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Unified Systems Group Inc.: Celebrating 20 Years of Results-oriented Service
Unified System Group Inc. (USG) started out with just two employees in a garage but over the course of 20 years, USG has leveraged a results-oriented approach to become Alberta’s foremost specialist in structured cabling. USG provides the gamut of telecommunications and data infrastructure services and the company sets itself apart from the competition by supporting the client throughout a system’s lifecycle. And the company delivers confidence with every system by pledging to deliver systems that will be able to handle not just today’s and tomorrow’s needs, but systems can be easily adapted to accommodate new technologies.
“We call ourselves a small company, but I guess that’s not technically true when you have over 100 employees,” chuckles George Tamminen, vice president of finance at USG. “It’s just that we really grew from the ground up and our original owner is still here so we maintain the attitude of a small business.” Truth be told, USG’s capabilities exceed those of even the model small business. The company maintains headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, as well as branch offices in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, Alberta. USG primarily work with clients across Alberta, but the company has recently begun venturing as far as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
USG provides the gamut of cabling services and specializes in the low voltage areas of electrical contracting. USG designs and installs a complete infrastructure to support both cabled and wireless systems and USG technicians are equipped with the latest technologies to ensure the system performs as promised. The team employs state-of-the-art equipment to automatically install and splice fiber optic cables that comes equipped with a Sumimoto remote interactive maintenance system to detect and diagnose any issues remotely. USG enlists the help of an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) to reveal any loss of transmission stemming from a break in the fiber optic cable or a shortfall in cable slicing.
Finding a Balance
USG works only with commercial and industrial customers and roughly 35 to 40 percent of all of YSG’s work volume comes from the Fort McMurray oil sands area, according to Tamminen. “We opened the Fort McMurray office around 2006 because there are thousands of people employed there and the need for quality, stable communication services is great and constant,” expands Tamminen. In turn, USG employees are often called upon to establish networks in remote areas and in temporary operations bases, which will often require the team to help relocate systems as operations migrate.
If a situation arises and USG can’t personally send a representative fast enough, the company will call upon a loyal network of reliable subcontractors and cabling colleagues. As a general rule of thumb, USG prefers to perform as much of the work as possible, but the company maintains a short list of like-minded, qualified contractors to step in an supplement the USG team’s manpower, especially on projects with a hefty high-voltage component. “It’s a very reciprocal relationship,” adds Tamminen. “When they need us, they call and vice versa.”
To that end, USG supports its clients and its employees as one of the few structured cable providers with a Certificate of Recognition (COR) from the Alberta Construction Safety Association. The COR program provides a backbone of workplace health and safety training that certified members can build off of to address specific concerns in a given industry or on a specific jobsite. In many cases, clients will stipulate that COR certification is required when putting a project out for tender and USG’s certification ensures the team will be more than equipped to execute a project safely.
Safety First and Forever
To boot, USG arms its installation technicians with Condux fibre* jetting equipment. The equipment uses compressed air to allow teams to install fibre cable at the rate of up to 90 meters per minute in an air-sealed duct. The equipment includes a patented traction control system that can sense when a fiber slips or becomes blocked, which automatically triggers a system shut down so as not to damage the cable or put the safety of the operator at risk.
USG’s total commitment to workplace safety has also made it a prime choice for projects requiring an extra dose of logistical coordination. “We do a lot of data and security system work for the Royal Bank of Canada across Alberta so we’re definitely experienced when it comes to projects with both safety and security sensitivities,” states Tamminen. In 2012 alone USG completed a 2.5-year long project at the Edmonton International Airport before beginning work at the Calgary International Airport, both of which require USG to comply with an extra set of security measures.
The extra sensitivity also comes into play with USG’s public sector and commercial retail customers. USG also works with public sector agencies like the Calgary Police Service and the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, providing both installation and maintenance services to ensure systems remain in peak operating conditions. The company also works with many clients to install and maintain the cabled infrastructure behind point-of-purchase systems and the necessary data and voice systems to support a network of locations across the nation.
In the next few years, USG is poised to continue expanding its presence in the Saskatchewan markets, while maintaining relationships with clients closer to USG’s Alberta offices. No matter where the team wanders though, the company’s wholehearted commitment to workplace safety and lifecycle system service will ensure the Unified Systems Group Inc. name stands for quality and results-oriented service.