Waterbury, CT, accepts system as E. F. Johnson trims losses, wins several large contracts
The city of Waterbury, CT, has formally accepted the radio communications system supplied by the E. F. Johnson Company subsidiary of Lincoln, NE-based Transcrypt International.
Acceptance was announced on June 6, and it covers the installation of a two-site, 800MHz Multi-Net II simulcast trunked radio system that provides communications for Waterbury’s police, fire and other public safety agencies. The system supports 1,000 units, including mobiles, portables and mobile data terminals.
Lt. Gary Stango, commander of communications, records, property and IS divisions for the Waterbury Police Department, said that he was impressed with the work performed by Johnson since the contract was let in March 1999.
“There are bugs in any system, and when you begin construction, it can be necessary to vary from the paper plan,” Stango said. “Johnson was attentive to our needs. They worked hard; they were here; and they made whatever modifications were necessary to complete the new system and make the transition from our previous system.”
Using NPSPAC frequencies that were identified in 1994 and licensed after a lengthy process ending in 1998, the system uses trunking for voice communications and a dedicated frequency for mobile data. Johnson installed the mobile data system, which was supplied by Dataradio.
“I put public utilities on the system first,” Stango said, detailing the rollout. “We started with street, water, refuse and all other non-emergency departments to help test the system. That’s where we worked the bugs out. Next to cut over was the fire department. The police department has been on the system since July 2000.”
Radio Communications Associates of East Granby, CT, provided consulting services for the project and wrote the bid. RCA’s owner, Robert Fairbairn (firstname.lastname@example.org), praised Johnson’s involvement.
“During construction, many things came up that weren’t Johnson’s problem, but they had to resolve them for us. In those cases they were very helpful. In my 36 years in the business, I’ve never dealt with a vendor that was so good. Their project managers were their strength. There was nothing done that was an effort to glaze over the fact that something didn’t work,” Fairbairn said.
“I’ve dealt with all of the other manufacturers, and I really have to commend Johnson. Waterbury was a big project involving much more than just the radio system, and the logistics of putting the center together created some of the problems that they helped to resolve,” he said.
Michael E. Jalbert, Transcrypt’s chairman, commented: “We are pleased to be a part of the team that has brought state-of-the-art communication equipment to the city of Waterbury. As a result of the collaboration between E. F. Johnson and the customer, we are able to provide and support a system that will offer a high level of protection to the residents of Waterbury.”
Dave Hattey, Johnson’s general manager, said, “The completion and acceptance of the system in Waterbury confirms the project team’s tremendous job of serving this customer and displays our focused attention on resolving legacy challenges. Our centralized efforts in optimizing system design and performance, while firmly supporting our customer base, are reinforced once again with this latest announcement.”
The acceptance of the Waterbury system is good news for Transcrypt, still recovering from the effects of lawsuits brought on behalf of shareholders and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, all of which have been resolved.
Johnson gained ground in May with a $900,000 order for radio and control units placed by Nexterna, Omaha, NE, a company that serves railways, motor transport companies and utilities with computerized systems that sometimes use two-way radio links. During the same month, Johnson landed a $2 million contract to supply a communications system to the State of Santa Catarina Police Department in Brazil. Another $2 million contract announced on April 30 covers a system integration project for Chester County, PA.
Transcrypt posted a net loss of $25.4 million during 2000, including a $2.3 million adjustment of intangible assets and a $12.4 million reduction of its deferred income tax asset. Before these adjustments, the company incurred a net loss of $10.7 million.
The company appears to be making headway in trimming losses, as it reported a loss for the quarter ended March 31 of $0.8 million, compared to a net loss of $3.3 million for the comparable period last year. First quarter revenues were $9.6 million, compared to $11.4 million for the first quarter of 2000. Revenues at the Johnson subsidiary and Transcrypt Secured Technologies division were $8.3 million and $1.3 million, respectively, in the first quarter, compared to $9.7 million and $1.7 million, respectively, in the same quarter of 2000.
“We are very pleased with our first-quarter results as we begin to realize the benefits of changes that were implemented during the second half of 2000. The first quarter’s gross margin of 38% was at its highest level since the fourth quarter of 1999, and our operating expenses, at $4.5 million, were 17% below the corresponding quarter last year,” said Jalbert. “With our enhanced focus on our core competencies and effective cost management, we expect to continue our efforts to improve our financial performance in the year 2001.”
Meanwhile, Jim Hanno has joined Johnson as vice president of sales, moving up from a consultancy role he has filled since November 2000. Hanno will administer the company’s commercial, state, local, and international sales organizations. Hanno was major account manager for Ericsson for several years.