Specifically Speaking with Greg Cliff

Principal engineer VI/ project manager II, CHA Consulting Inc., based in Albany, N.Y.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

I started with Simplex in 1974 as a technician and grew up in the life safety and security industry. After 20 years with Simplex in various positions, I transitioned into sales and management with several large fire and security integrators and in 1999 was offered a position with a local consulting firm to lead their newly formed fire and security design division. That was my start into the consulting and design arena and after almost 15 years in consulting, I joined CHA Consulting Inc.’s Life Safety and Security market team. We are a full-service design and consulting firm serving clients throughout North America and beyond.

What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?

Our life safety and security sub-market provides complete design and project management for all aspects of electronic physical security, communication, and life safety systems. We conduct threat, vulnerability and risk assessments for all types of facilities, and we pair the latest technology with creative solutions to provide our clients with secure facilities and peace of mind.

In addition to the life safety/security service, CHA Consulting Inc. is a full-service design and construction solutions provider. We design and specify mechanical, electrical, fire protection, structural, environmental, land development, infrastructure design, civil, geotechnical, architectural, survey, sustainability, technology solutions, and health and safety components.

What vertical markets does the company specialize in?

We do work in the following areas: sports (NCS4 member), transportation, healthcare, correctional, mental health, education, government, land development, parks & recreation, manufacturing, utilities, environment, aviation, water project management and CM.

Any interesting projects that you can mention?

Here are a few high profile projects that come to mind:

·      Force Protection and Physical Security Greenside Presidential Helicopter Hanger. Access control systems.

·      Waypoint Centre for Mental Health - Midland Ontario Canada—Approximately $5 million in security for interior and exterior physical security systems and follow-up application consulting for secure forensics facility.

·      Manhattan Psychiatric Center—$10 million-plus interior and exterior physical security systems.

·      New York State Office of Mental Health statewide physical security systems standards development.

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

CHA takes the lead on offering our valued clients with time proven solutions coupled with some of the newest technologies through extensive investigation on emerging technologies, vetting and application testing. We work with systems that integrate: RFID, physical recognition, IP, web/cloud-based, analytics, GeoSpace, new door control technologies, and software solutions. We take pride in listening to our clients to determine their immediate and long-term needs and finding creative solutions to meet and exceed their expectations. We also strive to elate our clients with superior consulting and design and create long-term partnerships. 

What is your view on the industry moving forward?

The security industry continues to evolve in many areas including the continuously changing technologies, the industry’s major players, standards, cybersecurity, how products and systems go to market and where the technologies are rooted. These variables require consultants to stay ahead of the curve and to be predictive rather than reactive. This provides the clients with a forward-thinking partner that utilizes the best of breed technologies with emerging technology integration. We also value our partnerships with discipline specific consultants that join our teams to provide our clients a complete and unified design.

We, as consultants, need to be the experts in both the security and life safety arena as well as the physical building entrance and operational aspects to ensure our clients that we are providing truly integrated solutions to meet their needs now and in the future.

How we interact with our clients, building owners, and integrators to create a more cohesive approach to integrated systems will provide the end users systems that exceed their expectations and provide user-friendly operational and more effective systems.


Thanks to SSN for giving me the opportunity to provide the background on CHA Consulting and share ideas on emergeing security technologies.