The company was founded in 1959 in Cincinnati by Ray Dennis, a P.E. from the University of Cincinnati’s Engineering College. Ray designed and sold engineered fire suppression systems for clients such as AK Steel and Ford. In 1973 Ray sold his six employee business to Silco, owned by the Fraser family.Fire extinguishers soon became a large portion of Silco’s business as OSHA mandated their presence in the workplace. Lines of business expanded into commercial cooking fire protection systems and fire alarms. Sprinkler and fire pump services would follow.
Over time Silco evolved into a single source fire protection provider. By 1979 Jim Fraser assumed sole ownership of the company. Silco expanded periodically by opening locations in Dayton (1989), Columbus (1994), Akron (2002), and Cleveland (2014).Silco also added security to its list of products and services. Security is currently the most rapidly growing aspect of the company. The Security business includes security systems, monitoring, keyless card access, video surveillance, intercom, and nurse call.
Dave Fraser and Dave’s brother-in-law Chris Leonidas joined Silco in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Dave grew up in the business working summers in high school and college and is an engineering graduate from Lehigh University. Chris graduated from Boston University in three years. Each brought several years of full time outside work experience to Silco. Dave was promoted to President of Silco five years later in 2013, likewise Chris to Vice President. The company has doubled in size since Dave and Chris joined the company 7 years ago. Jim Fraser, after 33 years as President, now serves as Chairman.
Of Silco’s 170 employees, 23 have been with the Company between 20 and 35 years. Another 27 have 10 to 20 years seniority. Key employees at Silco have been in industry leadership positions: (1) Ken May as president of the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED), and (2) Dan Gurich as president of the Ohio Chapter of the Electronic Security Association (ESA).
The Company credits its progress over the years primarily to three key items: (1) the expertise and tenure of its workforce, (2) its obsession with providing prompt quality service, (3) the consistent reinvestment of its earnings back into the business.