Brings innovative technology to the field
~ By Emily Innes
Already at the forefront of their field, the founder of Interforce International Inc. has just won the 2015 Brampton Outstanding Business Achievement Award (BOBAA) for Spirit of Innovation.
The award, which recognizes local businesses that demonstrate a passion for excellence, was presented in April 2015 to Kien Hoang, who humbly accepted.
“When I attended the awards gala I really did not think I would be standing on the podium,” said Hoang. “There were a lot of businesses there that could have won, a lot of great businesses. As a matter of fact, I was kind of intimidated being there because there were a lot of bigger, more successful companies that were there as well and nominated. So I was surprised that I won.”
Very gracious in his acceptance, Hoang acknowledges that, through his company, he has taken a unique and innovative approach to the security industry by incorporating cutting-edge technology.
“I noticed that in the security industry that technology is not really (well utilized), even though it is security,” Hoang said. “Mostly what (other companies) do is that they give men and women that are guarding their property a pen and paper and that is pretty much it. So I decided to take a different approach and give them some gadgets that would protect them in terms of productivity and in safety. That is how we stand out.”
Interforce uses cutting-edge technology
Hoang becomes acquainted with the latest and greatest equipment by attending the Asia World Expo in Hong Kong two times a year, an event where vendors showcase their innovative products for the security industry.
“There were a couple of gadgets that caught my mind and I brought them to Canada,” said Hoang. “I brought those technologies that were never seen in Canada and that is how I won (the BBOAA).”
One of the technologies he implemented in his company two years ago was the use of body-worn cameras, the same technology the Toronto Police Service is testing in a pilot program launched this May.
Hoang has a good understanding of what might successfully work in the security field because he had 15 years of experience in the industry before he started his own company. He worked as a security guard at Intelligarde International, Ensign Security, Emerald International, LK Protection, The Guvernment Nightclub, Club Rio, and Avalon Nightclub.
While working for other security companies, Hoang fostered his entrepreneurial spirit and felt he had ideas that would be advantageous to the industry. “I was a security guard working for a medium-sized company and I just did not like the way they were running the business so I thought to myself, if these guys can open (a company) up, I can open up one too,” he said.
Challenging road to entrepreneurship
Making the transition to business owner was challenging, Hoang said, because at the same time he had an opportunity to become a police officer, and it required leaving his other well-paying job in a beverage factory.
“When I made the decision to leave I was pretty nervous because when you are on your own, leaving your well-paying stable job, you think ‘what happens if this happens?’ or ‘what happens if that happens?’,” he said. “But it is a risk that (entrepreneurs) have to take. We will all have to leave our day jobs to focus on your company 24/7.”
The industry, he noted, is very saturated which makes it extremely competitive. This led to some people in Hoang’s life being judgmental and critical of his decision to start his own business. “It is good to get feedback and constructive criticism on your idea, but the bottom line is if you have that idea, the only person that could make it work is you,” Hoang said about the advice he would give to entrepreneurs.
His harshest critics, Hoang said, are his parents and they were very worried about his financial well-being when he decided to open Interforce. But as they have watched Hoang become a success, they have slowly become more accepting of his decision.
His parents, however, are no strangers to taking risks as they immigrated when Hoang was an infant to Canada to escape the Vietnam War. “We had nothing to do with the war; we just wanted to live a safe and normal life and raise a family and live in peace,” said Hoang, noting that the transition was challenging for his family who had to adapt to new food, new customs, and new beliefs.
Both gambles paid off and Interforce International Inc. is continually growing, currently employing 46 part-time and full-time staff. The company works in a variety of different sectors such as residential, commercial, industrial, retail, education, health care, government, mobile, loss prevention, and parking enforcement. Their clients include construction sites, retail and wholesale stores, shopping malls, condominiums, residential apartment buildings, high risk neighbourhoods, automotive dealerships, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and more. Just recently, Interforce International received its agency license from the Ontario Provincial Police and Ministry of Private Security and Investigative Services Branch to operate not only as a security guard firm, but also as a private investigations firm. Interforce is a corporate member of the Canadian Condominium Institute, Toronto Construction Association, and the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs.
Comprehensive on-line security training program
Another noteworthy feature of Interforce is that they are recognized under the Ministry of Private Security and Investigative Services Branch, authorized to provide students who wish to pursue a career in the security industry with the mandatory 40-hour security guard course, and first aid/CPR and weapons training. They work closely with Heart 2 Heart First Aid & CPR Training in Toronto to provide this program.
“You have to keep on top of training because if you put someone in an area, a dangerous area for example, and if they are not trained in tactical communications/verbal judo — verbal judo is trying to de-escalate the situation without using physical force — and if they are not trained on that and they use physical force, which is supposed to be the last option, liability immediately comes up,” said Hoang. “(Psychological) training is really important so we can diffuse the situation.”
Hoang wants his company to keep growing and in the long term earn contracts from big corporations or Crown corporations. “Things take time to grow but we will get there,” he said.
More information can be found at www.interforceinternational.com.