Vice President of Fire Systems Craig C. was hired as a technician in 1986. Over 30 years later, he’s now Vice President of the company.
Craig’s dedication to Fire Systems and decades of service make him a vital member of the company’s management team. He understands on a personal level what it’s like to be out in the field completing inspections. He also knows what it’s like to manage a division of technicians. His layers of experience and years of service in the fire protection industry are an invaluable asset to Fire Systems, Inc.
Management in the making
Craig has truly worked his way through the company. From technician to vice president, he’s done it all.
“I began my career at Fire Systems in 1986 as a service technician. My primary duties were to install and maintain fire suppression systems on heavy equipment in landfills and rock quarries. I also installed and maintained kitchen hood systems and special hazard systems in computer rooms and industrial facilities,” he explains. “As we grew, I was promoted to service manager. In this role, I was responsible for the daily activities of all technicians, scheduling, and invoicing all work. I also worked to achieve a NICET Level IV in special hazard fire suppression systems and a NICET Level II in design and layout.”
Ten years later, Craig was promoted to General Manager. He started the Fire Alarm Division with only one technician while in this role. This division has now grown to 16 employees. Craig also worked closely with the Sprinkler Division manager to grow this division into what it is today.
Behind the scenes
Craig has worked extensively on the company’s tech infrastructure and internal processes in addition to his experience in the field and variety of management roles.
One of those elements of the company’s infrastructure critical to the success of Fire Systems is the program created by Craig. The program is used by the sales team to quote inspection jobs for customers. This inspection estimating program allows for consistency in pricing. Fire Systems can guarantee fair and accurate prices to all customers with this program. In short, the program allows salespeople to quickly and efficiently quote inspections for all of the services we offer.
“I managed the creation of our sales team with the help of our current sales manager. During this process, we had the opportunity to work with some the very best account managers in the industry. Together, we worked to create a strong customer base for inspections and maintenance of fire protection systems,” said Craig.
Another critical part of the Fire Systems’ infrastructure is the company’s operating software. This software is essential for streamlining the inspection process for customers and tracking company costs. Craig oversaw the implementation of this software system about six years ago.
“This software system has improved our scheduling efficiency and allowed us to get invoices and inspection reports to our customers within one to two days,” said Craig. “The job costing process of the software that I also helped to implement is critical in ensuring that we are capturing all of our cost. This in turn allows us to quote jobs more efficiently.”
The system essentially helps the company to better and more accurately track costs. From labor to materials, all costs are captured in the system so the company can be sure everything is properly accounted for. Fire Systems also has a lot of client history in their system because they’ve been in business for so many years. As a result they can give customers an accurate price with more precision.
Leading with expertise
The role of Vice President of Fire Systems, Inc. includes a lot of behind the scenes work.
“My current duties include oversight of the daily operations of the company,” explains Craig.
His responsibilities also vary day to day but each of his duties are vital components of the operation of the company.
“I work with all division managers and our controller to make sure our customers are receiving the best service possible. I also review all jobs for profitability and accuracy, review all contracts and approve payment of vendor invoices, and pay monthly commissions to our sales team and review jobs with them. Additionally, I review the profitability of each division with the manager each month and monitor costs,” said Craig.
Being in a leadership position for a family-owned company like Fire Systems requires a lot of multitasking, interpersonal skills, and internal knowledge of the industry as a whole. Craig embodies these characteristics on a daily basis.
Dedicated to the industry
One of the most notable differences that sets Fire Systems, Inc. apart from other fire protection companies is the ownership. A family-owned company can offer distinct advantages that employees and clients feel.
Craig has seen firsthand the positive and lasting impact of this type of leadership.
“I have witnessed a dedication to our industry and our employees that has been extremely impressive,” said Craig. “Our ownership has always put quality first, and has made hiring the best technicians, managers and sales professionals a priority. While the direction is set by ownership, it is realized by our technicians and managers. I’m impressed every day with the dedication and knowledge of our employees.”
All services, one company
Another major advantage to Fire Systems, Inc. is their ability to be a comprehensive source for all their customers’ fire protection needs. In fact, Fire Systems was the first fire protection company in Atlanta to offer all fire protection services under one company.
“We made a corporate decision many years ago to be the one resource for all fire protection needs. We offer fire alarm, sprinkler, special hazard fire protection, kitchen hood systems, fire extinguishers and off-road vehicle fire suppression,” explains Craig. “We realized there was an enormous benefit to our customers and as a result this has been one of the biggest reasons for our success.”
All of this means that Fire Systems can truly promise its customers that they will be the one and only fire protection company they will ever need.
Future hopes, lessons learned
Craig hopes that Fire Systems, Inc. will continue to be the company that attracts the best technicians, managers and sales professionals in the industry.
“I sincerely believe Fire Systems, Inc. will continue to grow at a pace that will allow us to provide customer service at a continued high level,” said Craig.
He’s also learned in his 33 years with the company that hard work and dedication do in fact pay off. His best advice: “Never turn down responsibility and never be afraid to challenge yourself to learn, sometimes the hard way.”
When not at work, Craig enjoys going to the beach and fishing when he can. He also likes to play golf and work out. Craig’s been married to his wife, Deanna, for 38 years. They have two beautiful daughters and four grandchildren. “Spending time with my grandchildren is one of my favorite things to do,” says Craig