Since its merger with Infrastruct Security announced in May, Oklahoma City-based systems integrator Dowley Inc. is well-positioned for growth in the critical infrastructure security market. Dowley president Jerick Henley, who has now become president of Infrastruct’s western region, talked to SDM about plans for the new company, which will operate under the Infrastruct name.
SDM: What motivated your merger with Infrastruct?
Henley: Dowley has been the market leader in integrated systems in the state of Oklahoma for the last 10 years. We wanted to quickly expand and wanted to find a partner with the same goal and approach toward the customer that we had. We have three divisions focused by product â€” including security, life safety and voice and data â€” and Infrastruct had exactly the same makeup. We had offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Phoenix, and Infrastruct had offices in Houston and Baton Rouge.
SDM: What percentage of your business do you get from each of your three business areas, and what are the growth trends in each area?
Henley: Security represents about 70 percent of what we do, and often it involves pulling cable for other systems. Stand-alone voice and data is about 15 percent of our business, and life safety, or fire, is about 15 percent. Infrastruct’s percentages are similar.
The fire business is growing rapidly because of our command center. We can provide first responder monitoring, and we can do video verification of fire. We have a customer that has 150 properties nationwide. When we dispatch the fire department, the first thing the owner wants to know is what’s really happening. Through video verification, we can go in and give him an immediate response, such as, “We do not see smoke or heat.”
Our security business has the greatest upside. Our focus is on critical infrastructure â€” organizations that provide regulated services that are essential to the U.S. The big three for us are petrochemicals, health care and banking and finance. We see great opportunity there because we have a product offering that fits. We’ve partnered with 3VR to offer video verification and analysis. Their system allows us to have video analytics all the way to facial recognition. That also takes us beyond security because it can be used as a management tool.
A great amount of money will be spent on security by organizations that the Department of Homeland Security has identified as critical infrastructure. We have a leg up because of our products and knowledge and the match with our command center offering.
SDM: What is special about your command center?
Henley: For customers that have their own internal command center, we offer a level of redundant backup. We monitor them at our own location but also have a partnership with Acadian Ambulance in Lafayette, La., where our command center is fully mirrored with theirs in real time. If you were to have a disaster take out our command center, we don’t have to take the information that’s on a tape and move to Houston with it. What the industry found during Hurricane Katrina was that the real disaster was trying to get out with all the traffic. Companies were waiting a minimum of two days to receive tape backup.
SDM: What synergies do you expect to see as a result of your merger?
Henley: The knowledge share is the greatest. With 20 years in our market, we have well-educated, well-trained, highly experienced engineers and service technicians, and Infrastruct does as well.
What you often see in this business is that one individual becomes very experienced in how to take care of a product or a market. We’re very interested in sharing that information so the level of technical expertise is equal in all markets. That may be our greatest challenge and also our greatest offering. We will ensure that it takes place.
We’re doing several things from a systems standpoint. We have customer relationship management and business management software that allows us to track certifications, identify service requirements and send service personnel that most closely match a customer’s needs.
We’ll also be able to link a case study on a service call. For example, if you have a service call on a software integration project that ended up with a corrupted database, it will be tracked as a case study, and if you encounter the same problem, it can be tracked back to the person who dealt with it the first time.
We’re revolutionizing how information gets down to the local level. At the end of the day, security is still a local service. It still comes down to the service provided by an individual in a location.