We just recycled about eight shelves full of those, but we still maintain hundreds of old pot type LCN, Russwin, Yale, Corbin, Norton and other door, floor and overhead closers.
We also have an in house paint booth that meets EPA requirements. We can paint without the smell or overspray causing problems.
How are after hours and emergency calls handled?
Usually emergency calls are called into our police department, referred to as Public Safety. They contact me first. When I receive the call, I'll contact one of our locksmiths who live in town. Occasionally, I'll run the call myself, but I've got a great crew and usually I've got three or four guys who are willing to run the call when I contact them with the information.
Do you or your locksmiths get involved in planning and development of new buildings or remodel jobs?
Yes, we write building standards for all projects. We review all specifications on any major remodel or new building. We are notified of all upcoming jobs and review the plans to make sure we're getting the type, style and grade of hardware we want on campus. Contractors must submit a bid with one of our three primary hardware vendors.
Because we can't sole source, we'll limit new hardware choices to one of our three primary manufacturers: Schlage, SARGENT or Best. Because we're a state agency, we must provide three choices. This allows us to keep adequate stock on hand for repairs and upgrades. If we can stock those three instead of seven or eight, it simplifies our stock requirements and maximizes our budget.
The only exception to that rule would be a ‘match existing' project where we have a building full of Yale and want to maintain that keyway and style of hardware in that building.
Do you get involved in other consultation work regarding campus security?
We try to work with other departments when they come to us with a security problem. By keeping track of new and innovative products in our industry, we can sometimes solve an old security problem with a brand new product.
Most campuses suffer a crunch time at the beginning of the school year because students are moving in all at once. Since you don't do student housing, do you still feel the crunch?
Absolutely. Usually the remodel and construction work is scheduled to begin the day after classes let out and continue through the summer. Most of it is scheduled to wrap up right before opening day. Departments and grad students use a lot of office space on campus.
When new students hit campus you suddenly have a whole list of office rekeys, keys that don't open the door they are assigned to, doors that don't close properly, etc.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
Like a retail lockshop, the biggest thing I face is handling the large volume of calls on a daily basis. Although we have eight locksmiths, it becomes difficult to get everything done in a timely manner and handle the emergencies too.
If everybody is fully scheduled with jobs, I have to pull someone off a project to handle the emergencies. Likewise if I hold someone out to wait for an emergency call, not only does the call not come, but there are other jobs not getting done in the meantime.
We operate with a shop of eight locksmiths. If you take me out of the mix, we're down to seven. Since I'm currently short one person, I'm down to six. I've got one locksmith that does nothing but key inventory, so I'm down to five.
One guy does nothing but repair, repaint, adjust and rebuild door closers; that gets me down to four. Now if you figure that two of those four are normally charged out to other departments for rekeying and repair orders, I'm down to two locksmiths to run the rest of the campus.
Finally, if you recall earlier, I mentioned our great benefits package. I've been here long enough to get five weeks of vacation per year. So have three of our other employees. That adds up to 20 weeks out of the year that at least one of us is on vacation. That's five months! When you throw in everybody else's vacation, sick days, holidays, etc., I'm many times down to one available locksmith.