Caterpillar Dealer Undergoes Security Metamorphosis

One of nature’s most awesome phenomena is when a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. A different kind of caterpillar, Carolina CAT, recently underwent a similar metamorphosis. The heavy-duty equipment dealer had its minimal, outdated security system replaced with a comprehensive, integrated, networked access control, video surveillance, intrusion and fire alarm system that spans multiple buildings and locations.

“Originally, we were primarily looking to replace and upgrade our old CCTV system, which had really become unusable due to equipment failures,” says Carolina CAT Facilities Manager Rod Munday. “As we were evaluating this system, we recognized that our burglar and fire alarm systems were also getting outdated. So we decided to completely upgrade all the systems and tie it all together.” 

Guiding Munday, the IT department and Carolina CAT management through the process was Enterprise Security Systems (ESS), a Charlotte, N.C.-based systems integrator. In an instance of excellent timing, just as the end user was reassessing its security needs it was referred to ESS via a neighboring business that was one of the integrator’s satisfied customers. 

“The older legacy system they had was a proprietary system that was showing its age, breaking down and requiring lots of service,” says ESS President Kurt Kottkamp. “In addition, they’d been having some theft and vandalism problems in the area, and wanted to implement a more comprehensive system that was easy to use.” 

The solution designed and installed by ESS quickly paid off dividends for Carolina CAT by dramatically reducing criminal activity and helping police ensnare an intruder. Authorities have credited the video surveillance system with assisting in the identification and capture of a serial burglar, saying it was “amazing” and produced “unbelievably clear” images. 

Overall, the system includes an ID badging, alarm management and access control system, intrusion and fire controllers, digital recorders, fixed and pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras, wireless transmitters, proximity access cards, an IP server and physical turnstiles. Find out how everyone involved worked together as a cohesive team on a system that covers five buildings at Carolina CAT’s Charlotte-area headquarters and is remotely tied into another five facilities throughout the state.

Family-Owned Business Was Established 80+ Years Ago
Just about anyone exposed to a construction site has seen the bright yellow tractors, work vehicles and other equipment embolden with the Caterpillar® name. For more than 80 years, Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. — originally founded as Caterpillar Tractor Co. — has enabled human progress on every continent as the leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. The company recorded revenues of $41.5 billion in 2006. 

One of the oldest of Caterpillar’s more than 200 dealerships is Carolina CAT, which was founded in Salisbury, N.C., as Carolina Tractor by B.V. Hedrick, W.C. Heitman and W.S. Jobe in 1926. 

In 1930, L.M. Weisiger, an equipment dealer in Hickory, N.C., bought into the company, became the majority stockholder and later the sole owner. He was committed to supporting the state’s growth by supplying equipment to the construction, road-building, utility and mining industries. In 1965, he was succeeded by his son, Edward Weisiger, who turned the company over to his son, Edward Weisiger Jr., in 1991. 

Today, Carolina CAT has 12 locations and is one of the Carolinas’ largest privately held corporations, offering a full line of construction products, material handling equipment, engineered systems, truck engines and power generation systems. The Charlotte location serves as a sales, rental and repair center. 

Security Concerns Grow to Match Area’s Population Explosion
Charlotte and its surrounding communities comprise one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Charlotte ranks No. 7 in the nation among areas with populations in excess of one million with 14.6-percent growth from 2000-2006. In 2006 alone, more than 80,000 people relocated to the Queen City region. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, growth has brought with it a rise in unsavory characters and crime. 

Located just a few miles north of Downtown Charlotte, Carolina CAT has not gone unscathed by the changing landscape. In addition to worrying about safeguarding its multimillion-dollar inventory of vehicles and equipment, as well as its people, the business had become victimized by break-ins to employees’ and visitors’ cars and vending machines. Something had to be done.

“The nature of our business requires a pretty open environment at our facilities with customers bringing in and taking out large construction equipment,” says Munday. “There is a lot of activity and movement of people and equipment. The security system allows us to better regulate employee-only areas and to monitor all of our operations. I am certain we would have had more crime if we didn’t have the system, especially with the increase in crime in Charlotte.” 

Achieving that system entailed a unified effort among ESS, Munday and his IT specialist that evolved out of the integrator’s analysis of existing systems and infrastructure, evaluation of the client’s security issues and needs, and subsequent recommendations. 

About the Author

Contact:

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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