Piper Fire Protection Leader Continues Legacy of Customer Service

Chris Johnson inherited Piper Fire Protection from his father and was co-founder and president for 20 years. 

Priding himself on customer service, his business continues to perform well, even earning a 4.9-star average rating on Google Reviews. His 220-person team’s focus on training and providing exceptional customer service wasn’t going unnoticed. 

Chris Johnson's headshot

Piper began to get phone calls about acquisitions, and after numerous talks with Rich Ennis, CEO and Founder of Fortis Fire & Safety, Johnson became interested in growing Piper to the next level. The company had gotten to a point where it was struggling to expand beyond its two offices, and Johnson was excited to become part of a larger organization and have greater influence across the U.S. 

The Fortis team was frank about the transition process, and Johnson reported having no surprises during the acquisition. 

There were some concerns from his team once the announcement went out, but after some small internal meetings, the enthusiasm began to spread and people were excited for what was around the corner, Johnson said. As time has gone by, the team has settled into it and have noticed that there haven’t been any big changes. We’re doing what we’ve always done. 

“Obviously we’re gonna refine our processes, we’re gonna get better, we’re gonna learn from one another, and it is really fun to be part of that process, for sure,” Johnson added. 

Acquisition Advice 

For fire safety company owners who are considering an acquisition and growing their business, Johnson shared this advice: 

The weeks leading into the acquisition are probably the hardest because you’re sharing what the future holds. It’s normal to not be entirely sure of yourself. “But it is gonna be okay,” he said. “They’re gonna take great care of you.”

It can be a painful process to know that you’re giving up leading your team. But then as you walk through the process, you understand that you’re still leading your team and are still an important part of this bigger organization which is the Fortis Family of Brands, Johnson said. 

Simply letting Ennis and the team know what you as a leader are passionate about and love doing is enough. Leaders selling their businesses to Fortis can choose anything from an operational role, to growing as a industry leader, or simply retirement. 

Ultimately, the sale “gave me a sense of peace and my partners, my father, my family, a sense of peace, knowing that our team would be working for a company that believes all the same things that we do,” Johnson said.