(800) 567-1180

BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘ECT Services’

13 lucky years – celebrating a retirement & amazing team member

Of course, everyone on our team is an important piece of what makes us us. From the time you call our main line to talking to our salespeople, working alongside our designers and coordinating with our service team and yes, even working with our billing department, we are proud of each and every person who has a seat at our table.

So when one of our valued team members decides it’s her turn to retire, we don’t take it lightly.

Ann Bemiss was our longtime Director of Finance. After 13 years at her desk, she’s off to spend time with her family, maybe find some much-needed rest and relaxation, and perhaps someday get to travel the world. To honor her, we decorated her office with retirement signs.

We would like to thank one of our favorite local restaurants, Le Moo, for hosting so nicely (and safely… there is STILL a pandemic going on) for this celebration of sharing 13 years of memories and stories with Ann.

I was asked to say a few words about Ann. I could have gone on and one but was politely asked to keep it short so we could continue enjoying time spent around the dinner table. How does one describe 13 years of service in a few words?

  1. Loyalty
  2. Integrity
  3. Serving
  4. Caring
  5. Trust

That’s how.  I knew the first month after I purchased the business Ann was going to be awesome.  She seemed to care more about our Team and our resources (money) than anyone else!

What a great legacy she is leaving.

She has left an indelible mark on ECT Services that will serve us well for years to come.

Dear Ann, enjoy it all. We’ll miss you!

How to move forward after the loss of a teammate

We typically use this space to talk about technology, trends and products related to our field and the industries of our customers who are mostly building and facilities managers across the country. Today, we’re getting a bit personal in hopes that if your team ever finds itself in a similar situation, our experience can help.

Last week, one of our fellow teammates, Jeff, passed away suddenly. Our shock and grief was immense. As the CEO, I needed to find a balance between grief (both my own and my team’s) and the need to keep business running as our customers would expect. This was no easy task, but here are the steps we took and the advice I’d give another company in this situation:

First, acknowledge the loss.

  1. Several of our Team attended the funeral home visitation and met Jeff’s family and his friends.  We made a point during this visit to meet his only son and share our condolences.
  2. A few members of our Team attended the funeral.  This allowed them to realize closure and provide support to the family.
  3. We sent a meaningful gift to the family in memory of Jeff.  We send wind chimes, because it can be a beautiful reminder of the person to the family and lasts a lifetime.

Do not make a “shrine” of his office space.

  1. While it is tempting to keep his office space unused for a period of time, it is important to fill the office space with another new Team Member.
  2. If this does not occur in a timely manner, it can lengthen the grieving process and create a shrine effect where no one should be able to use the space and once it is filled again, there are hurt feelings over using the shrined space for another person.

Talk with Your Team about the Team Member

  1. Ask questions about how they feel.
  2. Reminisce stories and good memories of working together.
  3. By doing this, we make it okay for them to talk about it.
  4. Death is real and part of life and we need to have a healthy respect for the person gone.  Talking about it helps – and knowing we are truly going through this together brings comfort.

Provide Access to Grief Counseling

  1. Our Team Members worked side by side with Jeff and got to know him on a different level.
  2. The Team may struggle making it through all the steps of grieving and providing an anonymous outside support method may be helpful.
  3. Also, Jeff was mis-diagnosed, as possibly having COVID, in the beginning stages of his issues, and many believe he would be alive if they would have performed more tests.  This has created a lot of anger.

Continue to Focus on What We Do

  1. We are actively hiring additional Team Members.
  2. We are actively winning additional work and taking care of customers.  This helps in focusing on what we do and do well.

Recognize you and your team are grieving. Give time and space for that to happen, but also recognize there is work to be done and customers expect services to still be in place.

I hope these thoughts help your team, should you ever find yourself in this type of situation. I’ll be honest, I think I found it helpful to write all of this down in the hopes someone else could use it.

ECT is still here for your building needs through COVID19

Here at ECT, like all companies, we are paying close attention to the CDC recommendations as well as the Governor of Kentucky’s rules and regulations as we continue to move through this pandemic.

Our business is still open, though we’ve made necessary updates to our workflow.

For employee safety, when we are interacting with our own team, we are giving space, staying 6 feet apart. 

For some of our customers, their everyday rules and regulations mandate we must have two people on any part of a job at any time, for safety and liability. We are following this rule and staying apart from each other as best we can.

Our team is using latex gloves on all projects, and, of course, is not shaking hands.

A lot of what we are doing right now is servicing buildings while they are closed. We follow all guidelines set forth by those buildings. We have several projects for JCPS we are working on now, while there are no people in the buildings and this will insure that when school reopens, all systems are “go.” We’re doing all scheduled service calls, checking systems and updating where necessary. Rest assured, we use disinfectant on all devices before and after touching them. Because we are dealing with biometrics in many cases (such as fingerprints) we are especially careful.

We view all of this as necessary work, and safer while there are no students or employees in these buildings. We want to keep our customers up and running. 

Most interaction with our customers has gone virtual and we are happy to meet via video chat with any facilities managers out there having issues. You want to be sure your HVAC and security systems are running as they should, protecting your building and company from all sides.

If you need sales or service, our people are remote and available. For more information:

For sales, please call (800) 567-1180 or email sales@ectservices.com

For service, please call (800) 567-1180 or email service@ectservices.com

Stay healthy, everyone!

John Arnold promoted to VP Security Operations

As ECT Services continues to grow as a trusted building integration services partner nationally, we’re pleased to announce the appointment of John Arnold as our vice president of Security Operations.

The newly created role will continue to expand the reach of ECT Services capabilities across the country.

“One of the things the position represents is the growth in that division that ECT has experienced over the past few years,” says Jeff Murphy, president of ECT Services.

Arnold joined ECT Services in 2011 as an account manager focusing on commercial and industrial security integration design and sales. His areas of expertise include access control, IP video and intrusion detection and alerting.

He quickly progressed to project management, where he led security project planning, procurement, staffing and execution for dozens of projects annual that ranged in size from a few thousand dollars to more than a million dollars invested.

“He has demonstrated a consistent ability to build, develop and lead the Security Operations Team with excellence and grow the business through building valuable relationships with our customers and vendors,” adds Murphy.

Arnold’s skill is rooted in his deep experience in a variety of contexts across the security industry. Over the past 20 years, Arnold has built his expertise through roles leading security efforts for retailers as well as managing service operations and installations for vendors. As a result, more than 91 percent of the hundreds of projects he has led have been delivered on time and under budget.

Arnold’s path to leadership with ECT Services also enables him to understand the business and customer needs end to end – from sales through installation and service – and also opens up a path for others to advance and deepen their skills.

The “build from within” culture that ECT Services has fostered for more than 30 years means customers know they can rely on consistent team of experts to partner with them.

To learn more about how you can partner with ECT Services, call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Knowing when to DIY vs. outsource service

There’s never been an easier time to do it yourself.

Need to troubleshoot an error? Google will lead you to a customer care community where experts and customers share their knowledge and recommend a fix.

Need to see troubleshooting and repairs in action? There’s probably a YouTube video or three that will walk you through step by step. Many suppliers and service companies create and post videos, and customers do, too, so you can get a good look at official guidance and how things might look and feel in an actual installed situation.

Need to order a part? Amazon has just about everything you could possibly imagine, and if they don’t have the part, the manufacturer probably does.

Between communities and YouTube and Amazon, customers are empowered more than ever to solve their own problems when it comes to maintaining and repairing building systems.

But when should facility and property managers seek out professional services to keep their systems running smoothly?

  • When equipment is under warranty.
  • Servicing yourself or using third party parts could void warranties.
  • If equipment or systems are still under warranty, it might be best to call in a qualified service for support.

When systems are complex and integrated. Installers should provide you with detailed documentation that helps you understand exactly how systems are installed and integrated. But if you don’t have such a roadmap, or if the systems are complex beyond your comfort level, it may be best to call in a professional service for backup. Professional support doesn’t have to mean they take over the maintenance or repair; it may mean they answer questions and even provide you with training so you can service equipment or systems yourself. They best professional support empowers you.

When multiple parts or repairs are needed. Professionals can help you map your approach to tackling repairs and parts replacement. They can help you understand how parts work together, and how processes should be staged and order. They can also offer guidance on trustworthy, reliable manufacturers. What could be worse than putting in the resources and effort to make a repair, only to have a part fail?

Service and support are key parts of the value ECT Services brings to our customers. We believe in investing in our relationships with our customers and empowering them to drive decisions when it comes to maintaining their integrated systems.

Do you have a service need? Are you trying to figure out how to get the best out of your integrated building systems? Call us today for a consultation.

TEAM SPOTLIGHT: Jeff Stivers

Who keeps your integrated building solutions running smoothly? That would be Jeff Stivers, one of our newest service technicians.

John joined our team earlier this year and has enjoyed his first six months as part of the team serving our clients across the region. His favorite part about the ECT Services team is feeling like he is part of one big family.

His first job felt much the same way, because he literally was a member of the family! His first job was on the family farm. Maybe that’s why he prefers cattle to cats or dogs. When he’s not working, you’ll find him hovering around his smokehouse, firing up the smoker with a beef brisket inside.

We’re glad to have Jeff as a part of the team, and a part of our family, too.

TEAM SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Janney

Every organization needs a nerve center that knows what’s going on and who is doing what. For ECT Services, that’s Jennifer Janney. Jennifer is responsible for coordinating services and billing. She joined the team recently, but in just one month has quickly become part of our family.

Jennifer, pictured right, with her “surrogate mom,” a major influencer in her life, and the woman who her mother says made Jennifer a better daughter.

 Jennifer might be new to the ECT Services team, but she’s not new to service. She has more than 40 years of experience in serving customers.

Jennifer brings with her an understanding of how powerful a “personal touch” is in creating a lasting impression. Her favorite birthday gift isn’t jewelry or some other expensive bauble. It’s a framed photograph of herself, her daughter and her dearest friend sharing a moment at a significant historic event. The photo carries a special personal inscription on the back. While the photo may not be significant or meaningful to someone else, the personal connection makes it significant and meaningful to Jennifer.

She understands the importance of nurturing meaningful connections and appreciating what’s valuable from the customer’s point of view. We’re delighted to have her on our team, and as part of our family.

Looking to the moon for innovation inspiration

Fifty years ago this month, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Putting a man on the moon stands out as one of the most audacious acts of achievement ever attempted by humans. The moon landing was the pinnacle of a period of amazing innovation. America’s space program inspired generations to dream big, take risks and innovate new ways to solve problems.

But while the moon landing was a fantastic success, it was built on previous failures and challenges. Innovation happens when there’s a problem to be solved.

The successful mission of Apollo 11 was preceded by a nearly endless string of challenges, ranging from engineering problems to be solved to budget pressures to competition from the Soviet Union. The greatest failure of all was the loss of the entire Apollo 1 crew in a cabin fire during testing for that mission.

After that disastrous mission, the American space program could have folded. Leaders might have retreated, concluding that the goal was out of reach or too risky. But they instead persevered, deciding that “failure is not an option.”

Innovation is one of our greatest strengths at ECT Services. Here’s how we approach innovation:

  1. Keep the customer first. Customers trust us to help them solve problems because we’ve invested in building genuine relationships with them.

  2. Know the tools you have at your disposal. In an iconic scene from the movie Apollo 13, the mission control team on the ground scrambles to figure out a way to fix the air ventilation system on the space capsule when the ship becomes disabled tens of thousands of miles into space. One of the engineers dumps a seemingly random pile of objects onto a table before his team. The objects represent all the resources astronauts have aboard their disabled ship. The engineer sets forth the challenge: “We have to find a way to make this fit into the hole for this, using nothing but that.”

    The engineers set to work, and come up with an epic kludge that includes the cover off the flight manual. The contraption works, and the astronauts are saved.

    Innovation begins with the resources at hand. Our VR Tenant solution is a great example of innovation that started with a deep understanding of the equipment at hand and how it works.

  3. Stay focused on the goal. President John F. Kennedy set forth a clear, compelling goal: Get a man to the moon, and bring him back safely. The goals for our customers are different – achieve greater efficiency, keep this building secure – but they are just as important to our customers, and to us. It may not be landing on the moon, but it matters greatly to a child waiting at home that their parent returns safely from work each day. It matters greatly that we leave behind a cleaner planet because we helped maximize a facility’s energy efficiency. It matters greatly that works of art are preserved for posterity because we created a system that carefully controls their climate.

Need a strong partner to help you overcome a challenge and reach a goal? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

How secure are the entrances to your facility?

It might seem fundamental, but controlling access to doorways into and through your facility might just be the most important security decision you make. Doors are the primary way people and goods move through your building, and the ability to control when, where and how people move through doorways is key to security.

How have you chosen to secure the doors in and through your facility? Let’s review some basic tools:

Keycard access.

Physical keys. Humans have been securing doorways with rudimentary pins and locks since the technology first emerged in ancient Mesopotamia around 4,000 years ago. Physical keys are simple and reliable; you must have the correct key to fit into a correct lock to gain entry.

Some of the problems with keys are as old as the technology itself. Keys can be lost, leading to costly replacement of both locks and keys. Keys can also be duplicated fairly inexpensively, making it easy for access to quickly become uncontrolled.

Other problems are fairly new. Keys don’t enable any level of sophisticated tracking, which is a feature we’ve come to expect in the modern world. They don’t reveal exactly who operated the key, when they accessed the door, or when they left. They only allow a door to be locked and unlocked.

Even so, a traditional key and lock may be an adequate solution for doors which require some access control but don’t require a great deal of sophistication.

Keypads. Keypads work much the same as a physical lock and key, but rather than require a physical key to open the user must enter the correct code to gain entry. Codes can be shared among many users, making it simple to allow access to a number of people. Codes can also be changed regularly, maintaining some level of access control without the expense of changing locks and keys.

These same features can also be a drawback. Codes can be distributed too widely, allowing access to the wrong people. Changing codes can cause people who should have access to suddenly not have access.

Much as with traditional locks and keys, keypads don’t necessarily track who has entered and exited a doorway.

Even with the limitations noted, keypads may be an adequate solution for areas that don’t require a significant level of security but do require broad access.

Keycards. Keycards step up the sophistication considerably and solve a number of challenges posed by traditional and keypad locks. Users present a unique keycard before a reader at the door way. The reader scans the information encoded in the card and verifies whether or not the holder of the card should be allowed access.

Keycards tighten access considerably and are easily activated and deactivated without disruption to other keycard users. Keycard systems also enable sophisticated tracking, allowing managers to gain valuable insights into how people move through a facility.

Biometric access. Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition take security to an even higher level, and overcome some of the challenges posed by loss, theft or damage of other access control systems.

These options represent a broad range of solutions available to secure doorways. Options are available along every price point and need, and systems can be integrated and customized to fit your use case perfectly. Need help navigating your way through access control options? We have decades of experience and a expertise in the latest, most innovative products. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

What have we learned since Sandy Hook?

Last week marked the six-year anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults.

There were school shootings before the Sandy Hook event, and there have been school shootings after. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group formed in the wake of Sandy Hook, there have been 89 incidents involving gun fire at schools in the last year alone. But Sandy Hook represents a cultural touchstone in some sense, and is often cited in debates over how to solve the problem of mass shootings.

But what lessons have we learned since Sandy Hook?

Campus Safety Magazine identifies seven lessons from Sandy Hook. Among the most striking is the necessity to act quickly in the event of an active shooter situation.

Quickly implementing lockdown procedures undoubtedly saved the lives of many at Sandy Hook. Twenty of the victims where killed in or near two unlocked rooms. In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. last year, 22 people were shot in the first 69 seconds of the incident. Speed is crucial, yet difficult to achieve in high-stress situations.

In crisis simulation exercises conducted by Campus Safety Magazine, school personnel miscalculated the time they would have to lock the door. It took between 30 and 40 seconds to find keys and lock doors in many cases, and up to a minute in others.

Part of the delay may be attributable to being able to quickly and accurately assess the threat.

Shot detection systems like Guardian remove the uncertainty and reduce time to act by automatically and accurately detecting gunfire and initiating response. Guardian uses acoustic and infrared sensors to detect gunfire. Guardian can integrate with systems to automatically lock doors the moment a shot is detected. That quick action can limit a shooter’s movement, and also limit the movements of potential targets, keeping them out of harm’s way.

Guardian can also be integrated with other systems, such as communication systems, to immediately alert authorities, staff and other key stakeholders the second a shot is detected.

Schools are recognizing the value of Guardian. For instance, schools in independent districts across Texas have chosen to install Guardian as part of a comprehensive school safety approach aimed at “hardening” schools unobtrusively.

Interested in learning more? Sign up here for our next Live Fire demonstration.