‘Diversified’ Entec Systems does it all

The Georgia fire company’s customers include prisons, indoor trampoline parks and a six-story indoor golf venue
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SUWANEE, Ga.— Entec Systems, based here, provides fire and life safety protection to a wide range of customers, but a lot of its work recently has been coming from two verticals, one of them new.

“Lately we’ve been doing a lot of correctional work and entertainment venues,” Brent Laws, company president, told Security Systems News.

The recreational entertainment venues are a new vertical for Entec, said Laws, who founded the company, a Gamewell-FCI by Honeywell distributor, 15 years ago.

“Indoor trampoline parks are a big push right now,” he said. The company recently finished work on two trampoline parks—indoor recreation facilities the size of warehouses filled with trampolines—and a third is in progress, Laws said.

Entec is also in the design phase for another recreational entertainment venue called Topgolf. Topgolf is “a premier golf entertainment complex” where people gather to eat, drink and hang out with family and friends while driving golf balls that have micro chips in them to keep track of the score, according to Dallas-based Topgolf’s website.

“It’s a new entertainment platform where they use multilevel buildings. It’s three levels but it’s about six stories tall,” Laws explained to SSN. “It’s a really cool facility.”

Designing the fire and life safety systems for such venues can be challenging. For example, the trampoline facilities can hold about 500 kids “all in one giant gymnasium/warehouse facility, so you definitely have to design the right amount of audible to penetrate all that and the notification to get their attention and get them out,” Laws said. “And you have to interlock with all the sound systems and their existing electronics, so if you do go into a fire mode, you can shut that off so they’re not distracted by other things.”

However, Laws said, “We love it because it’s something different for us.”

Contracts for such trampoline park project can range from $25,000 to $100,000 for a particular project, depending on what work needs doing, he said. Although about 80 percent of Entec’s work is fire related, the company also is a systems integrator so can integrate sound and video systems as needed, Laws said.

Recently the company completed a $450,000 job at a state correctional facility. Entec used Gamewell-FCI S3 and E3 series panels and its FocalPoint graphic workstation for that project which took eight-months to complete.
 
“We had 13 buildings, all networked by fiber and with the FocalPoint wall mount, touchscreen graphic in the control centers, so if anything happens in any pod or dorm or any area of the facility,” officials can immediately know “right down to the cell or right down to the ward, exactly what’s going on,” Laws said.

He said that “fires are a real problem in correctional institutions” because sometimes inmates set them on purpose.

Prison officials, he said, “are extremely happy with [the new system]. They’ve never had anything that was so solid and so user friendly.”

The facility’s previous copper-wired system was routinely prone to being taken out by lightning, he said. “By putting in a fiber network, they’ve had in the past few months just an enormous amount of storms in that area and not once has that system even blinked,” Laws said.

Entec is one of just four companies under contract to provide maintenance services to Georgia’s correctional facilities statewide, Laws said.

He said his company, which has about 15 employees and revenues in the $1 million to $2 million range, stands out because of “old fashioned quality service.”

Entec’s other verticals include educational facilities and it also just completed a project worth more than a $100,000 to install a new fire system in a 600,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that makes commercial refrigerators. “We’re very diversified,” Laws said.

He also noted that Georgia recently updated to the 2013 version of NFPA 72, which “opened the door for IP communicators and single point wireless transmitters to be used for central station monitoring.” Now, he said, “we have a lot of customers that are switching to Internet-based monitoring and also to wireless transmission. So that’s definitely a market trend here is in this state.”