Integration Rises in Phoenix

The New York Giants were not the only victors of Super Bowl XLII. Behind the scenes of professional sports’ greatest spectacle was another winning team — one that helped ensure the safety of the 73,000+ rabid football fans who descended upon University of Phoenix Stadium. Its name: Benson Systems.

The Gilbert, Ariz.-based integrator is the primary electronic security provider for the mammoth Westgate City Center mixed-use community that includes the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Arena, where the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes skate, a convention center, retail stores, hotels and a residential district.

Benson Systems designed and installed a networked security system backbone to support the entire development. It includes IP video surveillance, a command and control center, IP card access control and monitoring, and intrusion detection.

The “super” system recently earned Benson Systems, whose founder and CEO Shawn Benson was aptly an all-star quarterback during his high school days, the security industry’s equivalent of the Lombardi Trophy — SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION’s 2008 Integrated Installation of the Year Award.

The firm captured the crowning achievement announced during SSI’s SAMMY Awards ceremony in Las Vegas April 1. Convergent Technologies of Schaumburg, Ill., was runner-up. Benson’s winning entry demonstrates extraordinary skill and acumen in design, engineering and installation.

Established in 2002, the Integrated Installation of the Year Award program judges entries according to innovation; systems design; integration of at least three electronic systems; seamlessness of installation; uniqueness of application; and end-user satisfaction.

With the Westgate project, Benson Systems has been thrust into the limelight by scoring with a solution of uncommon quality, ingenuity and merit. Huddle up for an inside report on an installation that is the stuff of champions. 

Clients Put First, Kept Well Informed

Launched in 1986, Benson Systems has grown from its humble beginnings with a small leased office and warehouse space to become one of Arizona’s leading systems integration companies. Today, it occupies the 56,000-square-foot Benson Corporate Center, has more than 6,000 clients and expects to earn $12 million in 2008.

The company provides integrated fire alarm and sprinkler, video surveillance, access control, and intrusion solutions to the commercial and industrial marketplaces. The sprinklers are handled by a new division that also provides fire pumps, private fire hydrants, hood systems, fire extinguishers and required system inspections. Monitoring services are contracted out to Arizona Security Control.

The company’s great success and low account attrition rate of 3 percent is the result of keeping customers happy. According to the firm’s president, one of the two key ingredients of that winning formula is Benson Systems’ seasoned personnel and familial culture. 

“I am fortunate to have several people who work for me that I went to high school with,” says Benson. “My V.P. of operations, Mitch King, is a lifelong friend. I have known David Calhoun, director of my service department, since high school. Most of the upper managers have been with me for 10+ years. We have many technicians who have been here for over a decade.”

The second quality that helps set Benson Systems apart is its commitment to not just superlative customer service, but also to truly informing clients so they feel like they are active participants in their security solutions.

“I have had many customers tell me they chose our company because we went to great lengths to educate them about the products, whether they are what we suggested or recommendations from competitors,” says Benson, who is NICET Level 4 certified. “We offer side-by-side comparisons and let the customer choose what works best for them.”

That approach has allowed Benson Systems to cultivate long-lasting relationships built on trust. It was just that sort of relationship with Phoenix’s NHL franchise that helped the integrator get an inside line on the Westgate project, site of the hockey club’s new arena.

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About the Author


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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