CARY – Michael Houston and his wife, Jill, have grown their private investigation and security businesses over the years through word-of-mouth and reputation.
They run two agencies from their Cary home. The oldest, Elite Scheduling Services, offers protective chaperone services, primarily for bar and bat mitzvahs and synagogues in the North Shore area. But since 2007, they also operate Accord Protective Services, which offers security services for individuals and their events.
Accord's clients include important individuals and businesses, including several expensive downtown Chicago hotels. It's a client base that Michael Houston said has grown through a reputation of reliable service, and through solid connections cultivated in Chicago-area law enforcement communities.
"Just being recognized as the go-to people as we've slowly grown says a lot," Houston said. "We've rarely advertised. We just started up a website."
Accord, which has about 150 law-enforcement and ex-military professionals on its roster, grew from the Houstons' scheduling service to provide security at parties and private events.
Elite Scheduling is a professional chaperone service, specializing in bar and bat mitzvah events to ensure they stay safe and prevent young adults attending them from getting into trouble. Their decision to branch out and create Accord came six years ago when they discovered that their scheduling service employees are considered by the state to be security and therefore required licensing.
Houston said his lifelong dream was to become a private investigator. He got a taste of law enforcement during a six-year stint, both active and reserve, as an Army military policeman from 1978 to 1984, after which his career path took its present track.
Houston and his wife began working for a private security agency they liked, and stayed on when new ownership took over. When the new owner took the agency in a direction they didn't like, they decided in 2005 to branch out on their own, comfortable with a core clientele they had gained the trust of through years of work.
Elite's clientele now include nine of the largest Jewish temples in the North Shore, and the private security and investigations business with Accord is steadily growing.
Houston said Accord employees are well-known among suburban law enforcement and are seen as equals and professionals who know their boundaries.
"When [police officers] do that, it speaks volumes," Houston said.
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Accord Protective Services Inc. / Elite Scheduling Services Inc.
What: Accord Protective Services offers security services for individuals and their events. Elite Scheduling Services offers protective chaperone services.
Where: 24600 Whispering Wheat Lane, Cary
Information: 847-513-2075, or visit www.accordprotection.com