Q&A: ILA Great Lakes Chapter President Pete Dinschel

Pete Dinschel answers Locksmith Ledger’s questions about his job and the access control system used at his workplace, the Carpenters Training Center.


In 1996, I met Carl Dean and became an Ingersoll Rand Certified Installer Trainer. In 1997, Carl got me a seat in the two traveling Ingersoll Rand Architectural Hardware Technical Schools - one called Products and the other caller Openings. An actual installer was rare in these classes. I met well-known personnel with whom I still communicate today - ¬¬Carl Dean, Lloyd Seliber, Pete Brenia, and George Nimee to name only a few.

Let’s talk about access control at the CTC building.

OK. In 1998 because of attending the IR traveling schools, John Callery of Schlage gave the CTC a Schlage e.Primus battery-operated L-series mortise lock to evaluate. It operated only with iButton credentials and could be programmed manually with colored “control” iButtons or with primitive Schlage software (primitive by today’s standards). The lock came with a three-day training class in Security, Colo., at the Schlage factory. In a very small class, I learned how to install, program, and maintain the lock. This class also included going into a clean room at the factory and each student building a D-series version e.Primus lock. I met Jim Farr, a Schlage engineer who I have contacted over the years many times with questions.

I installed the single evaluation mortise lock on our CTC main facility staff entrance and it quite literally changed our lives.

I hope manufacturers, representatives, and suppliers continue to offer evaluation products to facilities, it works. We have sure bought a lot of product.

Prior to this lock, only five people had keys to our facility. There were times when none of the five showed up to let the instructors or students into the building (Murphy’s Law). This was back in the days of no cell phones and pagers. An instructor would have to go to a gas station pay phone and call a couple of the key holders to find one that could divert from what they were doing to open the training center.

Using the electronic lock and its software, the administrators allowed several other instructors to have daily access to the building. The software allowed a specified access time and an audit of who was entering.

In 1999, this was expanded to additional D-series e.Primus locks and iButtons for all the CTC staff. We were still limited to just a five-second access at this point, no toggling the lock into or out of passage mode. For several months, a few stubborn staff would not use their iButton credential, entering either by following someone else through the open door or walking to the usually-open overhead dock doors to enter the building. Everyone was granted access when they needed it; day, evenings, weekends, or a combination of the three.

This has evolved into 135 Schlage software controlled (SMS-Select) battery operated access control locks with 150 iButton credentials. Many staff members have no hard keys (mechanical keys) for our facilities, just their iButton credential allowing access (as allowed by the administration) to classrooms, shops, faculty rooms, lecture halls, janitor’s closets, and lunchrooms. I’m proud to say we have assistant coordinators that can give complete facility tours in our various centers (the main facility being 195,000 square feet) with just their iButtons; they have never been issued Primus master keys.

Can you tell us more about the time zones for staff access?

This is one of the most interesting parts of setting up an access control system. The locksmith, institutional or commercial, needs to understand the various facility operations to create the appropriate system. All the software packages have the capability for time zones, but none comes out of the box for a specific facility. In our case:

1) The office staff needed daily access day hours.

2) Some of the full-time instructors needed daily access day hours, some instructors daily access day and evening hours, and some instructors daily access day and evening with Saturday access

3) The administrators and maintenance staff needed either 7-day day & evening access or 24/7 access. This quickly evolved into nine time zones.

We have since added new time zones as needed and now have 39 different time zones in our system. Our time zones are for exterior openings only, interior door access (if allowed for an opening) is 24/7.

Art and I attach a personalized one-page note with all newly issued iButtons indicating:

1) their time zone

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