When he first took over as director of Severnside Security in 2018, Kane Lewis had only six months of managerial experience — but since then, he's helped to grow and transform the business into one of Gloucestershire's most renowned security firms.
SoGlos caught up with Lewis to hear more about how he rose to the challenge and helped the company to achieve the thriving business model it has in place today.
About the expert - Kane Lewis from Severnside Security
When Lewis joined Severnside Security with only six months of management experience, he was determined to change the security business model through hard work — and a few risks — and focus on the key markets that would allow the business grow sustainably.
The company is well known across Gloucestershire and beyond for its approach to delivering sophisticated projects, working with large commercial clients and ultra-high net worth individuals — providing fire and security solutions, demonstrating expertise in design, implementation and support of integrated systems and intuitive technologies.
Tell us a bit
My name is Kane Lewis, I’m 30, and I'm the managing director of Severnside Security. I grew up in Gloucestershire and went to school locally before joining the industry I find myself in today.
I spend my time between the office, working with our team across the country and meeting clients.
What led you to your position at Severnside Security?
The company started off as a small locksmith business in the early 1990s operating out of the back of a garden shed. The business stayed relatively small, even when I joined as an engineering apprentice 12 years ago.
I always had the ambition to start something on my own, but I was never sure what I wanted to do. In 2015, one of the directors had to suddenly step down from the business for medical and personal reasons. I only had less than six months' management experience at this point. So as not to see the business fail and people’s livelihoods affected, we managed to convince the bank to give the business a loan to buy the shareholding.
Overnight I became a director of a business with less than five employees with little to no experience in what I was really doing. With a lot of hard work, long hours, and a few risks along the way, we changed the business model and focused on the key markets we believed would allow the business grow sustainably.
We now have a team of 40 across the south west and the midlands and are continuing to grow year on year.
What’s the most interesting part of your job?
I would say the continuous evolution of technology and the clients we work with. The fire and security industry is very competitive, with most companies selling the same products packaged together in a similar way. Of course, the product matters but the opportunity is in how you utilise the technology and the service you ultimately deliver to the client.
One of our clients with properties in the Cotswolds, London, south of France and the United States can control all of their security and technology systems from anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. Their security team based in the UK can monitor and control each property in real-time removing the need for on-site security teams and staff.
We have been extremely honoured to work with some exceptional clients and incredible properties in the UK and overseas.
Do you have any famous clients in Gloucestershire? If so, could you give us a hint of who they are?
We have a lot of well-known clients in Gloucestershire and our client base has grown significantly in recent years but I’m sure you will appreciate, I can’t tell you who they are.
Have you got any projects that you’re particularly proud of?
We’ve been involved in several prestigious projects, some which we are particularly proud of.
Last year in 2021, we successfully handed over a project we had been working on since 2019. It was an incredible £20 million restoration in the Cotswolds.
Security systems tend not be aesthetically pleasing, so our brief was to design and deliver a security package that met both their insurance and consultant's requirements, whilst being almost unnoticeable to the eye.
The package included intruder alarms, CCTV, gate automation, intercoms, panic alarms, ballistic high-security doors, perimeter detection and sophisticated analytics and monitoring.
After working on the project for over three years and being involved from design through to completion, it was a great achievement. The client was extremely happy and has since engaged with us on another property.
We’ve got two very exciting projects ongoing in Windsor and London's Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which I can hopefully share more details with you in the future.
What can people across Gloucestershire expect to see from yourself and the business in the coming years?
We want to achieve a greater local presence. We recently conducted some internal research and found that 70 per cent of our business was outside of Gloucestershire. We want to focus back locally and continue to create opportunities for our team and for future employment.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we have employed around 20 team members, including apprenticeships which we are extremely proud of.
There are some exciting expansion plans in the pipeline, which we can hopefully share with you soon!