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James W Tomes

President & CEO
Telgian Holdings, Inc.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Founded: 1985
Industry: Asset Protection

The ability to evolve is key to business survival. It’s how James W. Tomes, the second-generation leader of Telgian Holdings Inc., has grown his family company and kept it at the forefront of the fire safety industry. Part of that evolution is listening to the next generation, he said.

“I think it is imperative to remain relevant to today’s youth,” the Telgian President and CEO said. “One does not need to necessarily agree nor like their tastes, but you must be aware of what they are. They are your current and future associates and customers. Where you find common ground embrace it, and open your mind to trends whether it is music, movies or work habits. A good leader learns to adapt to larger trends and positions their organization to succeed for the long run.”

Telgian is a single-source solution for fire protection, life safety and security services. It provides solutions to reduce exposure to loss from fire and other disasters.

Telgian offers C-suite risk management guidance and can take a building project from site evaluation through design, to engineering and construction, and can also perform ongoing inspections and maintenance for the life of a facility. The company services approximately 50,000 locations annually.

Telgian was founded by William Tomes in 1985 as Tomes and Associates and later renamed Telgian.

A former fire marshal, William Tomes envisioned a company that would help businesses follow building and fire codes cost-effectively. James W. Tomes, son of the Founder, joined the firm in 1990. He has held a series of executive positions of increasing responsibility that include Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. He took over as CEO in 1999.

Under his leadership, the company has grown from a modest firm providing a handful of code consulting services to a respected industry leader across the U.S. and around the globe. One example of Telgian’s growth is in big-box retailers. Telgian recognized early on the importance of the emergence of these megastores and focused on those specific locations. Telgian soon became the industry leader for the full-scale fire testing programs for these facilities, and today most of the big-box retailers across North America are Telgian customers.

Telgian remains family-owned but has built a worldwide brand, and it plans to continue to expand its global reach without surrendering its independence. The company envisions sensible growth of 10% to 20% per year. Telgian has developed a state-of-the-art fire safety lab and training facility that is recognized as one of the best in the industry. In the next five years, this facility will grow in sophistication and importance for training purposes.

“Because Tomes has empowered others to lead, and more importantly, to take risks, Telgian has grown into a global company that punches far above its weight,” his team said. “Tomes understands that success is the result of the hard work and dedication put forth by each associate.”

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Honoree Fun fact

An avid sportsman, James Tomes has narrowly escaped being struck by lightening on seven different occasions.

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