Who We Are

Origin Story

In 1989, Jim O’Neill was a detective with the NYPD’s Manhattan Robbery Squad. Jim had always wanted to become a cop. He’d taken the NYPD entrance exam at 17 and entered the force as soon as they would let him, just after he’d turned 20. Jim was promoted to detective at 25 and was one of the youngest detectives on the force. In 1989 he was assigned a case involving a series of on-going armed robberies of supermarkets. The crimes were being committed throughout Manhattan—from the Financial District all the way up to Inwood. The news coverage of these violent robberies intensified public pressure to catch the criminals responsible. Following weeks of focused investigation, O’Neil’s unit caught a suspect, who gave up two more, solving the mystery behind the violent attacks. The Facilities Manager for A&P and Food Emporium played a pivotal role in providing Jim with supermarket employees for line-up identifications and courthouse testimony.

Having kept in touch, just a few months later, the same manager contacted Jim with an opportunity to oversee security on a few supermarkets while they underwent construction. Though, as a dedicated career detective, this wasn’t in Jim’s original plan, he gathered up a few colleagues he’d worked with on a narcotics case earlier that year, drafted an invoice on the division typewriter, and just like that a new business was born. 

Starting off with one job, O’Neil would quickly land another, and another. Before he knew it, his security business was in full swing, but he didn’t stop there. One night, while checking in at a property, Jim saw the building’s maintenance staff packing up and heading home, a site that inspired an idea for an expansion of services. While inexperienced with maintenance, Jim wasn’t going to let that stop him from pursuing what he recognized as an opportunity to capitalize on his existing presence in the space. He figured, “We’re already here, we might as well take care of the building’s maintenance as well,” and so the next branch of his business was born.

When he was 30, Jim sustained an injury on the job and retired from the NYPD. This wasn’t what he had anticipated, but his security and maintenance business was going strong, so one “retirement” meant he’d have more time to dedicate to his burgeoning career as a business owner. 

Today Jim runs OneService as a family company, working with his three sons. The learning curve from NYPD detective to business owner was steep, but the drive and attention to detail he harnessed as a detective with the NYPD were skills he carried and utilized when developing OneService into the thriving business it is today. Even, retrospectively, knowing the difficulties he’d endure on his journey to running a business, O’Neil says he’d do it all again if he had to. The relationships he’s built with customers—many of whom have become lifelong friends—have proven invaluable, and sharing this work with his family brings Jim enormous satisfaction. His favorite thing about the business is having the opportunity to be working with his sons.

OneService is a true family business: built with hard work and dedication, run with passion and integrity.