Security Vanguard Award 2020: Stone Security Spearheads ARUP Laboratories Project

Nov. 10, 2020
Utah-based integrator leverages its technology expertise while avoiding a COVID curveball to deliver the top security project of 2020
This article originally appeared as the cover story in the November 2020 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention @SecBusinessMag on Twitter and Security Business magazine on LinkedIn.

Even for an organization accustomed to the laboratory testing of blood and other bodily fluids in normal times, COVID-19 has changed the game for ARUP Laboratories. After already embarking on all-encompassing security greenfield and upgrade projects at its facilities, like in most industries, COVID changed the plan. Thanks to a quick pivot by the end-user organization and its security integration and consultation partners, ARUP got the support it needed to support our own country’s rapidly expanding COVID-19 testing needs while also protecting itself internally.

This quick pivot – along with the collaboration to deploy a vast scope of enterprise security technologies for the sprawling organization – has earned ARUP and Utah-based integrator Stone Security the honor of being the inaugural Security Vanguard Award winner, chosen by Security Business and Security Technology Executive magazines, and

Inside the Project: The End-User

Founded in 1984, ARUP Laboratories is a leading national reference laboratory and a non-profit enterprise of the University of Utah
and its Department of Pathology. Its Salt Lake City-based facilities offer more than 3,000 tests and test combinations, ranging from routine screening tests to esoteric molecular and genetic assays. Serving clients across the United States, when the nation’s top hospitals, commercial laboratories, clinics – and even the government and military – need samples tested, they come to ARUP.

Datapoint: ARUP Laboratories Project

Thus, it should come as no surprise that the nation has turned to ARUP to test samples for COVID-19. “ARUP is committed to helping fight against this worldwide pandemic,” says Rob Martin, Security Systems Specialist for ARUP. “Once a sample enters our facility, that sample is treated like the patient the sample represents. ARUP safeguards that information – the sample is categorized and processed in a constantly monitored environment, and the information is promptly sent back to the healthcare providers. We prioritize the safety and security of the samples and our employees.”

Thankfully, as COVID-19 struck the United States, ARUP was deep into a security system upgrade deployment, spearheaded by Utah-based integrator Stone Security. There was some downtime as the facility adjusted; however, the access control and video surveillance systems in place provided the backbone for ARUP to successfully navigate the “new normal” of working in a pandemic environment.

“When the pandemic started, we sent approximately 1,000 support employees home to work remotely; however, most of our workforce were still required to be in the laboratories to run laboratory tests, including COVID-19 tests,” Martin explains. “Our employees are on the front lines, testing samples 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our access control and video management are used to monitor the safety and efficiency of our employees. We implemented Milestone and S2 before COVID-19; however, the timely commission of those systems, as well as the integration, has enabled us to improve the process of controlling laboratory access.”

Because of the deluge of COVID-19 samples that flooded into ARUP starting in April, the facility was forced to convert much of its office space into laboratory space. “When we change an office space into laboratory space, the office is taken down and remodeled,” Martin says. “We have a skilled design and engineering team that facilitates building these laboratories, and I have designed custom access control hardware and camera coverage for the new laboratory. Stone Security then comes in and deploys the design.”

Of course, even with COVID-19 samples coming into the facility by the thousands, ARUP still has many other areas of focus when it comes to clinical pathology – all of which are housed in its various facilities, and all of which need tight security controls.

“Our video camera system needs to be able to track specimens through the labs,” Martin explains. “Some of the specimens we take – for instance, bone marrow or brain tissue – can never be taken again. The cameras need to track the routes that each specimen will take, from arrival at the facility, to being processed, and eventually being tested.”

This is where Stone Security came in with an integrated access control and video solution that has the ability to grow and change as quickly as the needs of its end-user.

The Technology Journey

The story of the integration of video surveillance cameras and analytics software with the facility’s access control and badging solution actually starts with Jeff Harris, ARUP’s Manager of Security, who, along with Supervisor of Security Ken Carlisle, identified an opportunity in mid-2019 to update and upgrade the security access and video technology. They brought in Martin, who joined ARUP in May 2019 with an extensive background that included 19 years as a security end-user, system administrator and integrator with private, state, and religious organizations in the area.

“When I got here, ARUP had multiple integrators trying to service different projects,” Martin says, adding that his prior integration experience gave him good familiarity with Axis Communications cameras and the Milestone Video Management System. “I brought Stone Security in because they are the well-known Milestone experts in our area, and I wanted to talk with them about what I envisioned this looking like at the end. I wanted Milestone to be here; I wanted it to integrate with our access control system; and I needed to upgrade all of the cameras throughout all of our facilities.”

Stone Security, in fact, is designated as a Diamond-level Milestone partner, and they were the very first company to earn that designation. “That was a huge advantage for us,” explains Andy Schreyer, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Stone Security. “It definitely helps in a sales meeting when we are trying to explain to a customer how capable we are on this particular product. I had experience working with ARUP in the past, so I went over the history with Rob and talked about our company’s relationship with Milestone. Then, our support department spent a day with Rob and showed him all the things that he could do to fix the video system and get it going – and he was ecstatic and saw the potential of a good partnership to make sure that he got the best performance out of this new video surveillance system.”

That Martin was partial to Milestone, Stone Security’s status as a diamond-level integrator, and their hands-on approach sealed the deal on the relationship, and the integrator began working on a retrofit of the video surveillance systems in mid-2019 for all seven of ARUP’s laboratory and office buildings. In all, hundreds of cameras were replaced with various P and Q series cameras from Axis, which were all tied into the XProtect VMS.

As for the extensive access control systems, ARUP had previously standardized on the Lenel OnGuard access control management system; however, Martin says he was having trouble integrating the system with Milestone. Thankfully, UTC had acquired S2 Security and merged it with Lenel just a few months before the project launched, and the S2 web-based application was more friendly for the video systems.

“One of the biggest things they were struggling with was the integration between Milestone and Lenel Onguard,” Schreyer says. “We have experience with these integrations, but for what they envisioned, we thought integrating S2 and Milestone would be much easier, and we showed (Martin) a demonstration of how that could work. Ultimately, they made the decision that it would work best for them to switch (access control systems), and that is where things all got started. They saw how well the systems and the integrations could work together.”

Stone Security leveraged ATG Group, an integrator which actually writes and maintains the integration between S2 and Milestone. “(ATG) is an integrator like us, and they have some development resources on hand and have done a nice job creating a software tie in between Milestone and S2,” explains Aaron Simpson, a co-founder and current President and CTO of Stone Security. “It has been a very successful product.”

Thanks to the integration of the two systems, ARUP can now control its Mercury access control hardware, HID Global card readers and Axis video cameras from a centralized platform, which can be mobilized if needed.

“Even before the COVID environment, but especially with COVID, we need to be able to take care of our access control from wherever we happen to be located, because we never shut down,” Martin says. “If we do not have to physically come to the facility, I can take care of (security) remotely, because COVID or no COVID, we have to keep running.”

Both ARUP and the systems integration teams counted heavily on Rydalch Electric, a large electrical contractor, for the integration of the fire/life safety and standby power systems that were so crucial to the project. Rydalch’s David Smith, who was a project manager on-site, supervised the sub-contractors that designed and programmed the fire alarm, tele-data and security systems, with his firm handling the bulk of the low-voltage work. 

“We provided the installation of all raceways for the tele-data and security systems.  We facilitated the submission of submittals, scheduling and change orders of these systems as well.  Before this project, I had not worked with Stone Security. They were brought on by ARUP to work on the complete overhaul of the existing buildings’ security system and the new install of Building Four’s security system has been an impressive process,” Smith adds. “Our support to Stone has been with raceway’s for cabling and proposing product solutions to the owner. Coordination between trades and the owner has been very key in keeping the construction schedule moving at a pace acceptable to the owner. “ 

The COVID Curveball

No single world event since 9/11 has had as profound an impact on the security industry as COVID-19, and the ARUP Laboratories project was no exception. Thankfully, with nearly a year of work already done on the project, and with stringent work requirements already in place, the impact was not as dramatic when everything shut down at the end of March.

“Every bit of work we had to do in their specimen processing labs had to be done on a Sunday late at night,” explains Tjay Mitchell, the Stone Security's Project Manager for the ARUP installation. “The hours from midnight until seven in the morning were the only times we could actually work on those projects, because no construction could happen in the specimen processing laboratory when the machines are working.”

Even with the restrictions, things changed due to COVID. Joey Edmunds, a co-founder and current VP for Stone Security, says all work shut down completely for about six weeks starting in late March 2020, and no outside contractors were allowed. But once the COVID tests began arriving at the facility, Edmunds says the work had to recommence – ARUP needed to begin the office-to-
laboratory conversions, as well as deal with a massive influx of new laboratory employees to help deal with the huge amount of COVID test samples.

“Rob told me they were bringing on 30 to 50 new employees every single week,” Edmunds says. “He showed me a camera image of the warehouse area where they receive all the new shipments of samples to be tested. Usually it is about a third full; now, it is completely stocked full – up to the ceiling.

“As far as our working crews and our technicians and PMs, we have been able to bust out quite a few projects for them,” Edmunds adds. “Obviously, they have to wear masks and everything, but it has been pretty good over the summer. It wasn’t just us either – they had many contractors in there at one time.”

ARUP did not request any COVID-specific security hardware, such as thermal temperature scanning devices; however, Stone Security did educate the ARUP security team on some of the relevant applications that the new security systems could provide, such as enhancing the contact tracing measures the facility already had in place.

“We showed them how to track users as they walk through the access control system – so that if somebody (contracts COVID) or stays home and is not feeling well, they can go back through the access control system and follow exactly when or where in the buildings that person was,” Simpson explains. “It is a variation of contact tracing accomplished by using the access control system.”

The Future

As the project continues for ARUP Laboratories and Stone Security, the integrator is presented with multiple opportunities not only for added business, but also as a trusted source of information.

Much of the ongoing work is for a brand-new building as part of the campus at the University of Utah Research Park scheduled to
open in February 2021. Stone Security has successfully collaborated with electrical contractor Rydalch Electric on the new building.

“The collaboration was important, because the specs were written for this new building almost two years ago,” Schreyer explains. “Since the specs were old, we had to work with Rydalch to almost re-engineer the entire video surveillance and access control system for this new building with the electrical.”

Schreyer adds that ARUP will likely continue to add cameras and doors in the future for both the new and existing buildings. That said, he says Stone Security is always educating the ARUP team about ancillary technologies and other ways to leverage their investment to enhance security or operations.

“One of the more prominent conversations we like to have with them is to explain that now that they have spent a lot of money on storage and sensor devices like cameras, let’s try to figure out a way to make use of all that data, and take advantage of that investment,” Schreyer says. “With all this extra data, patterns can be recognized, and pathways and hot zones can be looked at. There are improvements to business productivity that could be found or reworked.”

Another area that is being vetted and discussed is integrating video with ground-based robotic systems that already exist in the laboratories.

No matter how the project progresses, thanks to the collaborative nature of this Vanguard Award-winning project and expertise that Stone Security provides, the proverbial snowball continues to roll down the hill for the integrator.

“It feels like these projects are happening more often for us – where our reputation is strong in the region, and where everybody at least has heard of us,” Edmunds says. “They know that we are experts with Milestone and LenelS2, so if they are even thinking about using those products, they are calling us more and more. It is fun to see how our reputation is growing, and how it is staying strong, because we have worked really hard at it.”

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine ( Editorial Director Steve Lasky also contributed to this article.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at