Firetrol ready to rebuild in New Orleans
RIVER RIDGE, La.--Having opened its eighth district office here, just outside of the city of New Orleans, Firetrol executives say the company is poised to take advantage of a surge in business it expects in the Gulf coast area.
"We think there's a lot of potential for growth in New Orleans. Right now the focus of the reconstruction is residential, but in the next year-and-a-half there will be a large increase in commercial business," said John White, president of Firetrol.
Firetrol has more than 300 employees. It designs, installs, inspects, repairs and services fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipes, pumps, specialized fire suppression systems and extinguishers for commercial customers, with a focus on industrial and property-management applications.
The new New Orleans office has nine employees and is headed up by district general manager Dan Hurd, a 25-year veteran of the fire business, whom Firetrol talked into coming out of retirement to run the office.
"The Gulf Coast has the need in the construction industry for companies with qualified people to help in the recovery," Hurd said.
With his contacts in the industry, Hurd has been able to staff his office with "experienced installation, sales and administrative people," several of whom he'd worked with at different companies in the past. "We're just digging in from the ground level. We have eight people now. As the business increases so will the personnel."
Firetrol is headquarted in Dallas and has district offices in Denver, Salt Lake City, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas. It has four branch offices, three in Texas--Lubbock, Waco and Tyler--and one in Sulfur, La.
Thanks to investment from its parent company, Consolidated Fire Protection, of Irvine, Calif., Firetrol has been in growth mode for three years now (see "Firetrol expands into Arizona," in the August 2006 issue of Security Systems News). White said the company has a couple larger Southwestern acquisitions in various stages of negotiation, including one in due diligence. It also this fall acquired the assets of a small fire extinguisher company, Area Wide Safety, of Abilene, Texas. Terms were not released, but White said the company did about $400,000 annually in extinguisher and inspection work.
The two former owners, Harry Burnett and Robert Burnett, will join Firetrol and report to the Lubbock office.