From disaster to opportunity

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

CRANBERRY, Pa. - A flood that struck InterTech Security’s office in Carneige, Pa., has been used as an opportunity to bring together the systems integrator’s sales and staging facilities that were once housed in separate locations.

This month, the company relocated its staging facility from Pittsburgh, where technicians picked up products, to its new office here. InterTech Security’s sales department moved into the office in November.

Ray Ramey, chief executive officer of InterTech Security and cofounder of the four-year old company, expects the change will improve communication between the company’s sales staff and installation technicians.

“We didn’t have enough room to do proper quality control and pre fabrication before projects go in the field,” he said. “And a project team had to rely on written specs from a sales guy. Now they can walk over and talk.”

Officials at InterTech Security had talked about bringing the sales and staging operations under one roof for some time. Company officials were also looking to build a new facility when the flood struck, bringing with it four and one half feet of water from a neighboring creek. The company had to vacate the facility due to unhealthy conditions and moved into temporary offices in nearby Wexford, Pa.

But the flood changed the company’s plans, prompting officials to lease a facility for five years instead of building one from scratch.

“We were out of space at the two locations,” said Chris Wetzel, chief operating officer and cofounder of InterTech Security. “It’s something that needed to happen.”

The new, 11,000 square-foot facility is now home to 56 of InterTech’s 69 employees. The company also operates an office in Gaithersburg, Md. and added its most recent branch in August in Morgantown, W.V.

According to Wetzel, the company has grown considerably in recent years, averaging as much as a 50 percent growth rate. This year the company business is expected to increase 20 percent when compared with 2003 numbers, or to $8.5 million in sales.

Wetzel said the company has diversified in recent years. It began pursuing security projects in the healthcare industry approximately one year ago and also added electrical lock installations to its portfolio.

The company decided to add the mechanical locking service in-house after subcontracting it for years as a way to improve service to its customers. “You might not have the luxury of waiting for someone else to fix it,” said Wetzel.