With a snip of the giant scissors, Tyco CEO George Oliver and Daryl Haga, the center’s director, cut the ribbon to officially open the newly expanded Global Center of Excellence in Birmingham, Ala.   PHOTO COURTESY OF TYCO

While Birmingham, Ala., may not seem like the first choice of location for a state-of-the-art center to support security installations worldwide, that’s exactly where Boca Raton, Fla.-based Tyco has found the skilled talent it needs to ensure the success of its Global Center of Excellence (GCoE), says Mark VanDover, president of Tyco Integrated Security.

The newly expanded center was officially opened on April 14 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Its 24,000 square feet are home to 90 employees, including design engineers, CAD operators, program managers, system engineers and other specialists, who design and document global security standards for enterprise-level security functions. The diversity these employees bring to the company allows Tyco to be well-versed in business and cultural nuances that are necessary to conduct business in the 38 countries the center supports. And while they hail from varying backgrounds, and don’t necessarily come from within the security industry. What they do have in common is that they’re well-educated, VanDover says.

“The last four or five years, we’ve focused on attracting upscale talent,” he said. “We’ve been very successful at bringing in the type of talent we want here. This area has done a lot with the tech industry, and people are coming to Birmingham because it’s a good place to live and a good place to raise a family. And it’s a short hop to Atlanta, so it’s easy to get anywhere around the world.”

VanDover says the GCoE will develop standards, technical specifications and detailed work plans to enable consistent security installations globally, while also providing customers with remote system audit services to verify functionality and compliance with corporate standards. The facility’s expansion was a necessity because of the growing number of clients it was supporting and will serve as “one point of contact from anywhere to help the customer navigate and understand the different ways of solving and resolving issues,” VanDover says.

SDMwas given a tour of the facility, where at any given time you might hear one of 14 different languages coming from within one of the cubicles or offices as engineers and support staff assist technicians around the world. But it’s more than just conversational language, says Daryl Haga, the GCoE’s director.

“There’s a big difference between social and business and technology language,” he says. “If you can talk bits and bytes in the language, you’re good.”

Efficiency is a main focus at the GCoE, Haga says. For example, engineers are taught to use CAD, which is “very efficient; much more than handing a piece of paper to a CAD person.” The center has also developed a number of repeatable processes that administrative staff can perform, freeing up engineers for design and other tasks.

“It’s all about processes and efficiencies, and ISO is very important to that,” Haga says.

The new facility occupies an entire floor of the building in which it’s housed and can accommodate an additional 30 percent growth, as well as the potential to occupy multiple floors for even greater growth, VanDover says.

But that doesn’t mean rapid growth is the plan. “The new facility doesn’t mean we’re going to grow in leaps and bounds. There’s a plan in place for sustainable, responsible growth,” Haga says.