Why The Detention Market Needed Another DEC

By Nathan Skipper

A year ago, Montgomery Technology Systems LLC (MTS), a subsidiary of Montgomery Technology Inc. (MTI), announced that we were getting into the detention equipment contracting business. By a sheer act of providence, we were able to absorb most of the core team from CCC Group’s detention contracting division, so we could hit the ground running as a Detention Equipment Contractor (DEC). This past year has proven that decision to be a wise one for a number of reasons. But, with all of the recent ups and downs in the detention contracting market, some might wonder why we did it. Why would MTI, after 30 years of success as a detention control system manufacturer, choose to jump all in as a DEC? In this article, I want to explain why our market needed another DEC, and why we believe MTI/MTS was uniquely suited to fill that void.

Nathan Skipper is the vice president of sales for Montgomery Technology Inc.

A Shrinking Market of Viable Bidders

Over the past two years, it has become apparent to anyone involved in jail and prison construction that the selection of qualified detention equipment contractors who were stable enough to bid on any given project was shrinking drastically. Some of this shrinkage was caused by DECs being bought out by other contractors or large holding companies with other interests. Also, the new construction market for jails and prisons has been on a decline since the early 2000s, a decline that accelerated during the Great Recession. As a result, there were several DECs that just could not justify staying in the game. Some turned to other work, while some closed the doors altogether. Beyond that, many of the DECs that still remain have suffered under the financial strain, to the point that they cannot perform like they are expected to.

Because of this downward pressure, MTS heard from many industry architects and construction managers who were concerned about their projects having competitive bids and meeting budgets. While it is the goal of most companies to be the last man standing, most people recognize that the healthiest market is one in which there is strong competition. The adverse affect of the buy-outs and collapses of some contractors meant that pricing would go up and the quality would go down.

MTS recognized that this lack of competition would afford us an opportunity to provide a better option to the market: an option that was both cost-effective and quality-oriented.

To read the entire article, check out the November/December issue of Correctional News.

Nathan Skipper is the vice president of sales for Montgomery Technology Inc.