This is Part 5 of a six-part interview series with FreeAxez CEO Earl Geertgens on the company’s history, Gridd, building design, workplace cable management, the evolution of raised floors and the future of flooring.
The Applications of Cable Management in the Workplace
The Gridd Raised Access Floor Cable Management System, GriddPower Floor System, and Gridd Mobile Augmented Reality can be used almost anywhere.
Here is a list of some businesses that can benefit from these revolutionary products:
- Commercial Offices
- 911 Emergency, Surveillance & Control Room Operations
- Conference & Training Rooms, Computer Labs
- Universities, K-12 Schools, Classrooms, Libraries
- Museums & Displays or Exhibits
- Computer/Server Rooms
- Hospital & Medical Facilities
- Stock Markets
- TV/Radio/Recording Studios
FreeAxez has provided the Gridd Adaptive Cable Distribution System to many of the world’s top corporations, organizations, universities, and government facilities for their electrical and cable management needs.
Following is a short list of clients:
- Corporations: AT&T, Google, Lockheed Martin, Pepsi, Walmart
- Healthcare: Bayer, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, National Institute of Health, United Healthcare
- Universities: Penn State, Rutgers, Stanford University, US Military Academy (West Point), Yale
- Government Facilities: Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, National Park Service, San Francisco International Airport, US Capitol Visitor Center
- US Military: US Air Force, US Army, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Marine Corps, US Navy
- And many, many more: Bayer Crop Science, Chicago Police Department, Mastercard, National Public Radio (NPR), Racine Unified School District, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, 18th Judicial District Court
We pick up our conversation with Earl Geertgens as he discusses the many applications of FreeAxez’s workplace cable management products.
Interviewer: Where are Gridd and GriddPower used, and what type of buildings can benefit from these products?
Earl: Gridd and GriddPower were really invented with the intention of getting wires out of the drop-ceiling, corporate offices have historically had here in North America—out of the ceiling, out of power poles and out of the system’s furniture itself.
We are not a disruptor to traditional raised access flooring. We don’t consider the traditional raised access floor to be a competitor for us, and we shouldn’t be considered a threat to them.
But what we are disruptive to is the cable management industry that historically, since the 1970s, has been embedded in the systems furniture arena. For all the major furniture manufacturers—while we’re not a threat to them as a company—we are arguably a threat to them in terms of wire management, thus possibly decreasing the value of their sale.
Interviewer: Do you have distributors, dealers, and installers? Which trades install Gridd and GriddPower?
Earl: Let me start with the last part, first. The trades that install Gridd and GriddPower would be split. The Gridd portion is typically installed by either a carpentry or floor-covering group. When it comes to union installation, it’s installed east of the Mississippi by carpenters, which have a subgroup of floor-covering contractors. People who put carpet and vinyl down would install Gridd.
GriddPower is our 50 Amp electrical bus system. It’s typically—and we encourage it to be—installed by the electrical contractors.
When it comes to distribution: We have no distributors, but we do have dealers and installers. The distinction I would make between the two is that we have trainers who are employed in-house. They go out and train and do quality-control visits for dealers and installers. Dealers generate the opportunity; installers might get the opportunity because the general contractor asked them to look into us. But they might install it, and we would train them to install it.
Interviewer: Now tell us about your clients and a few of the interesting projects FreeAxez has delivered.
Earl: A lot of times, people think of a raised access flooring system like ours as a niche product—a computer room or a data center kind of a product. Adaptive Cable Distribution and Gridd are used in lots and lots of different projects. It was invented for Class A office space to get the wires out of the ceiling, the power poles and even assistance furniture.
The kinds of projects that we’ve done range from Google’s headquarters at Moffitt Place in Sunnyvale, California—six buildings, eight floors each, have been 100% outfitted with Gridd and GriddPower, throughout.
Netflix’s headquarters in West L.A. has the entire building—with the exception of the first floor—outfitted with both Gridd and GriddPower. These kinds of headquarters projects, I would say, are pretty fun and interesting.
We’ve done things in New York City and New Jersey like ABC, NBC, CBS, all the broadcast studios.
At the San Francisco International Airport, we’re in the TSA screening area, where a really cool project—Turner Construction—cut out two and three-quarter inches of concrete with concrete saws and jackhammers so that they could recess Gridd into an existing floor. And we’re in the whole TSA screening area; it’s about 15,000 feet of space. Gridd is in other airports, like up in Boston at Logan International Airport.
The U.S. Border Patrol uses us in its Emergency Operation Center. British Airways uses us in their lounge with marble on top of the floor. We did an awesome project in Washington D.C, called the Museum of the Bible. It’s several hundred thousand square feet of our floor. We’ve done projects nationally for Wells Fargo and Bank of America. We’re in over a hundred colleges and universities; it’s a pretty diverse thing. We’ve done casinos in Macau, which is west of Hong Kong, and projects for U.S. military and embassies around the world.
In Part 5 of our Interview with Earl, he’ll talk about FreeAxez, the company’s competition, the awards it has received, and its vision for the future.