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THE DRIFT 2019: Sault firm providing site security across the North

Norpro’s integrated services a one-stop shop for mining
Norpro Security and Investigations has grown exponentially since Brad Gregorini acquired the Sault Ste. Marie company in 2013. The firm provides integrated security services in Ontario and Michigan, with more than half the business coming from the mining industry. (Supplied photo)

Brad Gregorini wants mining companies to focus on what they do best – mineral extraction and processing – and leave the security of their sites to him.

Gregorini is the owner and president at Norpro Security and Investigations, a Sault Ste. Marie firm providing gatehouse security services at mining sites across North America. Norpro guards can control access to a site, keep the peace, patrol a property, enforce local bylaws, assist with employee dismissals, provide medical first response, and more.

More than 50 per cent of the company’s current business comes from the mining industry, but Gregorini sees it as a key area primed for even more growth.

“Mining is our sector, but we want to become more known for it, and we definitely want to expand our services throughout the globe in the mining field,” he said. “It’s a great space, our model suits really well for it, and we are a proven factor in mining.”

Born and raised in the Sault, Gregorini moved to London to complete his education in business before returning to his hometown. In 2013, he was working as a finance manager for an automobile dealership when he purchased Norpro.

A long-time interest in the field of security initially prompted the move. But he also saw acquiring his own company as an opportunity to contribute to the industry, help create local jobs, and jumpstart the Sault’s economy.

“The Sault was having an exodus of people,” Gregorini said. “So I am going against the grain and saying, ‘No, we can make a business here, and we can support other areas and show that the Sault can be a player in the North.’”

Norpro was founded in 1980, but under his direction, the company has flourished. It now serves 12 regions in Ontario, as well as Michigan, where Norpro opened a new office in May, 2018. The company is also exploring expansion opportunities in Nevada, which is home to a prospering gold camp.

In addition to gatehouse security, the company can provide armed guards for the transport of valuable goods, mobile response, cash-in-transit services, and loss prevention services. Norpro even has its own K9 unit.

Through its investigations division, Norpro will look into fraud or compliance cases, conduct background checks, and oversee private investigative matters.

There is also a health and safety division, which provides training in CPR and first aid, confined space, and working at heights. All the services are customizable to a client’s specific needs, Gregorini said.

And Norpro’s reach extends into the service and supply sector.

“With the mining, it’s not just the mines that we deal with,” he said. “We deal with a lot of the logistical and supply chain people as well, from security solutions for their operations, whether it be IT or access control.”

Gregorini spent most of 2018 making a series of acquisitions, expanding into the communications and tech sectors, adding IT, cabling and camera companies to the organization.

This means Norpro can now offer clients a full suite of services, giving them one point of contact and a more efficient, cost-effective approach to security.

“With these acquisitions, we’re able to be a back-end solutions provider, focusing on the security of the location,” Gregorini said. “And it’s not just the physical security – it’s the security of the operation itself.”

As Norpro expands its services and moves into new regions, he continues to happily fulfill his original goal of providing jobs for Northerners, employing about 80 people in the Sault alone, and just under 200 across divisions.

The company pays competitive wages, with benefits, and there’s room for advancement within the company, Gregorini said.

But what won’t change is his assurance that Norpro will always remain a Sault Ste. Marie company.

“The Sault is the perfect spot for our head office, and even when we’re acquiring companies in the GTA and Ottawa, we’re moving the head offices to Sault Ste. Marie,” he said.

“Head office will always remain in Sault Ste. Marie, and that’s kind of my commitment to the community I grew up in.”

The Drift magazine, a new publication from Northern Ontario Business, features profiles on the people and companies making important contributions to the Northern Ontario mining service and supply industry.