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 (estimators, 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.
Business Activity: Bi-State provides a product people are happy to have but one they hope is never needed.
Curt 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: Curt 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.
Josh Molitor is the Vice President.
Dan Calvin is the Corporate Treasurer.
Joe Altheimer is the Corporate Secretary.
James Musgrove is corporate engineer and oversees project design and engineering and handles the protection consulting services.
Company history: Bi-State Fire Protection has been in business since 1981. When Curt Dreyer sold his fire sprinkler design company 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.
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.