GSC goes with the business flow

Friday, January 1, 2010

FORT WALTON, Fla.--Reinventing its business as the market changes has seen GSC Systems through business cycles for close to 40 years.

"As a rule, businesses probably need to consider reinventing themselves every three years because the longest a business cycle will run is five to six years," said Gene Gibson, CEO and general manager of GSC Systems. "If you aren't making plans [every three years], you'll probably find yourself on the downside of one business cycle and looking up at another," he added.

A systems integrator, which does all low-voltage work, data, voice, life safety, access, video and intrusion, GSC is an 18-person shop and a family business. Gibson's wife, Caralee Gibson, is president and CFO of the company and two of his sons also work in the business.

Depending on what's going on with the economy, GSC has specialized in different areas. In the '70s, he did a lot of government work, in the '80s there was a shift to commercial development, including high-rise buildings.

"You use the same basic skill set to go from government work to the commercial market," he said. In the late '80s and early '90s, GCS did a lot of work in condo developments, resorts, hotels, schools and shopping centers. His focus switched to residential, particularly high-end resi, in the late '90s and early 2000s. As security technology improved and came down in price, "We used the same technology from the commercial market and applied that to the high-end residential market," he said.

Today, GCS is back to doing a lot of government work, and he sees a trend toward the use of mass notification systems, even in smaller buildings.

There are homeland security and code reasons for going with a mass notification system, but there are other reasons as well, Gibson said.

"It's now more economical to use voice evacuation versus an audio-video system ... and it's a far better way of notification." Gibson also sees a trend toward, "not accepting less than current technology ... because it is the most economical in the long run."

What will GCS focus on next? As there is a "continued consolidation of technologies GSC is well positioned to install systems that are integrated as well as standalone but use one low-voltage wiring infrastructure that will integrate everything from the hardware to the software and will cover a multitude of needs including the monitoring and controlling of all physical security points, access control, data and life safety systems for any type of multi-purpose structure or building," Gibson said.