The city of Bridgeport officially welcomed its security technology provider A+ Technology and Security Solutions Inc. on July 12 in a crowded ribbon-cutting ceremony at the company’s first satellite office outside of its Bay Shore, N.Y., headquarters.
The two have been working together since 2014 when the city tapped the company to develop a $2.65 million surveillance system that would allow it to reopen Pleasure Beach, monitor several parks and upgrade security systems across its municipal buildings and 40 public schools. The project also included the $1 million building of a cutting-edge security operations command center in the city’s Margaret Morton Government Center.
“Bridgeport is actually a leader in not just the region, but a leader in the nation right now as far as security technology,” said Jorge Garcia, director of the tech company’s New England operations.
Garcia worked for the city for 21 years and was formerly the director of public facilities and construction management. He worked closely with A+ throughout the phases of the project.
Company President David Antar said Bridgeport was the right place for the firm’s new 7,000-square-foot office at 1027 Fairfield Ave. given the city’s turnaround efforts and need for technology companies.
Currently employing a staff of seven, Antar said the company aims to expand to a total of 20 employees this year.
Bringing in business should not be a problem, Garcia said.
“Our pipeline is super strong right now, we have a ton of clients,” he said. “People are calling us.”
The company’s Bay Shore facility employs 85 people. Despite a relatively small staff and physical office presence, the company’s technology has a vast footprint.
According to Antar and Garcia, A+ surveillance systems can be found from the Royal Palace in Afghanistan and U.S. Embassy in Honduras to the city of San Jose in California, Fort Myers in Florida and throughout 1,000 buildings in the town of Islip, including MacArthur Airport.
Its smart classroom and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) labs are in hundreds of school districts, particularly in New York where the company is the largest provider of digital video surveillance in school districts. The company has including 500 STEM labs in New York City schools as well as technology in 14 of the 23 State University of New York campuses and an array of higher education institutions.
Antar puts a particular emphasis on the importance of STEM and has plans to bring more than jobs to the city with its education products and initiatives.
“The problem is the U.S. doesn’t compete well with the rest of the world. We only graduate one engineer for every 10 engineers that graduate overseas, so we are losing the technology battle,” he said. “What we are trying to do as an organization is to get kids excited about tech and engineering at an earlier age. We introduced our STEM labs into kindergarten, first, second and third grades.”
In addition to commitment to hire locally, Antar said the company will be drawing on local high school and college students for internships.
“From there we hope to hire them and then we hope to do business with these schools,” he said. “It is a little bit of an ecosystem we’ve created.”
The partnership with Bridgeport has been ongoing with a recent housing project to allow automated door control as well as wireless video surveillance for Bridgeport’s public housing authority. Mayor Joseph Ganim announced at the ribbon cutting the company’s technology would play a role in the city’s new “war” on blight and illegal dumping.
Garcia said A+ plans to further integrate its technology with the city to include traffic cameras and citywide surveillance.
“The arrival of A+ Technology to Bridgeport is a very good day for our city,” Ganim said in a statement. “We’re glad they chose our community as the location to open this facility, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”