(800) 567-1180

BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘facilities management’

Federal grant money available for nonprofit, church security enhancement

The waning months of 2019 brought news of a several attacks on churches and religious gatherings, including an attack on a Hanukkah gathering in New Jersey and an active shooter at a church in Texas.  

In the wake of these attacks and others, Congress has appropriated an increased amount of $90 million to fund grants for enhanced security programs and churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofit organizations. President Trump signed the bill into law at the end of January.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program expands access to funds that will enable nonprofit organizations to enhance their security systems using fencing, surveillance cameras, enhanced entry ways, windows, alarms and communications systems, staff and personnel training, and contract security guards.

Applying for a federal grant can be intimidating, but the Department of Homeland Security is hosting a series of free conference calls and webinars to help potential applicants understand more about the grants and the application process. To register, click the webinar title below:

February 20th, 2pm: Protecting Your Organization: The FY2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe (No call-in, webinar audio only through the link).

February 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3914.

March 5th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3915.

March 12th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3916.

March 19th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3917.

March 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3918.

ECT Services also offers security training and complete security system enhancement and servicing, including access control, video and gunshot detection. For a free consultation to review your organization’s current security systems and look for opportunities to enhance your capabilities, call 800 567-1180.

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.

Considering insider threats

What’s the most important integration into every system that we service and/or install?

People.

Every single system must integrate with people in some way. Every integration point opens up a new opportunity for a threat.

This post from Security Magazine really raised my awareness about the nature of insider threats and approaches to mitigating risk. What is an insider threat? It is any act of theft, fraud, sabotage or violence instigated by someone inside an organization. The post outlines several types of insider threats and some tips on how to recognize each:

Unintentional insider threat. This threat isn’t caused by someone acting maliciously; this type of threat is tipped off by someone who is distracted or stressed. They forget or shortcut important steps. To guard against this type of threat, be aware of staff members who are careless with sensitive information, overshare on social media and consistently miss deadlines.

Intellectual property/sensitive data theft. Do you have an associate that “borrows” office materials for home use? Has gotten a poor performance review, missed a promotion or is about to be fired? They may be a risk to steal intellectual property or sensitive data for their own benefit on their way out the door. That sensitive information could end up being used against you by a competitor or other threat.

Insider fraud. Keep an eye out for associates who routinely live beyond their means or are suddenly facing unexpected expenses. They could be at risk of perpetrating insider fraud to benefit themselves and get out of a tight spot.

Sabotage. The office bully isn’t just bad for morale. Bullying is a red flag for sabotage. The saboteur wants to disrupt or even destroy work in an effort to assert their dominance or get revenge for a slight.

Workplace violence. I see the threat of workplace violence as a progression of sabotage. The perpetrator of workplace violence wants to go beyond damaging a piece of equipment or undermining a sale. They want to cause physical harm to those around them, perhaps in an outburst. They share characteristics with saboteurs, but may also threaten violence.

Each of the above threats can be detected and mitigated with team effort. We’d be happy to talk to you about how systems can be integrated to help you detect these threats and others. Give us a call at (800) 567-1180 to consult.

Keeping Halloween safe at your facility

Halloween used to be a strictly neighborhood affair. On October 31, kids raced home after school, donned their costumes, then headed out with sacks in hand for trick or treating.

Today it’s blossomed into a community-wide affair. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, schools, churches and even businesses get in on the fun by hosting festivals or trunk or treat events.

These extracurricular activities are a great way opportunities for community and employee relations, but they do pose some safety risks. Here’s how to mitigate those risks and enjoy your event:

Bring safety to the table. While safety should be everyone’s job, at least one person on your planning team should be tasked with reviewing all plans. Responsibility should include identifying trip and fall hazards, cordoning off equipment and areas that are unsafe for non-employees, and traffic planning.

Get security involved early, too. The planning team should also include a leader tasked with security. Security might focus on how to prevent children or dependent adults and their adult guardians from getting separated from each other, how to handle disruptions and loss prevention.

Change perspective. If you event is planned for outside of your normal operating hours, and in particular for after dark, be sure to do a thorough walk-through in and around your facility at that time of the day. Traffic patterns change considerably throughout the day, and might look quite different during your event than they do during normal operating hours. The parking lot and facility look different, too. Scope out those differences by doing a thorough walk through in advance.

Include contingency plans and safety drills. Guests at your facility won’t know what to do in the event of sudden inclement weather, a fire, or some other emergency. Make sure staff and volunteers are fully prepared to respond. Staff and volunteers should know their responsibilities in an emergency and should be prepared to guide guests to safety.

Review security and access controls. Now is a good time to ensure that your facility’s video and access control systems are performing well. Cameras may need to be adjusted to accommodate different traffic patterns. Access control may need to be modified to lock down certain areas while opening up others. It’s a good time to review the flexibility and configurability of your system.

VR Tenant solves HVAC challenges in historic multi-tenant redesigns

Cincinnati. Louisville. Saint Louis.

What do all of these cities have in common?

They all grew on the banks of mighty rivers. These cities are among the oldest in the United States, and sprang up because rivers are important highways for transporting goods and people.

A portion of The Ohio River

Along these cities, you’ll find massive, historic old warehouses. While some of these buildings are still being used the way the were originally intended, more still are finding new life as office, retail and living spaces. The buildings are being renovated and reimagined in exciting new ways.

For almost all, that means adding in modern requirements while maintaining the original character. In the Ohio Valley, heat and humidity are a significant issue much of the year, and good cooling options are a must.

Contractors are increasingly turning to variable refrigerant (VR) systems as a solution when retrofitting old buildings. Why? These systems don’t require bulky ductwork, saving valuable space in design and construction. Instead of ductwork that moves cooled air, VR systems rely on smaller pipes that move coolant through buildings.

The challenge in multi-tenant arrangements is in determining usage by each tenant. When Hitachi encountered this problem, they turned to ECT Services account manager Mike Fisher for an innovative solution. Within weeks, Mike had created VR Tenant, a solution for monitoring energy usage on a unit by unit basis.

Mike’s solution includes both hardware and software that ties into the variable refrigerant system to gather data and calculate data. A “head end” gathers all data and performs the detailed calculations, and energy measurement devices in each unit of the building measures and monitors usage. Units are determined by the building owner/manager, and the configuration is flexible.

Installation is flexible and fairly simple. Mechanical engineers can install the hardware, and ECT services handles set up and configuration of the software.

If you are renovating a historic building and are considering VRF as a solution, call (800) 567-1180 today for a consultation.

JACE: the ‘conference room’ for building systems integration

Are you getting the most out of your building systems?

If you are not integrating your systems using a JACE controller, or if your JACE controller is not properly configured to take maximize efficiency, you might be missing out on some powerful opportunities to save resources.

A JACE is a control box that pulls together all of your facility’s systems – HVAC, security, electrical and more – and gets them to communicate with each other. Imagine it as a conference room with all the key stakeholders at the table. The JACE gives these key “stakeholders” a place to get together and an agenda to follow.

Keeping the conference room image in mind, here’s what ECT Services can do:

Set up your “conference room.” If you don’t have a JACE controller set up, we can do that for you. That doesn’t mean installing a new HVAC or other building system; a JACE controller works with your existing systems. If you already have a JACE set up, we can work with that, too.

Get all the “key stakeholders” to the table. ECT Services can bring all of your building systems into the JACE controller and get them connected. Getting the systems to the table and getting them to talk to one another is key – most systems are programmable and can be automated or controlled remotely, but the real power comes from getting systems to talk to one another. Just as with human interaction, communication is key. We can help you review all of the tools you use to run your business and determine which systems must talk to one another to accomplish your goals.

We help you “set the agenda” get all the key stakeholders engaged to accomplish it. Once systems are all in one place and have a way to talk to one another, we tune them for maximum efficiency to your specifications. We help you establish key performance indicators that will help you determine whether or not building systems are meeting your goals.

Need help getting all your systems fully integrated? Call us for a consultation today at (800) 567-1180.