New strategic alliance: Harrington & Evax

Monday, May 1, 2006

LAS VEGAS--Fire panel companies Harrington Signal and Evax Systems shared a booth here at ISC West in April as the result of a new strategic alliance that became official in March.
The alliance, which executives from the two companies called "mutually beneficial," because it merges the manufacturing capabilities of Harrington with the engineering expertise of Evax, was the brainchild of Peter Binkley, owner of Evax.
Binkley said he knew he needed a new game plan last September when, at the ASIS trade show, "Honeywell announced that Gamewell and FCI were merging into one company ... Gamewell was our number one OEM in the U.S. On the merging of those two companies, we knew we would be pushed out of the picture," Binkley said.
Binkley said it was then that he decided to call Roy Carver, owner of Harrington Signal, with a proposition. The two met at the Admirals Club at Chicago's O'Hare airport and sealed a deal where the two companies will work together to develop new products and engineer new solutions.
Under the agreement, Evax (of New Haven, Conn.) and Harrington (of Moline, Ill.) will stay in their current locations, maintain their respective product lines, technical support, sales and marketing teams, and will fully compete in the marketplace as separate entities.
What's new is that Evax has added a new "Fire Solutions Division," where, in partnership with Harrington, it will market its own line of fire panels and devices. The manufacturing of Evax products, previously outsourced, will now be done by Harrington. In return, Evax will do joint engineering and product development with Harrington.
"Harrington has 70-plus years in fire alarm and Evax has 30-plus years in voice evacuation; we think this is a good marriage of all of our resources," said Dick Eisenlauer, director of sales and marketing for Harrington.
"With all of the consolidation in the industry, we wanted to do a strategic alliance to bolster our companies individually and as a group. We both want to stay as small independent manufacturers," Eisenlauer said.
Binkley said his company has experienced yearly growth of 15 to 20 percent over the last seven to eight years and he expects to more than double their current volume within the next two years as a result of the alliance. "We're really expecting strong growth on the fire side because now we're doing complete systems," he said.