Specifically Speaking with Chris Fitzgerald

Security designer, Crossey Engineering Ltd. in
 - 
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What's your role at Crossey Engineering?

My business card says, “security designer” but there is a little more to it than that. My role is to consult with clients on low voltage systems. This involves needs assessment, project management of design and contract document production, and scope and schedule management to meet these needs. In addition, business development, value engineering, facilities and systems audits, and cost estimating also take up significant portions of my time.

Our firm, Crossey Engineering, also does inter-disciplinary coordinated mechanical, electrical, and systems work. In our office, we have many mechanical and electrical engineers, and we all work together on large integrated projects, including PPP or “P3” projects.

What kinds of systems do you design or specify? What vertical markets do you work in?

For security, intrusion, integrated security and CCTV: higher education, government, justice and hospital; for AV systems: higher education, government and justice; for IT networks: higher education, government, justice and hospital; and for OSP, OH and UG: municipal and higher education.

What do you like most about your job?

Consulting is a good field for a person who likes to learn new things. Every project is different, and you can see that by looking at the scope and verticals that we work in here at Crossey, our clients can be roughly divided into the following verticals: higher education, government, justice and hospital. For these clients, I provide consulting and design in the following areas: electronic security; AV systems like public address, video teleconferencing, and nurse call; WAN, LAN, and Wi-Fi networks; and 2-way radio repeater networks (DAS).

It’s not just the variety that makes the work interesting, but also how many of these systems operate on the same network, and how they interoperate (and are integrated) with each other.

How did you get your start in security consulting?

I got my start in broadcast installation, and then design of telemetry systems. Broadcast is a great place for a designer to get his or her start. Everybody knows if something malfunctions and the screen goes dark, that that’s a great motivator to really think things through before you pull a plug!

What do you like most about the industry?

These days we are working on several hospital projects, and, apart from the high level of inter-system integration, what I find interesting is the new network-based systems such as identity and access management, virtualization, DC or cloud-based servers for systems, text messaging over LMR, and on and on.

What I think I’ve learned in the process of working through all of these design disciplines is that there is a lot to know. In my experience collaboration with other designers and vendors is the way forward for consultants in such a rich learning environment.

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

Local IP/POE controllers are gaining traction. Also, IAM: CR for printing and transferrable logon; virtualization: headend in DC or cloud; and LMR: text messaging to end-points (P25).