Good service key to High Rise Fire and Security’s success

The company is gearing up for growth in NYC’s affordable residential housing market under new mayor
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—High Rise Fire and Security does a lot of high-profile jobs—such as putting in the fire alarm system for the Liberty View Plaza, a former U.S. Navy 1 million-square-foot warehouse that’s now one of the largest commercial real estate projects in this city. Good service is a key reason for the company’s success, according to its vice president, Robert Aiello.

“It’s a small industry. The word gets around when you do good things, and that’s something we drive very hard—client service,” Aiello said.

The company, which is based in Brooklyn and has a satellite office in Melville, N.Y., is also a great place to work, according to the New York Society for Human Resource Management, which recently honored High Rise as one of the 2014 Best Companies to Work For in New York State.

The company received the award at a ceremony May 6 and learned it ranked 20th among the total 60 winners of the award. “We’re quite excited,” Aiello said. He said the company had set as a goal moving from being a good organization to becoming a great organization.

He said that under that plan, “one of the things we did was that we hired a performance consultant, and we’re setting performance metrics up for each department and each person in the company so they have something concrete to be judged on during review time, and so we know when to praise and when to push.”

According to a company news release, the award winners were chosen based on the results of a survey taken by company employees. The survey included questions about leadership and long-term strategy, corporate culture, diversity, the work environment, relationships with managers and training and development. The scores the company received led to the award.

The company has 92 employees and has been in business since 1992, Aiello said. It serves New York City’s five boroughs and also Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. About 75 percent of the company’s work is fire-related.

The company works in verticals that include commercial, health care, institutional and residential. “I can’t say we specialize because if there’s a building, there’s a fire alarm system in it, and we want to put it in,” Aiello said.

He said the hotel vertical was very active in Manhattan over the last few years. “We did a lot of hotel jobs, but those are starting to wind down.”

Aiello is now looking toward the next trend in the city: residential buildings with affordable units.

New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on the promise of affordable housing, on May 11 unveiled a $41 billion plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units.

Aiello said High Rise’s high-profile projects have included the Sky View Center in Queens, a covered mall with three residential towers, which the company is still working on; and the Liberty View Plaza in Brooklyn, where a nearly-century-old manufacturing warehouse is being transformed into commercial space. The roof of the eight-story building is slated to become home to the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse and hydroponic farm, which will produce organic produce for local stores and eateries, news reports say.

“They’re gutting the whole entire building and we’re putting a fire alarm system in,” Aiello said.