Member Success Story

Brian grew his security firm through the recession to become one of the nation’s largest employers.

Meet Brian Cescolini

Employees: 50k+
Region: Santa Ana, California
Industry: Security

Success with Vistage

  • Continued rapid growth into 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada
  • Became $2 billion company with the purchase of a major interest by private equity firm

“Vistage made me a better business person and helped me stay grounded during the incredible growth years.”

– Brian Cescolini, Executive Chairman, Universal Protection Services

Before Vistage
Brian had already established a background as a guard, manager and executive in the security industry when he became a general manager at Universal Protection Services in 1981. A small operation at the time, Universal grew into a $25 million business by 2001.

With his partner, Steve Jones, Brian bought the company, taking the position of co-CEO. As he encountered the responsibilities and leadership challenges of his new role, Brian realized he would benefit from the perspective of those with more business experience.

With Vistage
In the booming climate for security following 9/11, the new CEOs led Universal to prodigious growth. To manage this growth, Brian turned to his Vistage peer advisory board to exchange advice and share in camaraderie.

He was reassured to discover that the other members dealt with similar problems in their own industries. This support helped him to weather difficult periods along the way, especially the 2007 financial crisis. That period proved that security is a recession-resistant industry, as Universal only continued to expand. Even with all this success, Brian found that Vistage helped him stay connected to others. Over time, he shifted roles within his group, increasingly serving as a mentor for others.

Universal is the largest U.S.-owned security company, with employees in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. Following the purchase of major interest by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, the company reached new heights, valued at $2 billion. As of July 2016, Universal acquired another large firm equal in size to make the company $4.5 billion in annual revenues and 180K employees – making it the largest security firm in the U.S. and one of the top 50 largest employers in the nation. At this time, Brian stepped back to an executive chairman role, with Jones becoming the sole CEO. Still, he continues to bring his experience to bear for both his company and Vistage colleagues.

Charles does not see himself as a fair-weather leader, which is why he values having a group of like-minded business leaders to hold him accountable and drive him to higher levels of success.