It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of Johnny Kendall to Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at DK Security. In addition to his lifelong membership in the DK family, Johnny has been an integral part of our marketing team since 2018 when he joined us as Director of Marketing & Business Development. We are thrilled to have Johnny’s continued leadership as he continues to shape our marketing and business initiatives.
Written by Stephen Corcoran
Reading time: 6 minutes
A Brief History
DK Security was founded in April 1995 by two federal law enforcement professionals – John Kendall and Robert DuHadway – who were looking for a new venture after successful careers in the U.S. Marshals and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), respectively. What began as a small outfit expanded dramatically when DuHadway and Kendall realized the rising need for security guards across industries.
Fittingly, Johnny was born the same year and grew up alongside the company. “My dad would talk about DK at almost every dinner, every day,” he recalled in a recent interview with DK’s Marketing Manager when asked about the family business.
Despite not always being sure he wanted a career in security, Johnny took part in DK’s growth from a young age as a filing assistant and through general exposure to the business. While attending Hope College, he spent his summers working as a Recruiter in DK’s Grand Rapids headquarters. He also enjoyed working the occasional security shift at Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place, and various sites around Grand Rapids. “It’s great to spend time with our guards,” he said. “We have a lot of amazing people at DK so it’s great to be able to work alongside them.”
Deep down, Johnny knew that his dad wanted him to join DK full-time after college, but never pressured him to do so and would support him no matter what. Johnny deeply appreciated the chance to forge his own path, and subsequently developed a passion for marketing at school and through internships. When approached with the opportunity to become Director of Marketing & Business Development by then-COO Sindia Narber and other DK executives, however, Johnny needed little time to consider the possibilities. He mulled it over for a day but excitedly joined DK full-time in the summer of 2018.
“I truly wasn’t thinking about DK in my decision prior to that phone call,” Johnny claimed. But the role aligned well with his career goals and with the breadth of knowledge he already possessed about DK, so the choice was easy in the end. “It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”
“Individually, I’m proud to say that I’ve seen Johnny grow up in the business and really excel in everything he’s ever done for DK Security,” CEO Sindia Narber called to mind in a conversation about Johnny’s promotion. “He is a great example of starting from the bottom, literally – because he did – and working your way up.”
Johnny looks back on several points of pride from his five years as Director, the first being our website. Since 2018, we’ve improved (and continue to develop) the look of the website, added professional video material, and have showcased DK with a better online presence overall. “It’s a great feeling when a client references Google as the reason they found us.”
“To double the amount of security requests we’re receiving since 2019 speaks towards our marketing success with SEO,” Johnny continued. “It speaks towards our continued brand reputation in the community, in Grand Rapids, in Lansing, in Detroit, and even elsewhere.” Resilience through the pandemic from the seat of business development is largely to thank; quality business relationships and tireless staffing by the entire corporate team helped DK make it out of 2020 without major pain points. According to Johnny, 2023 is on track to be our best year ever as a company.
“He has taken this one puzzle piece to our business – marketing and business development – and really he’s developed those departments and taken us to the next level in every aspect,” Sindia added on the topic. “He’s laser-focused on what we need to do to continuously be successful.”
On the matter of promotion to VP of Marketing & Business Development, Johnny says he’ll be focusing heavily on developing strategies to grow our business over the long term. He remains the main point of contact for all security requests and has his sights set on increasingly larger opportunities out there. DK Security has never had a sales department, instead hinging on referrals and organic growth. Today, Johnny leads the charge on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) investment as well as other ways to share our experience with new markets.
The range of services DK offers is another attention-getter for Johnny. “I want to focus my time on the services that benefit DK the most; what we’re best at.” He described security guards as our “bread and butter,” and that it will always be our company’s bedrock. There remains potential for significant growth in our core business, and the door is open to new opportunities and advancements too.
Technology leads the discussion about the future of security, and the head of our business development efforts is tuned into the conversation. Johnny has developed relationships with representatives from RAD (Robotic Assistance Devices), resulting in our now-available suite of robotic security solutions that work alongside traditional human staff.
Johnny’s bottom-line goal is to expand into new markets, elevate our presence in the regions we serve, and continue to offer new solutions. It’s all under the umbrella of diversifying our client base, which promotes natural growth. “Ultimately, the promotion is great but I’m just trying every day to do what’s best for DK.”
In addition to his local ASIS chapter, Johnny is a member of several Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce groups; he’s involved in the Marketing Roundtable, the Family Business Alliance, and graduated from their Leadership Transformed cohort.
As Johnny tells it, these groups are a great way to bounce ideas off others and learn from likeminded professionals (and in the case of FBA, fellow generational business leaders). “I love DK and I want to continue to develop as a leader, as a professional in this space, and am really trying to soak in knowledge from other great leaders in our community.”
Johnny also sits on the board of and heads the marketing committee for Silent Observer of Kent County, a crime-fighting organization that DK has supported for decades.
“I think authenticity is really important as a leader,” Johnny explained when asked about his approach to leadership. He feels the spotlight of being in the family business but maintains that he’s established his own identity as a Kendall while continuing to honor his dad’s legacy. Johnny gives full effort into taking care of those around him, from family to clients, peers to employees; It’s the nature of security, especially for those born into it.
Back in 2021, Johnny was dealt two tragedies in a 4-day span: The passing of both his dad and sister. In the wake of these life-altering events, he credits his faith and support system. “Those were the hardest moments in my life. Growth, pain and grief, and everything. But there was some growth that came from it, some strength that came from it.”
DK Security has seen Johnny Kendall come out of personal and professional adversity as a stronger individual and an authority capable of taking the company’s business and marketing initiatives into a new-look industry. Smart growth plans, a commitment to diverse partnership, and a keen awareness of what the company needs all point to Johnny as the right person to guide DK’s next generation of security leadership.