By 2004, Steven Hatch had been in the security industry for nearly 20 years. He had worked for a number of the behemoths in the industry and had risen up the ranks; yet, he was at a point where he was ready to start his own business. Steven reached out to Ken Hoffmann, with whom he had done a lot of business, and the two of them created DynaFire Inc.
While Hatch loved the security industry, he felt the industry had gone astray in the early 2000s. When he looked around at the industry, he felt damage had been done by the bigger companies – driven by things like consolidation, demanding shareholders and the drive for monthly revenue in order to sell off a business. Hatch got to the point where he says it was “cumbersome to face my customers,” and became determined to make a change. Hatch created DynaFire with the intention that they would make the customer’s needs a priority.
DynaFire is a full-service fire and life service provider that offers design, installation, inspection, monitoring and maintenance of commercial fire alarm, sprinkler, security and suppression systems. While DynaFire focuses primarily on commercial properties, it is in other markets as well, including condominiums, education, retail, entertainment and hotels.
DynaFire works with clients on projects in all phases – from new construction, building expansion and renovation to fire alarm system replacement. “Since we can offer the entire bundle, we can be the sole source for our clients, which is less evasive for them and their tenants,” explains Jessica Rutland, Public Relations Specialist for DynaFire. “It is especially helpful for new construction when there are a host of vendors involved for other services.”
The model is clearly working. When Hatch and Hoffmann incorporated in 2004, DynaFire was made up of just the two of them. Today, the company has seven branches, covers the entire state of Florida, and has 264 employees. It has been named the No. 4 fastest-growing security integrator/dealer in North America in the SD&I Fast50.
Interestingly, this is the first time a company focused so tightly on the fire & life safety industry has cracked the top 5 of the Fast50. DynaFire has enjoyed 33-percent growth or greater every year they have existed. So what has been the key to this tremendous growth? After all, Hatch says, “A fire alarm is a fire alarm.” Instead, Hatch credits his company’s laser-focus on its employees and clients.
Building on Values
With such strong opinions about the direction of the industry, it is no wonder that Hatch put in a great deal of thought into the core values of his company before launching it. Much of the focus is on employees – each one is expected to understand the core values which Hatch believes helps DynaFire build a strong culture while at the same time effecting customers. “Employees are happy here, and that leads them to take care of our clients – that’s how we grow,” Hatch says.
The core values are tied into the three brand promises: Employees who maintain high-level certifications, same-day or next-day service, and providing clients with service at the lowest possible price.
To achieve the certification goal, the company has created the DynaFire Academy, which provides detailed training covering all aspects of fire alarm system installation – including hands-on activities and portraying common job site conditions. The training helps educate while establishing a standard installation process. Each technician is NICET certified.
The employees clearly appreciate working for DynaFire; in fact, it was voted Florida’s Best Company to Work for in both 2009 and 2017 as well as Orlando’s Best Company to Work For in 2017.
The commitment to education does not stop with employees. “Offering education is part of the service we provide our clients,” Hatch says.
One way DynaFire educates customers is via lunch-and-learns. While some companies might feel threatened by sharing their know-how with clients, DynaFire feels the exact opposite. “We want clients to have information and share the knowledge with all employees,” Rutland says. “Having clients know what is on their property empowers them and is helpful for us.”
Another core values stressed by Hatch is to give the client a fair deal. That means not focusing on maximizing short-term profits at the expense of building enduring relationships. “We pride ourselves on providing our clients a service at the best possible price in the industry,” Hatch says, emphasizing that clients aim to minimize the costs of a non-revenue necessity like fire & life safety.
As they say on their website: “Fire & life safety services are a requirement, but who provides those services is not. Go with an organization that is always trying to earn your business. They may not always be the cheapest, and sometimes they have to give you bad news, but at least you can rest easy knowing that your fire & life safety needs are being taken care of safely and ethically.”
The final of Hatch’s important values is availability. DynaFire’s techs are on call 24 hours a day. “We will be the fastest in providing services,” Hatch vows.
Making use of the most up to date technology is part of DynaFire’s mission statement. “Technology is huge for us – we are always trying out different types of technology, evaluating software and studying the market to find the best technology-related products to stay ahead of the curve,” Hatch says.
DynaFire has created a proprietary wireless fire monitoring network called DynaNet. The mesh network provides fault-tolerant, end-to-end delivery of alarm signals for fire and security systems that meets all UL and NFPA requirements. All of the signals are collected by a central monitoring system, which alerts the proper authorities in real-time. Signals are sent continuously until confirmation of receipt by the monitoring station, and because each property on the DynaNet system is a receiver, transmitter and repeater, the information from each individual property is sent several times over.
In addition to the traditional fire & life safety systems via Honeywell Notifier equipment, DynaFire provides design, installation and maintenance services for video surveillance, emergency communications, access control and other related security systems.
Staying on the Road to Growth
Every few years, Hatch says he and his team conduct a deep dive and study themselves, with the goal of evaluating processes and identifying where they could do better. “We don’t look at competition. Our goal is to try and outperforms ourselves every year,” Hatch says.
As DynaFire looks to the future, Hatch says the company is considering expanding into other states; however, before doing so, Hatch says the company should “formalize what we do and make sure it will work well for us in other regions.”
Hatch describes DynaFire as a “little big company” – in that it is deliberately a flat corporate structure but covers a large area. This preserves a family-like feel for Hatch and the employees. “Transitioning to other states while maintaining that feeling is a balancing act,” Rutland says. “We are expanding at slower pace because we want to make sure we do it right.”
Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. Learn more at http://larrydbernstein.com. To learn more about SD&I’s seventh annual Fast50 and read about this year’s and previous yearly rankings and market research, please visit www.securityinfowatch.com/sdifast50.