Robin St. Martin founded Iron Horse Security in 1994. However, Iron Horse didn’t start out as the powerhouse it is today. Instead, it was born from humble beginnings. Robin’s first office was so small he had to fit the desk in sideways as the room was not wide enough to sit across the table. From the beginning, St. Martin had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve, and he understood many of the shortcomings of typical security companies.
Having first gained experience as a civilian agent with the Ottawa Carleton Regional Police Service, Robin was able to gain insightful experience few others have seen. Leaving the public sector for the more lucrative private sector Robin took the position of General Manager of a prominent Ottawa Investigation firm. It was during this time that Robin realized the security industry as a whole relied on archaic and technologically outdated strategies.
One of the key issues St. Martin identified was the prevalence of a “thuggish,” militaristic brand identity that simply didn’t appeal to the average customer. From the very beginning, Iron Horse Security took a drastically different approach, focusing on friendly, customer-first strategies. Robin wanted to build a team of security experts who were pleasant to work with and would approach their duties with a positive attitude.
Robin also identified the potential for new, innovative technological solutions in the security industry creating a pilot joint robotics project with The Ottawa University Robotics Laboratory, The Canadian Museum of Science and Technology and of course – Iron Horse Security. This joint venture was born to create an autonomous patrolling robot that could detect changes in atmospheric pressures, thereby detecting break ins or floods. To this day, Iron Horse Security is constantly pushing the envelope, developing modern solutions for modern security issues.
Behind every great Executive is an even greater Team. St. Martin understood the need to build a strong, effective leadership team. A lifelong advocate of teamwork and collaboration, Robin gradually handpicked the best and brightest minds he could find to lead Iron Horse Security to success. As Robin himself is constantly reminding new entrepreneurs, “Surround yourself with good people, and good things will happen.”
Over the years, Robin has surrounded himself with talented individuals with a wide range of skill sets. These include Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Justin Ferns and Adam Smiley, Director of Operations at Iron Horse’s Ottawa Branch. Fraser Cameron serves as Director of Operations at the Toronto branch, which was established as Iron Horse started to expand outside of Ottawa.
In keeping with his “people first” strategies, St. Martin has also focused on matters related to Inclusion and Equity both in and out of the workplace. This was the catalyst in his hiring of Laura Gagnon, who serves as Iron Horse Security’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Laura ensures Iron Horse, and its policies are in keeping with long held First Nations Traditions.
Awards and accolades are often a strong indicator of a company’s true success, and Iron Horse has won more of these honors than any other security company in all of Canada. Man of these are awarded based on independent and unbiased measures, and it’s often the customers themselves who vote on who should receive the accolades. With such a major focus on customer service, it should probably come as no surprise that Iron Horse Security has become the most decorated organization within Canada’s security industry.
Over the years, Iron Horse has won 15 consecutive Consumers Choice Awards, and they have also been listed on the Honor Roll of the Better Business Bureau for 27 years in a row. In addition, the company has been listed ten times in a row on Profit 500’s list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Businesses. Robin himself was nominated by Algonquin College for its Provincial Premiere’s Award as well as personally winning the Forty Under 40.
Because Iron Horse has emerged as “the industry leader”, many new security professionals turn to Iron Horse to receive training, knowing that it adheres to the highest possible standards. Today, Iron Horse maintains its own training academy, helping newcomers to the industry learn the skills they need to truly excel in this exciting field. Those who attend this training academy can enroll in courses for advanced security guard duties, first aid, CGSB Guard training, non-violent intervention, and cultural sensitivity. The very best of those who complete these courses often find themselves working as new employees of Iron Horse Security.
Iron Horse Security has been versatile over the years, adapting to modern problems and providing modern solutions. A key example involved the many new security issues associated with Covid-19. During the pandemic, Iron Horse Security stepped up to provide a range of health-safe services, including temperature screening, access control, PPE, hand sanitization booths, and much more.
Another modern development in Canada has been the legalization of marijuana, Iron Horse Security has quickly outpaced their competitors by becoming the leader in security services that are specific to this unique and challenging industry. Dispensaries and other cannabis retailers face truly unique security challenges, and Iron Horse Security has emerged as a trusted security solution with key knowledge of this emerging industry.
Professional growth has always a mainstay for Robin St. Martin, and even after 27 years, he is always looking for new ways to improve himself and Iron Horse Security. Robin has a thirst for continuing education and executive learning. A member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, A graduate of The Business Development Bank of Canada’s Leadership and Growth Management Program, he has also graduated BDC’s Growth Driver Program, the CENE Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England joint venture program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as attending Executive Training Programs from none other than Harvard University.
St. Martin’s success with Iron Horse Security also serves as a source of inspiration for new entrepreneurs, especially those who are starting out on a shoestring budget. Robin has shown these newcomers that anything is possible – even on a small bank loan of $10,000.