Colorado Springs, Colorado
As the behind-the-curtain wizard of professional audio, electronic and physical security, life safety systems, advanced control systems and information transmission systems used throughout the world, LVW Electronics is, in many ways, a "one-off," says Griffith.
The company's components, software, and controls power digital A/V systems at the Pepsi Center and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and the company has installed its patented A/V systems in courtrooms nationwide and "elation lighting" in a chapel. Even the White House communications office uses LVW Electronics-designed audio controls to ensure presidential speeches are flawlessly broadcast.
High-profile projects like these, however, represent just 20 percent of the company's receivables. The bulk of LVW's $20 million annual revenues were the result of prime or subcontract government products and services. "The non-glamourous work we do allows us to do the glamour [projects] which are typically few and far between," says Griffith.
Examples of behind-the-scenes jobs in include supplying security controls, systems and equipment for the nation's aqueducts, pumping stations and reservoirs -- or the electronic surveillance systems that protect U.S. military installations. International projects have included security systems for Japanese satellite facilities and perimeter security systems for the U.S. Army in South Korea.
One growth area includes both public and private facility and infrastructure security. Retailers, hotels, and banks, for example, depend on secure data systems and controls across all platforms. In one 2014 breach, Griffith explains, a national discounter's electronic HVAC controls were hacked, eventually enabling access to customer data files. LVW engineers build SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) command-and-control systems for hundreds of commercial, government, and military users.
Founded by Griffith and fellow veteran and LVW President John Borchert -- both engineers trained in low-voltage wiring -- the company trains its employees to stay abreast of ever-advancing technology.
Project teams are encouraged to be creative. "If a client has a great idea, if something needs to be fixed or invented, we figure it out," Griffith says. Employees must attend bimonthly training classes to stay abreast of advancing technologies.
LVW's technicians and engineers also design components used to build audio towers and digital video equipment. "We do have supply chain partners but frequently it's more cost-effective for us to make our own electronic components since we also service our own work," Griffith says.
So far the ability to handle projects from initial design, prototypes, testing, installation, and service has paid off. Griffith points out that even during tough recessionary times, the company has operated in the black and experienced year-over-year growth since 2008. "We've always been able to get work," he says.
Challenges: "Staying up to date on all the latest technology industry twists and turns," Griffith says. "Another is to understand our market -- how customers use and expect to use the technology we provide. As a small Colorado Springs-based firm with business in every state, Japan, Korea and other Pacific rRm areas, a big challenge is to figure out how to get people, materials, and products where the need to be, when they need to be there."
Opportunities: "The marketplace has rebounded in the past few years, locally and nationally," says Griffith. "We're seeing more and more demand for our solutions and services. Increased interconnectivity of devices that control our facilities, offices, homes and even entertainment venues creates a shifting demand for companies like ours. You have to truly understand the underlying technologies and how to make them work together."
Needs: Griffith explains, "Our greatest need, always, is skilled, talented qualified people to come work for us. It seems like more we grow, the more work we get, and the limiting factor is commonly whether we have enough of the right people."