Fire at Voxcom headquarters has positive outcome

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Saturday, May 1, 2004

EDMONTON, Alberta - It’s not often a disaster turns into a positive situation. But for Voxcom, a provider of security services throughout Canada, a fire that ripped through the company’s headquarters last summer did just that.

The fire, which broke out the evening of July 21,2003, at the company’s headquarters, left substantial damage to the building. The fire, smoke and water damage, which has not been monetarily determined, left the building in need of extensive repair to its walls and ceilings.

Instead of patching up and moving on, Voxcom’s management made decisions to not only fix, but improve.

“This was an opportunity to renovate so we took full advantage of that and were able to fine tune the little things that you might not invest resources to change,” said Eric Hansen, national manager of marketing and communications at Voxcom.

Some of the improvements included spacious lunchrooms, extra washrooms, anti-glare lighting and ergonomic features to office spaces - all things that Voxcom’s 230 employees had requested.

“We want to take very good care of our staff,” Hansen said. “We actually surveyed our staff on what they wanted.”

It was because of the staff during the fire and subsequent renovations, that the company ran as if it were business as usual.

“One of the things we kept looking at that became really obvious with having a fire was that at Voxcom, it’s not about the building, it’s about the people,” Hansen said.

Approximately 30 employees were relocated to the company’s fully redundant backup center within 14 minutes of the fire evacuation. The rest of the workforce was relocated to interim offices nearby.

“From a customer’s perspective, we didn’t miss any signals,” said Hansen.

Despite the fire and the damages to the headquarters, Hansen noted that the experience was positive rather than negative for the company.

“It was quite amazing to be able to see a company wake up the next day and go work,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about not missing a beat and our staff was terrific.”