Combustioneer adds fire, security units

The electrical contractor says its a natural progression
Friday, March 1, 2002

ROCKVILLE, Md.-Combustioneer Corp., a mechanical and electrical contractor here, has formally launched a new life safety division to more strategically focus on the fire protection and security systems work the 75-year-old company has had a hand in for many years.

With the new division, which now employs about 10 fire alarm testing and design technicians and six field technicians for security, the company expects to sign on a host of new customers, from both its existing customer base as well as other commercial operations in the company's coverage area. From its headquarters in Rockville, Md. and an office in Richmond, Va., the company services greater Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Fredricksburg, Md. areas.

"This was a natural progression from our electrical division," said Pat Bowen, director of sales and marketing for Combustioneer. The company had all the necessary infrastructure in place from its structured wiring operations, he said, and hired division managers from a fire protection company and a security firm to help lead the new division.

While the new security division can outfit a commercial customer with CCTV, card access or other access control system, its in-house work with fire protection encompasses fire alarm testing and system design. Installations are often subcontracted out, Bowen said.

The company's fire, security and telecom divisions fall under what the company calls its Critical Power Group, which handles the fire, security, structured wiring, fiber optics, LAN cabling and other critical environment elements for commercial customers. The company recently completed work on temporary offices for a portion of the Department of Defense after a section of the Pentagon was rendered uninhabitable by a terrorist attack on Sept. 11.

Bowen said it's too early to tell what to expect from the division as far as revenues, but the company itself is on track to do about $45 million, or about 15-18 percent above the company's revenues for 2001.

"Our best success has been with our existing customers," Bowen said. The company has charged each employee with promoting all divisions of the company to each existing customer to take advantage of the relationship already in place, he said.

"The cycle is so much shorter with your existing customers than to go out and get new customers, especially with the new division," he said.

The company also has mechanical systems and a residential HVAC division, as well as building operations and maintenance operations.