’s a team effort all the way.”

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