Justin Allbright admits he had a big chip on his shoulder about going into the family business — security alarms and services for commercial entities and homes — after graduating from the University of Florida.
Allbright, who went on to earn an MBA and a law degree from UF, wanted to do his own thing. The business, Port Charlotte-based Security Alarm Corp., a family-run company founded by Allbright’s grandfather, a Hungarian immigrant who fled communism in his home country, would have to wait.
That was in 2013. Allbright proved himself in the high-stakes, highly competitive world of investment banking, first with Wells Fargo, and later with BankUnited in Tampa. At the second stop, senior vice president in corporate banking and specialty finance for BankUnited, Allbright underwrote and closed more than $870 million in deals, generating some $5.2 million in fees. “It was a high-growth, work-hard environment,” Allbright says. “It was fun.”
In his early 30s, after more than five years as a banking rainmaker, flying all over the country doing deals, Allbright sought a change. He joined the family business, giving his mom, Aggie, who had been running the company, a chance to retire. Allbright came back to the company in June 2019 and is now the sole owner.
But change, for Allbright, doesn’t necessarily mean a change of pace, in slowing down from investment banking. Allbright has Security Alarm Corp., with 45 employees and $3.3 million in revenue in 2019, on a growth track. That includes adding more products and services, such as a Home Solutions line focused on smart home and Internet of Things lifestyle devices. The company also made one acquisition recently, with plans for more in the future.
Beyond the nuts and bolts of the business, Allbright says one his favorite parts of running a company is the people side. “The most rewarding part for me,” he says, “is watching employees succeed and develop a trade and get as excited about this business as I am.”
Allbright adds that one of the key lessons he’s learned, so far, in his new role is related to people as well. That’s in ensuring Security Alarm Corp. is a top place to work. “When you run a small business,” he says, “people and culture is everything.”
Security Alarm Corp.
Years on the Gulf Coast
All my life with the exception of eight years in Gainesville at UF.
University of Florida, B.S. accounting, MBA and J.D.
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
University Club of Tampa
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
What's your top tip for being productive?
Plan daily, and measure results nightly.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
Work on my hobby car
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
"Bar Rescue" with Jon Taffer
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
Going to sporting events
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
Working, primarily. I have spent more time enjoying Florida's natural beauty by touring the state parks within two hours of Tampa with my girlfriend, Alyssa.
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
100% an office. I can't stand working from home.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
Virtual happy hours. I have found myself sending emails to friends just to simply catch up without a specific business motivation. It is easier for me to manage all of my written communications in one place: my inbox.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?