Clarion Security company founder named “Women Business Owner of the Year’

“The founder of a Memphis security guard firm has been named the “Women Business Owner of the Year” by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Kim Heathcott was honored at the association’s four-day meeting in Minneapolis this week for growing her 8-year-old company, Clarion Security, into a $10 million business.

She founded the firm with one employee and no clients in 2009, and now it’s the largest woman-owned business in Memphis with 450 employees.

The national association was founded 42 years ago and has 26 chapters across the nation.

Before founding Clarion, Heathcott worked in financial services, with an emphasis in fraud auditing and control investigations. She served as president in 2013 of the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Woman Owned Businesses.

She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, with a minor in business administration, and received an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Clarion has made a mark in part for the way it treats its employees. For example, concerned that Clarion’s security officers were eating most of their work-time meals out of vending machines, she and her husband, Larry, started providing a free meal to each employee every shift, the Heathcotts told The Commercial Appeal in 2011.

The couple even started attending the earlier Sunday morning church service so employees would not have to wait as long for the lunches, often delivered by the Heathcotts themselves.

Clarion contracted with a nursing company to provide monthly wellness clinics for employees.

For the security guard industry, Clarion has experienced a much lower-than-average turnover rate among employees.”

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