Natural drive Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Finalist
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Michael Walden’s drive and motivation to succeed started at a young age. In his youth, he was a Golden Gloves boxer and during his years in the U.S. Navy, he was a rescue swimmer and recruit company commander. Ultimately, that drive and motivation to succeed led him later in life, as well, when he founded Walden Security.

When he first started the company, he promised his first customer that he’d do a better job than its current provider and for a lower price. He delivered on that promise, and his company has grown and developed into an industry leader as a result.

Originally, he didn’t have any business expertise or personal assets, so Walden, the company’s president, used his police check to fund payroll. As the company grew, he convinced customers to pay in advance, providing the cash flow to double in size and, ultimately, secure financing.

Over the years, Walden has also embraced technology and was one of the industry’s first to leverage work force management software to streamline operations. Long before being green was popular, he eliminated paper schedules and redundant work. He is also committed to the community: Instead of building a brand-new headquarters like many young companies would be tempted to do, he chose to purchase a historic building in a renewal community in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., and is renovating it for the company’s headquarters.

Although success is important to Walden, he won’t sacrifice the respect of his family, employees and customers for any short-term gain. When he’s faced with difficult situations he lives by a mantra to do what is right. As he looks to the future, he continues to grow his company one customer at a time, without taking on long-term debt and by reinvesting in the company to fund expansion.

How to reach: Walden Security, (800) 846-4350 or www.waldensecurity.com