Eye on the Horizon
Forward-thinking EyeSite Surveillance, Inc. fights crime with cutting-edge technologies
In 2005, Scott Carpenter decided to become a crime fighter—but not in the way you’d expect. While he didn’t don a cape or become endowed with superhuman powers, he had something better: an idea.
Scott’s idea was to revolutionize the construction site surveillance industry by replacing the traditional security guard and dummy camera approach with virtual technologies that would effectively and affordably keep customers’ sites safe.
“It was exactly one of those stories you hear about where someone says, ‘Hey, I think I’m onto something,’ ” says Dean Olson, who was approached by Scott to start a company together. “He asked if I thought it could work and I was very interested.”
Next, they approached Dave Gratton to join them; but he had one caveat: that they bring in his son Jason, an aerospace engineer who was well-equipped to tackle the critical technology development. Scott and Dean were absolutely on board with that idea.
“There really wasn’t anything new in the security space for construction at the time,” Jason says. “So, the idea of being able to leverage cutting-edge technology and package it into something that operates totally independently on a construction site was exciting.”
With a shared vision, the four owners embarked on their crime-fighting journey and EyeSite Surveillance, Inc. was born. Today, the firm is a leader in construction site security across Arizona and Texas, offering customized protection at a fraction of the cost of a security guard.
Armed with the latest solar-powered mobile surveillance units, high-res network-based cameras, video analytics and alarms, the team has secured over 3,000 job sites, is nationally recognized for assisting in the arrests and apprehensions of over 800 criminals and keeps watch over $5 billion in assets a year.
Even in the beginning, the owners (including Scott, who’s now retired) knew their business model hinged on finding the right technologies that would add value, but not price them out of the market.
To do that, Jason created an engineering department dedicated to continuously improving their equipment and searching for more efficient ways to help their customers. Over the years, as emerging technologies have developed, so too have their offerings.
Today, the team boasts customizable options that set them apart from the one-size-fits-all approach of other security companies. They evaluate each construction site and, according to its unique needs, recommend the best mix for the job.
“Our technology today is absolutely cutting edge, and it’s what I’m most excited about,” says Jason, who claims that once their solar-powered mobile surveillance units are on-site, they can deter theft and vandalism 80% to 90% from day one.
In addition to mobile units, the company offers advanced sensors, wireless video-verified alarm systems, industry-leading 3D video analytics, the latest in advanced radar technology and active monitoring to detect threats. If a threat is detected, it can be assessed via pan/tilt/zoom cameras or audio warning systems, and if apprehension is necessary, live remote monitoring can trigger a police dispatch.
“What we do is different,” Dean says. “It’s better technology, it’s a better approach, it’s better-quality service. And there’s a better group of people behind it all pushing it forward. We just believe in this company so much.”
With thermal cameras that can see across long distances in zero light conditions and video analytics that can differentiate between a human being, animal or vehicle, superhuman crime fighting truly does seem possible.
The team’s tailored, high-tech and cost-friendly approach has paid off. Business in Arizona grew so quickly that Dean estimates the company’s market share in the area was well over 90% within a few short years, and has held steady even as the team continues to expand into the major markets across Texas.
That growth comes at a time when EyeSite Surveillance’s services are especially needed. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that, on an annual basis, theft and vandalism from residential construction sites total more than $4 billion and commercial construction sites see more than $1 billion in heavy equipment theft.
“It’s shocking, but we see it every day,” Dean says. “These are strong statistics to fight against.”
But they don’t fight them alone. The company works side-by-side with local police departments to catch criminals, and its wireless video verification equipment is endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association.
EyeSite Surveillance has also created opportunities for crime fighting by expanding beyond traditional construction sites and into local communities. In June 2019, the Mesa Police Department launched a test project that placed EyeSite’s surveillance cameras in high-crime areas, which has already resulted in a number of apprehensions and arrests and a 90% drop in 911 calls in areas where the units are located.
EyeSite Surveillance’s status as a good Samaritan is also evident in its support of children’s and veterans’ organizations through its participation in construction associations. A veteran himself, Dean is perhaps most fond of Operation Finally Home, which builds homes for American military personnel and widows of fallen soldiers through donations for everything from the plot of land to building materials.
He and the EyeSite Surveillance team place their mobile units outside the houses that are being built so that soldiers and their families can log in to the company’s website and see the home’s progress throughout the build. The company also records the ribbon-cutting ceremony and puts a video compilation together to give to the family.
“We’ve been there when these soldiers walk into their homes for the first time—and it’s a very emotional, powerful thing to witness,” Jason says. “We just love being a part of it. These guys have given up so much, and being involved is a lot of what our company philosophy is all about.”
Diamonds in the Rough
While the owners may have set out 14 years ago to become crime fighters, they say it’s their people who are the true heroes. The company’s received national recognition from the American Subcontractors Association for “Excellence in Ethics” from 2014-2019 for the way its team strives to uphold the highest ethical standards in business.
“It’s such an honor because it truly reflects our company,” Jason says. “We have really honest, hardworking people who just want to do the right thing. This award recognizes that.”
Whether it’s getting employees together for Top Golf, go-kart racing, bowling or barbecues, the owners of EyeSite Surveillance make it a point to let their team members know how much they’re valued.
That’s evident when you speak to employees like Ray Shaffer, who was hanging drywall when he first came to work at EyeSite Surveillance. Today, he oversees operations in the Arizona and Texas markets and is responsible for the company’s strategic growth plan. In his years at the company, he says the owners have never changed their philosophy of how to treat people.
“EyeSite is unique,” he says. “When I found them, I’d fallen on hard times. I was 21 years old, rough around the edges and had little experience, but I knew how to work hard. I don’t know where I’d be if they hadn’t opened the doors for me and helped inspire me to do better.”
Dean says that people like Ray don’t come to EyeSite Surveillance by accident.
“We look for diamonds in the rough,” he says. “They don’t necessarily have all the education on paper, but they’ve got that drive. They show up and do their best and they’re always willing to learn and try new things. That’s the kind of people we look for.”
Symbols of Safety
As the company continues to grow, people in towns across Arizona and Texas have started to take notice of the iconic EyeSite Surveillance banners that proudly hang at their construction sites. Those banners have come to symbolize something not so different from the Bat-Signal that shines over the skies of Gotham City, letting people know they’re safe.
“When people recognize that banner, I know we’re doing something right,” Jason says. “We’re not just out there turning the crank and making some bucks. We’re protecting the people who live and work here from theft and vandalism. It’s a reminder to me that we’re part of these communities, and that we’re fighting for them.”