According to Roy Sheram, Guardian president and CEO, his company will remain an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary, and there will be no management or employee changes as a result of the transaction. Of the company’s 100 employees nationwide, 15 are located at headquarters at 228 Church St., near the Marietta square.
LMG’s other ignition interlock device businesses include LifeSafer and Monitech. According to Sheram, while each company manufactures interlock devices, all products are complementary and have different functions. The terms of the sale were not made public.
Guardian manufactures and leases the devices, which are slightly larger than a cellphone, that allow an automobile to start only after an alcohol breath-test has been performed by the driver. Nationally, the devices are required by law for DUI offenders who have had two or more offenses in a five-year period. According to Sheram, offenders are required to lease the device and install it on their car for six months to one year.
“We have grown from the original eight locations to 240 locations in 25 states,” said Sheram. “That requires lots of money and resources to create that growth. This (acquisition) allows us to continue that growth and expansion.”
Roy and his father, Joe Sheram, now retired, purchased Guardian in 1991 and moved the corporate headquarters from Cincinnati to Marietta. Sheram owns two buildings on Church Street, but all manufacturing is done in Cocoa, Fla.
Said Sheram, “Our industry is at a point where consolidation is inevitable and it gives us the ability to up our game.”
Georgia law requires a second-time DUI offender’s driving license to be suspended for three years. If the person has been placed on probation for the offense, the license may be reinstated after a 120-day suspension period followed by six months’ use of an ignition interlock device with restricted driving privileges.
For a third or subsequent action, a person’s license is suspended for five years. After two years, that person may be issued a “probationary” driver’s license, with the first six months of restricted driving privileges with the use of an ignition interlock device.
Since July 2004, more than 75,000 devices have been installed in the United States, with Texas leading the states with the most devices installed. According to Guardian’s internal tracking, its devices have prevented 4,931,988 intoxicated drivers from accessing the roadways. The company reports that studies show that re-arrest rates have decreased by 66 percent among individuals who have used the company’s interlock device.
“Guardian’s mission is to keep intoxicated drivers off our roads by providing the technology to help DUI offenders become responsible drivers,” Sheram said.