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History

 

Curt Dreyer, president
and owner of Bi-State
Fire Protection.

 Focus on People

Bi-State has always believed and stressed that its’ most valuable assets are its’ employees.  With 50 percent residing in St. Charles County, the work force includes union sprinkler fitters, excavation crews (operators and laborers), shop personnel (fabricators, welders, truck drivers) and office personnel (sales reps, clerks, designers, engineers).

To encourage employee excellence, Bi-State plays an active role in the Sprinkler Fitters Union apprenticeship program. "This participation allows us to monitor the progress of future journeymen who will be working in the industry. We can promote our values to them as they learn their craft. At the same time, we improve our work force as we compete in a very tight market.”

To attract qualified design personnel, Bi-State recruits graduates from local technical schools and offers pay incentives in writing that require and reward continuing education. All design personnel are required to achieve accreditation through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). This is a nationwide program that was created and is operated by professional engineers and architects to certify competency in various engineering practices. Bi-State has more employees participating in this program than any other contractor in the country.

Innovation Sparks Success

Bi-State is an industry leader by challenging accepted business models. Here are three examples. First, Bi-State has always fabricated its own sprinkler piping. Most contractors outsource this work, attempting to minimize overhead. However, outsourcing can lead to delays in starting projects and reduce potential profit. Bi-State's new facility has state-of-the-art fabrication technology such as production threading and automatic welding equipment.

Second, there is  no struggle to find an excavation sub-contractor, having signed agreements with local operators and laborers;  equipment Bi-State keeps its crews busy year round. In turn, this work has become a significant profit generator as well as a tool for increased sales. To date, Bi-State is the only fire sprinkler contractor that does this work in-house.

Third, with a professional fire protection engineer on staff to perform in-house plan review Bi-State has become a licensed engineering fire in both Missouri and Illinois.  As a result, Bi-State has achieved a level of credibility unmatched in this area.

Contributing to the Community

Curt serves on the following boards: Orchard Farm School District and Sprinkler Fitters Union #268 Joint Apprenticeship Committee. He is also a member of  the National Fire Sprinkler Association,  American Sub-Contractor Association, St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and a member of the NFPA since 1981.

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Business Activity: Bi-State provides a product people are happy to have but one they hope is never needed.

Dreyer is president and owner of Bi-State Fire Protection Corporation in St. Charles, which designs, fabricates, installs and maintains fire protection systems for commercial,  industrial and office  buildings  as well as  institutions and residences.

Bi-State differs from most companies in the field in that it is a turnkey operation with its own fabrication and excavation services. Bi-State also has the only backhoe service in the business locally.

Bi-State works closely with major area builders on newly constructed buildings, but it also puts systems into existing structures.

Bi-State works mainly in the eastern half of Missouri and does about 20 percent of its business in southern and western portions of Illinois. By working in several cities and municipalities  the company must deal with a maze of building codes. 

Executives: Dreyer is president and owner of Bi-State Fire Protection Corporation. He started as a fire protection designer in 1969 with National Fire Sprinkler. From 1979-81, he had his own design business which he sold to Bi-State in 1981.

Joe Altheimer is Corporate Secretary.

Dan Calvin is Vice President.

Jeff Hewitt is corporate engineer and oversees project design and engineering and handles the protection consulting services.

Company history: When Dreyer sold to Bi-State the company was being run by an older man who would retire a year later.

Dreyer took over as president and bought out the original owners in October 1991. The company was in a 3,200-square-foot building in Fenton when Dreyer joined and moved to Second Street in St. Charles in 1983 into a 7,000-square-foot building.

In 1997, Dreyer had a building constructed on Hughes Lane, just off the new Highway 370. He owns the building and rents it to the company. In 2006  he purchased the building next door to warehouse inventory.

 Bi-State put a $1.6 million sprinkler system into the renovated Chase Park Plaza and several other high-profile projects, such as  the Westin Hotel at Cupples Station, and The Highlands development at the site of the old Arena as well as the Embassy Suites in St. Charles among others.

Bi-State also did the fire protection system at St. John's Mercy Hospital in Washington, Mo., and East Central College in Union.

Clayco Construction Co., Tarlton Corp., McCarthy and Paric Co. have used Bi-State as a subcontractor, and more work has been done recently with Duke-Weeks Realty.

Bi-State’s employee numbers vary impacted by seasonal and economic factors but they maintain a core group of qualified personnel year round.

Revenue: The firm's biggest jump in revenue came from $4.8 million in fiscal 1997 to $12 million in 2006.

Professional services: Alan Pohlman at Bremen Bank is the company's banker; Joe Hughes with Hughes & Associates is the accountant; Michael Sayers at Summers Compton Wells & Hamburg is Bi-State's attorney; Mary Lee Barlow at AHM Financial Group, L.L.C. provides insurance services; Renie Tuffli at The Marketing Source, Inc. provides marketing communication services.

 

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