Fortress Armored Services was started in 2009 by Joseph Argilagos as a beta project to handle the liquid capital for a company he was a founder of, and Executive Board member named Viamericas. There were years of poor service from the major companies, and losses which were not paid out in a timely manner. So he saw this deficiency in the industry and went about creating his own armored car service to accommodate the greater Los Angeles area.
In May of 2009 he brought on Scott Gaglio who had just left a position as a Branch manager from a national armored carrier. Scott spent the rest of the year building the foundation of the company, and in January 2010 Fortress was able to put its first armored truck on the road. Fortress decided to utilize armored vans vs the traditional armored truck for a discreet approach to our customers.
This truck went out daily and started to better control the liquid assets of Viamericas in the Los Angeles market. The truck was operated by Scott Gaglio and Cory Edmonson. Cory had about six years of experience in the industry at the time, as an operation manager for a national armored carrier. At first they would pick up and drop off at the designated cash vault each day, then return to work out of the Viamericas office, developing ways to expand the cash management business.
In late 2010 Fortress rented its own office and set up a UL rated alarm system with a TR30 rated safe. The office was set up to meet Lloyd’s of London insurance standard and Fortress was granted 300k worth of premise insurance to store funds on site overnight. Fortress was now able to service locations on weekends and holiday, and now that they had a place to store deposits when the cash vaults and banks were closed.
Fortress Armored felt it had a good model and started to look to expand beyond the Viamericas customers. Additional employees were hired over time and a second armored vehicle was put on the road. Scott’s focus pivoted to business development growth.
The marketing plan was to develop a FLAT RATE billing system to remove confusion from the monthly invoicing. As a branch manager in his previous company, Scott got a lot of calls from customers asking him to explain charges on their bill. In late 2012 Fortress brought on a sales contractor who had 16 years of sales experience in the industry with a national carrier. He felt the flat rate billing was a great idea and helped to bring on new work.
In 2013 Fortress outgrew the office and moved into an open commercial space. A cash room was created with the help of a Lloyd’s of London risk management team. This room housed UL rated TRTL30X6 jewelers safes that are tied into a UL AA rated alarm system. After visiting and doing a walk through exercise for vulnerability, Lloyd’s gave Fortress adequate coverage to start a cash vault operation. Fortress purchased cash processing equipment from Cummins so they would be able to process money at the facility.
Fortress also went to a firm called BCP who was a company that was contracted to maintain the PICs (Cash acceptors/validators at ARCO gas stations) and worked with BCP to train armored staffing on how to service the PICs machines. Now, we could take the cash canisters from the gas stations, and bring them to our facility to process the cash for deposit. The cash was then taken to the bank. Our sales staff was signing up many ARCO franchise dealers and Fortress went and became an authorized Arco vendor.
From this point on Fortress has brought on numerous gas stations, The Queen Mary, and we are a virtual vault for a bank out of New Jersey and for a California business bank . We have gained a great reputation amongst our current clientele, and are continually looking for growth opportunities. We became an authorized dealer of the ArmorSafe Technologies smart safes, and are looking for a banking relationship to offer our customers provisional credit on money entered into the safe. Future growth plans include setting up a bigger facility with a Class II modular vault, and the purchase of more vehicles to expand our service footprint.
To discover more about Fortress Armored’s innovative cash management systems and business development opportunities, call 310.970.9800