This is Part 2 of a six-part interview series with FreeAxez CEO Earl Geertgens on the company’s history, Gridd, building design and cable management, the evolution of raised floors and the future of flooring.
Workspace Infrastructure Solutions
The Gridd Raised Access Floor Cable Management System is designed to solve the many problems of cable management in today’s work environments. It is designed to be one of the most adaptable workspace infrastructure solutions for any organization.
Gridd raised floor systems provide a way to structure cables and wires by tucking them neatly under the floor. It eliminates the problem of jumbled cable spaghetti.
Gridd puts an end to messy, labor-intensive ceiling cable drops. No more unsightly wires hanging from the ceiling. No more power poles taking up space in the office. No more routing cables through walls.
With Gridd, adds, changes, repairs, and reconfigurations are quickly and easily accomplished.
Following, we continue our conversation series with Earl Geertgens, CEO of FreeAxez.
Interviewer: How do your clients save time and money using FreeAxez’s Gridd flooring?
Earl: Lots of ways. Our system is installed at a rate of 1,000 feet per installer, per day. That’s three or four times faster than with traditional post and panel flooring. The cycle and scale of what can be produced in a day by a crew of 8 installers could be upwards of 10,000 square feet in a day.
We recently did a project for a large company that converted a big box store into a call center that was approximately 130,000 square feet. The job was installed in 11 days. The Gridd and Gridd Power were both installed in this facility, and there were something like 1,000 or 1,400 seats in one big, monster room. If you can imagine such an immense space with that number of cubicles, that’s what it was.
Interviewer: Who typically contacts you with interest in FreeAxez systems? Is it architects, end-users, IT groups or other types of people?
Earl: It’s all of the above. Again, being a system that doesn’t fit into a certain category as people are researching what their options are, it seems like we used to be contacted by the junior architect who is being directed by the senior architect to kind of research this stuff. They would call us without knowing why. They didn’t even know what this was all about. So, it was a bit of a swimming-upstream kind of conversation, because we ultimately have to get the principals of the firm on the phone in order to show our system to them. But to answer your question: architects and end-users are definitely the primary folks. But builders, estimators, electricians, IT people, interior designers—you know, all kinds of folks—can serve as primary contacts.
Interviewer: Who on the project team benefits from using Gridd?
Earl: There are about 11 different organizations that will benefit, which makes Gridd probably the single selection of a building product on the contractor or the architect’s list that affects more people and more organizations than any other.
We will affect everything from the owner and the architect; to the builder, the general contractor, the electrical engineer; the electrical contractor, the low-voltage engineer, the low-voltage contractor, the audio-visual integrator, the furniture manufacturer and the furniture installer. So, as I said, there are 11 different organizations that’ll be affected by us and how they deliver their scope of work.
Interviewer: Project management and order fulfillment is critical in commercial construction. Talk about FreeAxez’s support and capabilities.
Earl: Project management and order fulfillment are critical in commercial construction. And interestingly enough, I don’t think any other building product manufacturers focus on this like we do. FreeAxez is completely committed to the successful delivery of projects. That means, even though we’re the manufacturer, we are in the business of construction. Most building material companies make stuff, ship it, and then somebody else worries about whether it goes in right or not. Do you understand what I mean?
Earl: Okay. So, because our system is new, unique and is not a commodity, it has required us over the past 20 years to do a fair amount of coaching and heavy lifting to make sure that those 11 organizations, which I was referring to before, will all have a feeling of comfort and confidence that their issues are addressed and they know what they’re doing.
That’s what order fulfillment is to us. That’s what project management is to us. And it’s a very serious business. It is very laborious. But for us, it is our passion, it is what we do and it is how we have succeeded to whatever the level of success we’ve had up until now. This is the success. We have cool products, but our real success comes from how we think and our willingness to go the extra mile.
We are, firstly, actively engaged with the design teams, providing drawings and specifications, while participating in pre-coordination meetings. We then engage with the construction team, where we impart guidance, training and tech support to the contractors installing the product to the workspace.
When Gridd and Gridd Power are installed, we’re not finished. We stay engaged with the building’s occupants, teaching them how to maximize the benefits of their own system, and advising them through all moves, adds and changes.
Every project is completed with the same level of management, and every client’s order is fulfilled for the purpose of building a long, strong relationship.
Interviewer: …Which boils down to pleasing everyone in the chain.
Earl: Exactly. The final essence of our product—simplifying the 11 organizations I spoke about—is to provide a positive impact to all stakeholders of a project. From the designers and integrators, to the builder, and finally, to the end-user, Gridd and Gridd Power bring harmony to all. That’s our passion.
FreeAxez has a lineup of impressive products that solve the problem of adaptive cable management, making Gridd one of the best workspace infrastructure solutions. In Part Three of this interview, Earl Geertgens will discuss these products and their uses.