Thursday, February 4, 2010
Holly Springs industry featured on TV show
By SUE WATSON
The company motto is “built to protect,” and that’s what CITE Armored does to the tune of up to 30 vehicles a month.
It is a Holly Springs manufacturing company that specializes in construction of armored vehicles that carry cash, and other bullet-proof cars, vans and trucks.
The company is locally owned by Teresa Hubbard, president/CEO, and Ken Russell, vice-president of plant operations.
Just a year ago the company purchased a 78,000-square-foot facility in the Holly Springs Industrial Park that had been occupied by Alpine, another armored vehicle company, and in about four months business doubled, Hubbard said.
The company doubled its workforce from 20 to 40 employees and the sky is the limit.
Hubbard said the safety and security business has not fallen in with the rest of the economy.
Bob Pazderka, president of The Armored Group, LLC, was on hand for the production of a film for WAG London’s television show “How Do They Do That,” at the Holly Springs plant, one of seven facilities his company finds business for around the world.
“The WAG company called me and said they wanted to film ‘How Do You Build an Armored Car,’ and wanted specifically a CIT (Cash In Transit) vehicle,” Pazderka said. “So the relationship I have here and with Teresa brought us here. We’re the sales and marketing arm of CITE Armored.”
Hubbard said their company had insufficient space in the 12,000 to 15,000-square foot-facility they were in near the railroad depot.
“We were seeing growth and had completely run out of space,” she said. “It is almost like as soon as we got into a new building, customers were coming our way. Our existing customers have more than doubled the amount of business and we are still going strong.”
CITE’s customers are money haulers in the United States, but the armored vehicle business has picked up world-wide particularly in Africa and the Middle East, Pazderka said.
“The truck that left today is going to Uganda,” Hubbard said.
“Right now African countries - Uganda, Nigeria, Libya, and Iraq and Afghanistan are picking up orders.”
Pazderka said in Africa and the Middle Eastern regions, money was transferred with police officer escort but too many policemen were being killed.
“So they (foreign countries) started mandating security vehicles be used,” he said. “It was really out of necessity to start saving lives.”
In Iraq and Afghanistan, armored vehicles are used by civilian contractors who are equipping themselves as well as their own equipment, he said.
“We are armoring a lot of construction equipment to protect workers,” he said.
Pazderka travels to the African countries such as Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana about once a month. His company has been in business since 1992.
Hubbard said she started in the business in 1993 and she and Russell opened their business in 2002.
“It’s one of the few markets that has an upside potential,” Pazderka said. “It’s not going away. Safety and security are becoming a way of life. In many countries the upper middle class are all driving armored vehicles.”
Their personal vehicles are being armored to protect themselves from kidnappers and thugs.
Pazderka said the severity of crime is increasing in foreign countries.
“You don’t see it a lot here in the United States, but in a lot of other countries kidnapping and robbery are very commonplace,” he said.
Locally, CIT has changed its name to CITE Armored to reflect the fact that the company manufactures other items like SWAT trucks and personal vehicles - vehicles other than those for carrying cash.
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