Burr Ridge company focuses on high-rise security
Arnold Arredondo of Darien, managing partner of High Rise Security Systems in Burr Ridge, demonstrates how to use a control panel for a fire alarm system in the office. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Name: High Rise Security
Owner: Arnold Arrendondo
Address: 15W278 N. Frontage Road, Burr Ridge
Clients: Harpo Studios, Navy Pier, local hospitals, schools, churches and businesses
Numbers: About 50 recurring electrical contract customers, manages fire security systems for 100 properties
Updated: April 29, 2013 6:06AM
BURR RIDGE — A fire in a high-rise building can quickly become a life or death situation.
Since 2004, High Rise Security Systems, a fire alarm equipment distributor and professional services company in Burr Ridge, has worked to ensure the security of buildings, including high-rise developments, in the Chicago area.
“We’ve literally sold thousands of systems, mostly through electrical contractors,” said owner Arnold Arrendondo. “We recognize that your fire alarm system has to work when it’s needed. We make sure that it does.”
To maintain its Underwriters Laboratory certification, the company must commit to a maximum four-hour response time to a trouble condition for any of its customers or clients. In reality, the average response time is less than two hours, even on holidays and weekends, Arrendondo said.
For instance, on New Year’s Eve several years ago, the company received a call for a trouble condition in the north air traffic control tower at O’Hare International Airport. During the previous week, the weather had been cold, but had become significantly warmer, creating dense fog and soggy conditions underfoot.
“The ground felt like a sponge,” Arrendondo said.
The crew was able to identify and correct the cause of the problem — moisture that had seeped into an in-ground conduit — within two hours, and with no disruption to flights at the airport, Arrendondo said.
“They don’t want any trouble in their central systems. Air traffic controllers depend on them,” he said.
Arrendondo grew up in Little Village. He attended Loyola University, but was soon drawn toward more technical training, eventually earning an associate’s degree in electronics from Taylor Business Institute. He went to work for DRK Electronics, a fire alarm manufacturer in Aurora, manning the 800 number phone lines and helping customers troubleshoot problems with their fire alarm systems.
Arrendondo went on to work for System Sensor in St. Charles, in a technical capacity, but shifted gears to work in direct sales, where he was assigned to the Latin American market. He also worked with the Notifier division of Honeywell, interacting with dealers internationally. Having obtained both technical and sales experience, he decided to launch his own fire security business.
Arrendondo had a friend in Florida whose company was called High Rise Security, so he claimed the name in Illinois for his new company. The name was a fortuitous choice, as was Arrendondo’s timing. After the deadly fire in October 2003 in the 69 West Washington building in the Loop, security and fire safety became a primary concern across the entire Chicago area.
“The fire, and even 9/11 affected big city construction,” he said. “Redundancy became really important. Companies needed to have skills and products to met those needs.”