Security fence maker preps for leadership change

Michigan buyer of Smith & Wesson unit will promote two lieutenants, says operations will stay in Franklin

The Detroit company that has signed a deal to buy Smith & Wesson Security Solutions has named a replacement for President Barry Willingham, the two-year company veteran who will leave once the acquisition closes next month.

In a statement, officials at FutureNet Group say Wesley Foss will be president of the company that began life as Universal Safety Response and will shortly take on the FutureNet Security Services brand.

“The real strength of SWSS, and soon to be FNSS, lies in its trained and experienced staff,” said Foss, USR’s first employee in 2002 and now the company’s executive vice president. “The technical capability of our employees serves to fuel the development of new, innovative products and to support our expanding range of services.”

Taking over the EVP role from Foss will be Kenneth Grant, a former U.S. Marine Corps major who joined the company in 2008 and is now its VP of operations.

Willingham, 52, began work at USR in the spring of 2010 as COO. About seven months later, he took over as president from founder Matt Gelfand. Speaking to Monday, Willingham said he was not yet prepared to discuss his future.

FutureNet CEO Perry Mehta, whose company grew revenues from $4 million in 2007 to more than $16 million in 2009, said Smith & Wesson Security Solutions will continue to do business from Franklin, where it leases space in four buildings. Mehta also pointed out that his team has collaborated with Smith & Wesson Security Solutions on $11 million worth of construction projects in recent years, including at Fort Knox in Kentucky and at Florida’s Pensacola Naval Air Station.

“SWSS adds an accomplished Security Solutions company to our existing capabilities that we believe will provide a compelling value to the federal government,” Mehta said. “Our combination of past performance on projects, along with the strengths of our individual companies, should combine to enable FNSS to better serve our federal government and commercial clients.”

Mehta did not return a call Monday for further comment about his plans for what will be FutureNet Security Solutions, which has posted large losses in the past two years as its core government customers have cut spending.