Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

The World Trade Center (WTC) site is hallowed ground in Lower Manhattan, yet throngs of people flood the acreage that used to be occupied by the Twin Towers. As people hurry from one exhibit or reflecting pool to another, security is probably the last thing on their minds.


It is, however, the first thing on the minds of the team members of Securitas Electronic Security, Inc. (SES), formerly Diebold Security, the security firm that has provided electronic security solutions and services for several of the projects for buildings at what used to be Ground Zero. SES works with all key stakeholders including the agencies, building owners, contractors, consultants and tenants to ensure consistent, comprehensive and seamless protection. The intense security work at the site has included multi-phase, multi-year projects that require a highly orchestrated effort by all and a partnership with many.

Inside the Freedom Tower, SES provides electronic security for the largest tenant, the headquarters of an iconic American global media publishing company. As an integrator, it is quite an accomplishment to help provide protection for that building and its largest tenant. For this and other WTC site projects, SES has relied on a centralized, programmatic approach to ensure compliance, standardization and best-in-class operational delivery. Over the years of SES’s involvement, the SES Engineering Center of Excellence, located in Elmsford, N.Y., has been the central foundation for its success at Ground Zero.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be part of these security efforts from the ground up,” said Tony Byerly, president Securitas Electronic Security. “Our team in New York has been working and partnering on security for this sacred site from early on. Success has come because of the strong coordination of the entire construction project management team.

“The types of projects and the remarkable scale and integration required at this type of site allows us to showcase the true value and capabilities of our Center of Excellence, and our field operations delivery,” Byerly said.

The projects have included a wide variety of environments and technology applications. Security integration includes a wireless mesh network, video, access control, thermal cameras, biometrics and more. The technology and product brands span most of the industry’s leading suppliers as well as customized solutions.

The electronic security solutions are complimented by physical security elements. SES works diligently with the contracted security guard company to ensure a holistic and coordinated effort between the electronic security of the building and the security officers that check every visitor, guest and employee on a 24/7 basis; thus providing full control over the physical movements within each building.


SES knows security and has been involved in the business for more than 150 years with its Diebold legacy and now as part of Securitas. Headquartered in Uniontown, Ohio, with Securitas AB, its parent company, located in Stockholm, Sweden, SES is part of Securitas’ North American business, which generates more than $4 billion annually.

Diebold Security began providing elements of electronic security at Ground Zero in 2008. What they have accomplished since has been impressive, to say the least. With Securitas acquiring Diebold’s North American electronic security business earlier this year, the same SES team continues to provide security solutions and services to its customers across North America. In 2015, during the Papal visit to New York City, the Pope visited four sites secured by SES electronic security systems, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The integrator’s expertise and capabilities have provided SES the opportunity to secure some of the most prestigious accounts in the NYC metro area.

“The work we are performing across New York City highlights the level of sophistication and integration expertise that SES is known for across North America,” Byerly said. “The programmatic approach we offer is very unique, our field operations teams are highly skilled and the capabilities and competency of our Engineering Center of Excellence is truly unparalleled.”


Construction at the 16 acre WTC site continues at a feverish pace as the various phases continue to develop what will be the final recreation of Ground Zero. This creates its own unique circumstances, including the balance between finished areas / buildings and full hard-hat construction zones. At the start and peak of construction, more than 10,000 site workers would come through gate entrances to their various jobs. Having a secure and fast way for workers and delivery material to enter the site was a top priority for the key stakeholders. It was a challenge that SES helped solve. An outdoor perimeter fence, with access control and video surveillance, was the initial security on the site and portions of it remain operational today.

“Our experience in construction environments has given us strong insight on the success factors required for the complexities of the work,” said Kevin Engelhardt, SES senior vice president of field operations. “By focusing on communication, coordination, scheduling, budgeting and the customer’s requirements, we are able to develop a project plan that ensures success.”

At Tower 4, SES provides a complete electronic security solution for the building, and offers security options to office tenants to customize solutions for their unique needs that can interface with the base building security. SES has been involved with this building since construction commenced and continues to service the site today.


The WTC Transportation Hub remains the largest security project within the complex. The multi-million construction project is ongoing, while the subway continues to shuttle masses of people to various destinations, including locations in New Jersey. The projects and all of the work at the WTC site is not possible without the decisions, input and coordination of key stakeholders, which includes the Port Authority, Silverstein (the developer), NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority police, the office tenants in each of the towers and other contractors on the site. The complexity of such a project environment is an enormous undertaking for any company.

“There is no better example of a prolonged, highly complex, intensely secure and critically important multi-faceted enterprise security project in the world,” Byerly said. “To be involved is more than an honor, but to have the skills, resources and capabilities to deliver on such a project is the real contribution we seek to make.” In fact, SES was presented a commemorative flag which was flown over the World Trade Center complex on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in honor of the SES team’s efforts at Ground Zero.

For SES handling their portion of the work in such an environment is what truly makes the company unique. The project work is implemented through a centralized, programmatic approach made possible by the SES Engineering Center of Excellence (CoE). Many manufacturers have a product showroom and some integrators have an area where they can display these products themselves. The CoE is quite different and unique in the security space. It is a hub of constant activity, building panels and testing them for implementation. The CoE can create both customized enterprise solutions, as well as prototypes for standardization, to meet the unique requirements of each customer. “The SES CoE is where the magic starts and where customer satisfaction is guaranteed at the project completion, because of everything the CoE does in between,” said Damon Kanzler, senior vice president of centralized services & business operations at SES.

Every component that is expected to be part of the security solution is tested to ensure it works in the proper setting and with other equipment. All the design work and pre-fabrication is completed at the CoE. Staff at the CoE are also able to take the field drawings of an installation and reduce all the information to one page, also known as a field termination matrix. Implemented only by SES, some panel boxes have what is known as the “Danny Box.” An innovation from Danny Putnam, SES vice president of engineering & Center of Excellence, the control panel has an internal component swing hinge/gate added, providing more room and efficiency for a new panel setup.

“We balance customization and standardization in our engineering approach,” Putnam said. “First we ensure that we understand the customer’s requirements, then we develop a solution that is unique to the customer, after which we engineer and document the solution so that from that point forward, we have standardized implementation and operation.”

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Security Today.


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