Engineering focus is first at Firstline

Rapidly growing integrator is now female-owned
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Steve Morefield, founder of systems integration firm Firstline, says his company is an “engineering-driven company, not a sales-driven company.”

“We don’t have salespeople and we don’t bid jobs,” Morefield said. Firstline favors account managers over salespeople, he said. “Our business comes from existing customers and referrals. That’s why our phone rings.”

And it’s been ringing a lot in the past four years. Firstline had $5 million in revenues in 2009, $5.8 million in 2010, $6.4 million in 2011 and more than $7 million in 2012. “And we anticipate stronger growth in 2013 and 2014,” he said.

Morefield believes revenues may top $8 million in 2013. Firstline, which is based here and has an office in San Diego, has plans to move from its 6,000-square-foot headquarters to an 11,000-square-foot facility this spring.

It has already hired a new project manager, a controller and four new technicians, and it is in the process of hiring more service and sales technicians.

What’s driving this growth?

Firstline, a Security-Net company, does work in higher education and health care, and for municipalities, Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies.

Much of the growth is propelled by utility customers who need to comply with government standards, overseen and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corp.

“We have existing [utility] customers and we are bringing new ones in,” he said.

Firstline made an organizational change in February that Morefield expects will benefit the company. Morefield, who previously owned 51 percent of the business, transferred 2 percent of his ownership to his wife, Shelly Morefield, president of the company. With a 51 percent share, Shelly Morefield is now majority owner and Firstline is now a female-owned business.

“That should open doors for us,” he said, referring to government entities and municipalities that are required to do a certain amount of business with female- and minority-owned businesses.

Firstline has been a Security-Net member since 2000, and a Software House enterprise-level dealer since 1995. It deals with several other manufacturers as well.