Pepro: Protecting Expensive, Sophisticated Communications Equipment
Major strides have been made in computer and communication technology—but comparatively little has been done to protect all that sophisticated equipment from the random and often disastrous effects of Mother Nature.
Pepro is a worldwide leader in protecting sensitive, expensive communications equipment from lightning strikes. Or, as Pepro’s CEO Victor Garmong puts it, “Everyone’s communications equipment works on a nice day. Our system is there for the stormy days.”
The Oil City-based company develops and manufactures innovative shielded enclosures that can handle a 50,000-volt direct hit with less than half a volt getting through to the equipment inside. That’s not even enough to power a flashlight bulb. The technology also protects against EMI and RFI interference.
This technology is exclusive to Pepro, and the company holds three separate patents for it. The revolutionary units can be installed permanently or temporarily in urban, rural or remote locations. First responders such as emergency medical services, fire, rescue, law enforcement and many others rely on communications to respond and manage emergency situations. The structures are especially important in situations where EMS or other emergency workers first arrive on the scene and contact is vital. When regular communications systems go down, Pepro can restore emergency communications within an impressive 20 minutes.
Going Green for Onsite Renewable Energy
Located in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, the company has grown considerably since its start in 1992. Over the past eight years, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania (BFTP/CNP) has provided Pepro with a variety of funding and business services, including accounting and pricing help, inventory tracking, strategic planning and Peachtree manufacturing software support.
“We are grateful for the funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners along with the other support that includes things like market research and project management,” says Garmong. “BFTP/CNP has even helped us acquire a new sales representative. They have been there for us, and we are thankful.”
BFTP/CNP’s most recent investment in Pepro was in late 2008, to help them develop a new wind turbine and solar tower to power its communication units. This is very important in isolated locations that are cut off from the utility grid. “We work to ensure communication. If the worst should happen, people need to know that they can still get in touch,” says Garmong. “Our technology is valuable to emergency workers and other agencies that need constant communication. Providing a renewable source of power is critical to this mission.”
The state of Pennsylvania received its first state-of-the-art mobile communications unit from Pepro. It has a 65-foot tower, is located in Venango county and services Crawford, Clarion, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. It will provide communications for emergency responders whenever and wherever they need it in that seven-county area of northwestern Pennsylvania. This breakthrough in technology and promise of communication during any situation is a welcome addition to the area. The communications tower can be used in the event of a disaster or power outage or set up for use during a large, planned event. Pennsylvania now possesses its own.
An Expanding Influence
In recent years, Pepro has expanded throughout the state of Pennsylvania and beyond. The U.S. Forestry Service, a national organization, is one of Pepro’s largest customers, and they have installed Pepro-engineered enclosures in remote locations such as Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.
“Ben Franklin Technology Partners really gave us a boost,” adds Garmong. “They have helped us in many areas. With their help, we have formulated our products so they help everyone—from gas companies, wireless providers, park services and local agencies—to communicate with almost no downtime.”
Keynotes October, 2009
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