These days, it is becoming more common for low-voltage contractors to specialize in a specific type of work (such as security or audiovisual) or a specific customer base (such as hospitals or schools).
While the Network Services Group of Rosendin Electric, San Jose, Calif., does work for a wide range of customers, it has also been able to carve out a customer niche: transportation, including rail, air and highway.
Founded in 1919, Rosendin Electric has been an employee-owned company since 2000. It has more than 5,000 employees worldwide and offices in eight states.The company has also performed work in more than 30 states.
The company’s Network Services Group provides a single source for customers’ data and telecommunications needs. It specializes in fiber and performs a wide variety of terminations and splicing.
“However, we are not just a cable contractor,” said Ron Clarkson, division manager for the Network Services Group. “We also specialize in systems design and installation.”
The group handles work related to 24/7/365 emergency response, cabling, long-haul fiber, voice/data, surveillance, access control, audio/video, paging, display, supervisory control and data acquisition, and traffic controls.
“From a systems perspective, we can do pretty much everything—wind, LAN, network, servers, telephony, voice-over-IP systems and audio paging,” Clarkson said.
With a “soup-to-nuts” strategy, the group offers design/build services, including discovery, programming, conceptual design, design development, construction documents and construction installation.
Overall, the group bids strategically, rather than gravitating toward any specific group of customers.
“We look for projects that make sense for what we can do,” Clarkson said. “However, we have ended up being really good at transportation projects. One thing we do, for example, is video signage for bus terminals and train stations.”
The group has been involved in a number of airport projects. A job at the San Jose International Airport involved the demolition and renovation of 100,000 square feet, followed by new construction of a four-story, 433,000-square-foot terminal building with an inline baggage handling system, security checkpoints and pedestrian bridges.
In the north concourse of the Sacramento International Airport, the group was involved with electrical and telecom duct bank installation, including cabling to support the passenger terminal boarding areas and security systems. Terminal A modifications included improving flow and capacity to the security entrance points as well as upgrading the security systems and fire alarm system. With the new construction in Terminal B, the division was involved in security checkpoints, baggage scanning devices, a TSA-approved security system, the fire alarm system and significant tele/data infrastructure. Terminal C modifications included major upgrades to the tele/data, security, fire alarm and other systems.
The group is also involved in many projects related to highway and traffic monitoring, including Wi-Fi, radio and CCTV.
“We do a lot of work for [the California Department of Transportation],” he said.
The group also works with the Department of Homeland Security on projects such as CCTV networks for bridges and tunnels and radar detection systems for water-to-land intrusion.
These days, one of the Network Services Group’s most popular types of projects relates to electrical work on high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, also known as a carpool lanes or diamond lanes. HOV lanes are a traffic-management strategy designed to promote ridesharing and features a restricted traffic lane reserved for peak travel times.
“It is a lane that drivers can get into and pay to use during commuting hours,” Clarkson said. “The Bay Area has been going live with a lot of HOV projects recently.”
The group’s work involved handling the electronic monitoring of these lanes in and around the Bay Area. It just completed the work for a 101/2-mile HOV stretch of I-580.
“This was an area that really needed it,” Clarkson said.
The group is also working on an HOV lanes for a stretch of I-680.
One key to success on all its projects is working closely with others involved. These include many of its product and equipment vendors.
“Big ones for us are Panduit, CommScope and Superior Essex,” Clarkson said. “On the network side, we work closely with vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Dell and Avaya.”
The group also works closely with general contractors.
“We are part of their budgeting process from the beginning, and then we are in touch with them on daily basis during the projects,” he said. “We also work internally, connecting with the electrical side of our business on projects we are both involved in.”