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Governor visits, hears of growth at MSSI

One visitor mused that it is such a low-key business, many Irontonians may not even know it exists.

But Modular Security Systems, Inc., on North Second Street, is such a success story — especially when viewed against the ravages of the recession — that it garnered a visit Wednesday from Gov. Ted Strickland.

MSSI makes portable security units, called modular access control portals (MAC) that can be set up relatively quickly, cost less than traditional security buildings and can be moved when no longer needed.

They have floor to ceiling turnstyles to control coming and going and can be fitted with sophisticated computer systems, iris scans and other state-of-the-art security features that are necessities in the post 9/11 era.

These components can even be fitted with running water for mobile showers and restroom facilities.

MSSI’s client list is a who’s who of companies on the international stage: Halliburton, Flour, Bechtel, Northrop Grumman and even Uncle Sam.

Their systems are in chemical, oil and nuclear plants and construction sites around the world. MSSI is handling security at the World Trade Center construction site.

“Here, from Ironton, we are protecting the most high profile security site in the world,” said Steve Shelton, who handles domestic business development for the company.

Shelton said in the six years since the company came into existence, it has grown steadily and markedly each year.

MSSI saw 100 percent growth its first year, 200 percent from last year to this year even in spite of the recession. In those six years, MSSI has created 56 jobs.

“If you’re looking for a bright spot, looking for growth in this area, you’re not going to beat this company,” Shelton told Strickland and U.S. Sixth District Congressman Charlie Wilson, who also attended the presentation at MSSI.

Shelton said continued expansion is projected next year when MSSI rolls out its rental unit program.

MSSI co-president Rob Slagel estimated that MSSI contributes $5 million a year in spinoff income in the community.

In creating its niche, MSSI also created a real corner on the market.

“Turnstyles in shipping containers, that’s ours,” Shelton said.

Slagel said most of MSSI’s advertising is done via the Internet — the site gets about 80 hits a day; half of them are from American entities, the other half are from entities outside the U.S.

Thanks to the Internet, MSSI can compete on the international stage and have a presence anywhere in the world and still remain an Ironton business, locally owned and operated, employing local people.

“Because we can market globally we can have an office anywhere and southern Ohio is a pretty darn nice place to live,” Slagel said.