Schirmer grows reach with two markets

Atlanta and metro New York City were locations in the company’s strategic plan
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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

DEERFIELD, Ill. - Fire protection and code consultancy Schirmer Engineering has expanded into two key territories over the past six months, opening new locations in the coveted Atlanta and metropolitan New York areas to further the company’s geographic and strategic presence.

For Schirmer, a company with $25 million a year in revenues, the new locations in Carmel, N.Y., and in Suwanee, Ga., supply the missing link in those areas that the company had been hoping to fill.

“New York and Atlanta were two key areas where we always wanted to have offices, but it’s a matter of finding the right people,” said Jim Bychowski, director of marketing for Schirmer, which has its headquarters here.

In Atlanta, the staff of six includes three fire protection engineers, a designer/Computer Aided Design operator, a security consultant and an administrative staffer, said Thomas Gardner, regional manager for Schirmer. Gardner oversees the Atlanta regional office, which serves Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and northern Florida. As regional manager, Gardner also oversees a small field office in Miami.

“We are just getting started, but we have been very successful already,” Gardner said.

Now housed in a building owned and occupied by Schirmer’s parent company, Aon Corp., a professional insurance services and consulting organization, Gardner said the new Atlanta office will move in the next two months to Duluth, a location 12 miles closer to downtown Atlanta.

“The move will give us two things - easier access to downtown and room to expand our staff,” Gardner said. “I am hoping in the next year to bring on another fire protection engineer, another CPP and another CAD operator.”

While the services from the Atlanta office encompass both fire and security - the office is providing security consulting services for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta as well as other fire and life safety code jobs - the New York office is, for now, staffed only with a fire protection engineer, Bychowski said. That office is managed by Michael J. Rzeznik.

“We are just getting started there as well,” he said.

Security consulting makes up about five percent of Schirmer’s total revenues, but “it’s something that we have always done as a joint service or offering to fire protection and code consulting,” Bychowski said. “The mix (of personnel) in each office is a bit different.”

The company also opened a field office in Houston that is staffed by a single fire protection engineer. That office is a field location of the Dallas regional office.