Fire firm plans growth with niche business, added marketing plans

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Saturday, March 1, 2003

HURST, Texas - A small but top-tier Notifier distributor here is already hard at work toward reaching its goals for 2003, armed with a new focus on marketing and plans to boost its inspection and testing business as well as its installed base.

To accomplish those goals, Fire Systems Design, a 20-employee company located here in suburban Fort Worth, has hired Todd Burgart as its marketing director to actively promote the company to local commercial customers, engineers and the life safety community. Jim Watkins, an existing FSD employee, was also tapped to oversee the expansion of the testing and inspection department.

With an eye cast toward increasing company revenues by 50 percent in 2003, company officials are optimistic that FSD’s new ventures will garner it more stature in the local marketplace, both as a competitive force against other national fire companies and as a dependable local company with reputable service and a focus on the customer.

“A lot of our work has come from word of mouth and referrals,” said Carl Ball, FSD’s president. “We’ve been swamped with that and haven’t put the backing into a marketing campaign. We are doing that this year.”

Although Ball declined to give out company financial information, he said that the inspection and testing component of the business would make up a significant portion of the projected 50 percent growth in revenues. To accomplish that, the company will target its own customer base as well as other installations potentially in need of testing, maintenance or a system upgrade.

“We are making an emphasis from both the service and inspection standpoint for owners and AHJs to let them know that (those areas) are an integral part of the system and is required by code,” Ball said. “We hate to use that as a sales tool…but like any other equipment, if it’s not maintained and inspected, it’s not going to work when you need it to.”

From its 5,500 square-foot office and warehouse location here, FSD covers north central Texas, with a primary focus on the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Burgart said. To reach that market, FSD will have its own booth at the National Fire Protection Association’s World Safety Conference & Exposition, which will be held in Dallas in mid-May.

“This is one way we will promote ourselves in the local community, because the engineering and the contracting community locally are attendees,” Burgart said. The company is also active in industry groups, such as the Texas Automatic Fire Alarm Association and the National Independent Fire Alarm Distributors.

The company was also planning to roll out a new website, www.fsdfire.com, in mid-February to use as a sales tool and in project design.