This article is sponsored by FCi.
FCi is one of those enduring locally owned companies that has become increasingly rare in today’s global market.
With modest beginnings, FCi launched in 1995 as a telecom solutions and cabling company. But customers wanted more without having to shop around. In 1999, FCi began building its commercial security division, which today spans design, integration and training for IP-based security solutions (including access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection). That led to a wireless division, CTS-certified audio-visual services, digital signage and other complementary services.
FCi has grown into a truly all-in-one solution, deserving of the tagline, One Company, One Call, One Team.
Customers include facility operators and business managers for public and private-sector organizations large and small throughout the National Capital Region. No matter their size, FCi has been privileged to serve each and every one - meticulously earning trust and loyalty one job at a time.
Like all successful companies, FCi recognizes it’s the enduring support from these customers that ultimately made it possible to get to where it is today. The heartfelt appreciation here runs deep and is very much ingrained into the corporate culture.
FCi has a unique culture that builds loyalty and thrives on teamwork. This has proven its worth in spades during the pandemic. FCi is considered an essential service and it took an all-hands-on-deck effort to adapt and ensure the safety of its 150+ employees and its customers.
“There is a different feel working here compared to other companies,” said Bruce Buckland, director of sales. “You don’t feel like you’re just a number.” And neither do clients, he added. “Why have we expanded the business into the areas that we have? Because we cater to our clients and we have the right people to work those lines of business and build those relationships.”
This culture begins at the top and is premised on a personalized entrepreneurial approach to delivering customer service. While FCi’s management team divvies up the usual executive titles, the emphasis is on as flat a management structure as possible.
“There is this teamwork spirit we have, but also a natural kind of comfort where everyone is invited to contribute,” said John Saull, president and chief operating officer. “We practice an open-door policy with no true hierarchy.”
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Investing in people
“In our industry, we are one of a few companies to invest in our people as much as we do,” added CEO Mike Fleming. “We invest in both technical training and professional development at all levels of the organization. When a member of our team is onsite, the client will assume they know the technology, it’s the impression our team member leaves behind that makes a big difference.”
It’s these engrained core principles that have truly stood the test of time for Fleming and his four partners – David Sheldrick, Stephen Lee, Jeff Hodgins and Gaston Carreau. Their time together has led to enduring friendships that extend well beyond their business success.
The partners are quick to emphasize that this success did not happen alone – it was only made possible by the commitment and dedication of each and every member of the team. They whole-heartedly agree that they owe a big thank you to everyone at FCi.
Deep bench strength
The team has a spread of about 50 years between the youngest and oldest members. That’s a wealth of knowledge that can be brought to bear for a client’s benefit.
“The average tenure at FCi is 15 years plus,” said Carrie Fleming, director of client services and marketing. “A lot of people came in with those roots in telecommunications and have evolved with the company.”
Those who leave, for whatever reason, often find their way back.
For example, Brady Akeson, vice-president of business development and client relations.
“The reason I came back was the relationships,” Akeson said. “We all grew up together in the industry, we all have known each other for a long time.”
What’s the result? Richard McMullen, partner security solutions, sums it up this way:
“We are a proudly local company with the ability to punch outside of our weight class,” he said. “We have a lot of experience and expertise and we work with a lot of talented partners in this space. We are community focused – everyone who works here, lives here. All of this has made FCi responsive to our clients in a way that I think is unique in the Ottawa market.”