For Edwards, investment speaks volumes

SPX Corp. plans $15 million facility for Edwards, with security, fire considered core
Monday, December 1, 2003

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. - Edwards Systems Technology’s parent company SPX Corp. plans to pony up nearly $15 million to build a new research and development and sales office here for its fire and life safety company.

The project comes at a pivotal point for Edwards Systems, which plans to become a total solutions provider in the intelligent building market. It bought access control company IDenticard Systems earlier this year, with prior acquisitions including sound system company Dukane and a building controls business known as Telaire.

For SPX Corp., its security, integrated building and life safety system business is an important aspect of the company. It represents 42 percent of the revenue for technical products and systems business, according to a report from analyst Masroor Siddiqui from Jefferies & Company in New York.

While the project will provide Edwards Systems with a significant amount of additional space, 109,000 square feet compared with 70,000 currently from two separate buildings attached by a walkway, that’s not the only factor driving the new facility.

The location of the building in Lakewood Ranch, one of the country’s largest planned communities with both commercial and residential development on 7,000 acres, is also key.

Steve Hein, vice president of marketing for Edwards Systems, said the new location fosters more of a corporate environment. It also provides a healthy labor pool for the company, and a close proximity to Interstate 75 for its current employees.

The two-story building, when completed in November 2004, will be home to the company’s EST Institute, a training facility that more than 2,000 people attend each year. That will enable Edwards Systems to show customers its various products, not only from its fire business, but also products from IDenticard, Dukane and Telaire, who will maintain their current facilities in other states.

“Many people want to see beyond the product and want to see the capabilities the company has,” said Hein. “They’ll be able to take tours and see first hand what’s behind the scenes.”

More than 170 employees will work at the company’s Lakewood Ranch facility.