Breaking Down Barriers
Securetech Fence Systems renewed social approach to high-performance secured perimeters
Meeting customer expectations is not all about a product or service; it’s about how that product or service is developed and delivered, according to the talented and focused fence aficionados at Securetech Fence Systems, Inc. (Securetech).
In fact, a conversation with Anthony Ortega, President, and Robert Canteline, Vice President, Co-Owners of Securetech, likely will encourage creative and innovative ways their team members can design and build quality automated gate systems, security fencing, anti-ram barriers, architectural partitions, and high security wire mesh modular fencing for data centers with cost- value design awareness without compromising structural integrity, function or aesthetics. However, their focus is on evolving professional purpose.
Anthony explains, “We’re doing business in highly disruptive times. Last year, the political and social unrest topped off by a pandemic made us, as a company, stop and think about how we do business. I was taught that success is all about taking care of the customer, but I’ve learned that taking care of the customer can come at the price of sacrificing the needs of employees and our company.”
He further notes that while he and his team, of course, want to deliver products and services with quality and speed, he’s not interested in sacrificing his employees to achieve that goal.
“So we took a pause in 2020 and reassessed who we are at our core and how we want to operate,” Anthony says. “We haven’t changed how we do business in terms of quality, speed and customer service, but we’re more focused on each other. We’re more appreciative of each employee’s contributions, and we have a far better awareness about the personal lives of each individual. We’ve become more socially aware and responsible. Like safety, it’s a continuous improvement process.”
The company’s heightened employee awareness has translated well beyond discussions about hand sanitizers and masks for personal safety, or mindfulness of racial or gender bias, to a greater thoughtfulness toward each other, customers and the community.
Robert agrees, adding, “We’ve found that caring for our colleagues has invigorated the company culture of creativity and innovation and, in turn, has made us an even better service provider.”
When asked specifically about how a more introspective focus on employees has changed the way the company does business, Anthony looks to his people. “During our 2020 reassessment, we weren’t looking to dictate to our employees what they needed, but more importantly, we were listening and asking, ‘How can we help?’ and ‘What can we do to help you accomplish your tasks?’ ” Anthony says.
So for instance, during the pandemic, instead of just sending everyone home to work on personal computers, the company’s IT specialists went to each employee’s house to see how they could help improve accessibility, Wi-Fi speed, security, etc.
Network Administrator Prince Dzambukira has managed all IT activities for the company for the last six years. He believes that enhanced focus on employee needs is an integral part of why he works for the company.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Prince met Anthony and his son at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in 2013, where Prince was working on a visa for a year. What started as a common interest in wildlife evolved into an appreciation of two very different cultures. Fast forward two years, Prince visits Anthony in San Francisco and the connection grew, particularly when Anthony learned that Prince is a self-taught, highly skilled computer and technology guru. Prince joined the company in 2015 and has since become an integral member of the team.
Prince says, “What I appreciate the most about this company is that we all feel like we are part of the family— I felt that from the very beginning. When the pandemic came along, we were all separated from each other, and the adjustment was difficult. We had to adjust but keep our sense of family intact.”
“Like many other companies, we’ve had to adapt a lot in the past year with an emphasis on helping each other and working together better,” Robert adds. Finding that balance requires an understanding and appreciation of individual personalities, and giving them the freedom to grow, personally and professionally.
“We haven’t changed how we do business in terms of quality, speed and customer service, but we’re more focused on each other. We’re more appreciative of each employee’s contributions.” Anthony Ortega, President, Securetech Fence Systems, Inc.
Opening New Doors
With its talented employees, Securetech is a turnkey solution provider of security fences that offers cost-value design and estimating, project management and planning, and onsite construction and fabrication services—capabilities that are critical to organizations now more than ever.
Anna Arbis, Estimator and Project Manager for Securetech, started with the company four years ago, initially part time, working on CAD drawings and submittals for potential fence projects. To some, this role might seem a little off track for a woman with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architectural design experience.
Anna disagrees. “Fencing, surprising to some, requires creativity to ensure both aesthetic appeal and durability. Coming up with solutions requires some flexibility and the autonomy to make independent decisions about projects.”
She recalls one recent project that effectively demonstrates those requirements—and Anthony’s willingness to let his employees push boundaries. An automated 6-stage tandem-gate project came up for a bid that was particularly interesting to Anna. She explains, “It was 180 feet of gates, 90 feet on each side for Google. We had never built a tandem gate this size, and automation on a gate that large can be problematic and unreliable. But I knew we could do it.”
That automated gate was completed last year and continues to work efficiently and dependably.
It’s also one of the largest in California.
Anna is also expanding her knowledge about materials. Just recently, she completed a project that required laser-cut panels.
She says, “Even the manufacturer loved the results. I really appreciate that he [Anthony] allows us to push boundaries and continually explore new materials and systems. For all of us on the design and installation team, it’s about quality work.”
Senior Project Manager Andres Anaya agrees, noting that he appreciates the freedom to work independently as well as the opportunities to learn. “We’re given the tools and the freedom to take responsibility for our careers and the company. My area of focus is technology related to security systems, and there are always new certifications and educational seminars that come up. Not long ago, Anthony asked if I’d heard about an upcoming seminar in Texas, which was particular interesting and offered advanced training. I said yes, but I’m pretty busy. His response was, ‘You’re always going to be busy—go!’ Anthony’s motto is that there is no time like the present to take advantage of training. It’s a reinforcement of his interest in my professional growth.” Both Anthony and Robert believe that the key to happy employees is creating an environment of creativity and learning. Anthony adds, “We appreciate individuals willing to take on projects outside the norm, but to do that, they have to feel comfortable pushing boundaries. We believe we can build any fencing solution for our customers, and we give our team the independence to make it happen. Andres and Anna, like the others on our design and installation team, are very thorough and willing to take on those challenging design projects that have a high degree of difficulty.”
The two do their part to build knowledge and skills, as well. Just recently, the company had a medical professional come in and give all employees COVID awareness, CPR and First Aid training.
So how has the 2020 pause changed Securetech’s business approach?
In today’s environment, theft, disruption, vandalism, violence, riots, protests, active shooters and the possibility of a terrorist attack are all real concerns for public and private entities.
About three-quarters of Securetech’s business comes directly or indirectly from general contractors working for big names like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. The company designs and installs all manner of fence systems—from chain link and ornamental iron to high security wire mesh systems, vehicle crash barriers, safety bollards and complex gate automation, for structures ranging from data centers to municipal buildings, tech facilities and sports complexes.
Rafael Amezcua Jr., Senior Project Engineer for Securetech, and one of the company’s first hires, believes that Securetech’s culture of care for employees directly translates to great products and better customer satisfaction. He manages all field crews with three installers per crew.
“The owners make it easy to continually stay on top of new advances and training for everyone,” he confirms. “I’ve been installing fences since I was a teenager, so over 20 years now, and I still love what I do, largely because of the work environment at Securetech. That pride of ownership, both in the expertise of my teams and the final product, I believe, results in a high-quality final product for our customers.”
Securetech’s repeat customer numbers are upward of 99 percent.
Anthony concludes, “Within our company, the last year has been about raising awareness and understanding our people’s needs better so that we can continually improve our work environment. I firmly believe that our internal refocus will allow us to better meet customer needs and hopefully do our part to break down the barriers that exist in the world today.”