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Dynalectric's DSS division has 'smarts' when it comes to high-tech projects

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For Bob Riel, vice president of Dynalectric's Service and Systems division (DSS), the future of electrical contracting can be seen as close as downtown San Diego's skyline. Sophisticated high-rises to state-of-the-art ballparks, electrical systems that incorporate fire alarms, security systems, wireless networks, tel-data systems and even plasma TVs are dramatically transforming the construction industry, as well as business in general.

Take, for example, the $100 million DiamondView Tower recently completed in downtown San Diego. The 15-story, 305,000-square-foot is one of the new first Class A buildings in downtown in 15 years.

"We not only did all the electrical work, but Dynalectric also provided the fire alarm systems, tel-data, security systems, audio-visual, projection screens, paging and sound systems, wireless Internet access, and HVAC control," said Riel, who has headed DSS since its formation in 1998. "We set up all the servers, connected to the T1 line, and configured the entire system. This is truly an integrated building."

Integration is the buzzword today in many industries, especially construction and engineering. Over the last few years, building technologies have migrated toward scalable, interoperable, flexible and open systems that have fueled efforts from different industries to come together on a single platform to build integrated systems as part of "smart" buildings. This integration, Riel said, has been part of DSS's explosive growth. The division, launched in 1998 mainly as a tel-data and fire alarm systems business, has since added the Information Technology and Commercial Services group to its burgeoning stable of integrated services.

"We learned that we needed to merge our electrical side with IT to make both divisions more efficient," Riel said, adding that DSS, which started with two employees, now has more than 100. "We really encourage everyone to work together so they understand the systems. By putting the systems engineers with the electricians, they both gain appreciation for the type of work they each do, which makes the work flow a lot faster. It's also easier for the customer because when the client is talking to our general foreman to coordinate the work, our GF can respond intelligently about the electrical as well as all the other low-voltage systems on the job."

Another advantage, Riel said, is DSS can now offer complete IT configuration and support.

"We can configure servers and routers," he said, adding that DSS installed Qualcomm Stadium's point of sale network and even made it wireless to extend into the parking lot for vendors. "Having one company do everything is a big benefit to the general contractor."

By hiring Dynalectric, general contractors or building owners don't have to deal with a myriad of subcontractors, he said. Hiring one electrical contractor is more economical because it allows the owner or the general contractor to anticipate costs that they haven't thought about yet.

While Dynalectric now offers an array of services, process control and IT support have been some of company's biggest growth areas. The company's IT team is able to replace and configure servers, set up wireless and IP networks, among other tasks. "IT is a natural progression for DSS because process control, automation, security and fire alarm systems usually ride on top of the IP network," Riel said.

The Instrumentation and Process Control Group, headed up by Ted Donald, has built a solid reputation for quality and attention to detail with industrial and pharmaceutical customers. "We feel we have the best engineering and implementation staff in Southern California," said Donald.

For more information on Dynalectric Co., visit www.dyna-sd.com.

Submitted by Dynalectric Co. San Diego

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