Iowa Fire Control, 3014 Fifth Ave. S., has become a major player in the fire protection world since the company was founded 33 years ago. Its services are marketed across the entire Hawkeye State.
Purchased in 2007 by Fort Dodgers Ed Smith, Ryan Smith and Vaughn McQuillen, the enterprise is evolving. It is rapidly becoming a comprehensive vendor of both fire protection and security solutions.
In a major move to broaden its capabilities, IFC purchased Badger-based Uneek Security & Fire Solutions in 2011, adding the expertise of Jeremy Adams, the founder and driving force behind Uneek, to its talent pool. Uneek ceased to exist as a separate entity. Adams now is general manager of the IFC Security Division.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Iowa Fire Control vice president Noah Carspecken prepares to service a customer’s fire extinguisher recently. The lines on the floor help keep the units organized.
The security options IFC now offers are extensive.
"Commercial and residential security, commercial and residential fire alarms, camera systems, access control," Adams said, describing the IFC security agenda. "We do those main things along with our 24-hour monitoring service. The 24-monitoring is so the police or fire department is notified in the event of an alarm if a door was opened while it was armed or a window broken out or a smoke alarm."
He said IFC can provide a wide array of security solutions appropriate for either commercial or residential clients.
Chuck Slagle, who helps market the company's products and services, said Adams' expertise has made it possible for IFC to tackle even highly complicated security projects.
"Jeremy (Adams) designs extremely large fire alarm, fire detection and life safety systems," Slagle said. "We just finished up Friendship Haven's new health center. Because of his certification, we are able to do that."
Adams has a National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies level three certification. NICET is a division of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is also licensed by the state of Iowa as an alarm contractor.
Asked what is the most challenging aspect of being a security specialist, Adams said "keeping up with technology as it changes" requires a significant investment of time, but is extremely important.
"Everything is going more toward computers, like most things in the world," he said.
IFC's strengthened capabilities in the security area combined with its decades of fire-safety experience make it able to address the full range of fire protection and security needs, according to McQuillen, who in addition to being one of the company's three owners functions as its chief operating officer.
That point is strongly underlined by Adams.
"When it comes to fire protection and security needs, we are the one-stop shop in this part of the state," he said.
While the expansion of security services is a major focus at IFC, McQuillen stressed that the fire protection area remains a large and important part of the business. He said many of the clients for this component of the enterprise are restaurants or establishments with commercial kitchens such as hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.
"We go into restaurants and we clean out their hood systems, or grease systems," McQuillen explained, noting that fire extinguishers, fire extinguisher training, fire suppression systems as well as fire alarms and emergency and exit lighting are all offered by IFC.
Clients for many of these services include a diverse assortment of commercial clients that includes a number of apartment complexes, McQuillen said.
Whether the customer is a business of a homeowner, there is a common theme.
"We provide people with peace of mind," Slagle said. "You have no idea how many times we put something in and people say they sleep better at night."
Addressing that need to feel safe and secure is a source of satisfaction to all 16 team members at IFC, McQuillen said.
"That's a sense of accomplishment," Adams said, seconding that sentiment.
The team at IFC has a straightforward message for potential customers.
"We provide almost all the services the national corporate companies provide, but with a local presence," Slagle said, adding that IFC puts a high priority on the quality of its products and services.
McQuillen said the company is strongly committed to "getting people to think about safety."