We sat down with Mike Gottschall (one of CN’s Business Developers), Rebecca Ketelsen (President of the Sun Prairie Dream Park Board), and Jerry De Francisco (Sales and Business Development Representative at Hikvision) to learn how this wonderful story came together…
Firemen’s Park in the Prairie – affectionately known as the Sun Prairie Dream Park – was built in the summer of 2007 by hundreds of volunteers from the Sun Prairie, WI, area in just 5 days and was spearheaded by local residents. This non city-funded playground is considered a non-profit organization, maintained by a board of volunteers called the Friends of Firemen’s Park who work with the community to maintain the facilities.
Sun Prairie Dream Park is a beautiful park that’s accessible to anyone in the area. The playground equipment makes it a great location for kids to enjoy the outdoors, stay active and make new friends. Because of this, it’s important to keep the area safe. Whether it be from vandalism, injuries, or any suspicious activity, Sun Prairie Dream Park’s goal is to keep this family environment secure for everyone to enjoy.
While the park was grateful for the cameras they previously had installed by a volunteer, their setup had some very serious blind spots and pain points that needed to be addressed. Here are the main problems they were up against…
- The cameras they were using could not be accessed remotely, making live view impossible.
- The camera equipment was dated and in need of nearly constant maintenance and repair.
- Their surveillance system had an egregious blind spot that park goers knew about and were actively exploiting.
The Dream Park spent several years looking for a solution to their problems, with no luck. As a not-for-profit organization, Rebecca and the Board of Trustees were working with a tight budget which deterred most companies from helping them.
Going Above and Beyond
“I’ve been trying to get better cameras here for five years. Most companies didn’t return my phone calls and the others just didn’t give me the time of day,” Rebecca explained.
Eventually, Rebecca was able to connect with Computers Nationwide who then made it their mission to provide excellent service for Sun Prairie Dream Park. Mike Gottschall, one of our Business Developers, led the team on this project and did an outstanding job going above and beyond for the client!
“As a Dream Park, we were really working on a budget. Everything that we have to pay for, we need to fundraise for. Mike was so incredibly awesome at being patient with us, making sure we understood where we could and could not cut corners in order to have a high quality security system. He also coordinated with organizations that would be willing to donate cameras,” shared Rebecca.
The Computers Nationwide team conducted a site visit at the park to get a clear picture of the specific obstacles and challenges they were going to face in upgrading the park’s security. One of the first things Mike pointed out was the need for more cameras: “Our initial proposal was to replace all of the cameras, but with Sun Prairie being a not-for-profit, it was too expensive. So I reached out to one of our vendors to see if we could get the cameras donated.”
Instead of leaving Sun Prairie out to dry like so many other companies did before, Mike decided to connect with our Hikvision contact, Jerry De Francisco. A little background: Hikvision is a leader in innovative security technology and a long time network partner of Computers Nationwide. Jerry is the business developer for the Midwest region.
Mike shares, “I went to Jerry De Francisco and I told him what was going on. He said, ’we have a variety of extra cameras and equipment, what do you say we offer this to them?’”
Hikvision Makes a Big Donation
At certain points in the fiscal year, there are small quantities of equipment leftover. It could be unused cameras from a job or parts that weren’t sold in time. Instead of letting that equipment go to waste, Hikvision allows Jerry De Francisco and his team the ability to use this extra equipment to help the community. Whether it’s a school, a church, or a park, if there’s a need, Jerry and his team are eager to help.
“My motto for this area is that we’re not going to leave anybody hanging…we treat everybody with the same respect and initiative to take care of whatever they need taken care of,” said Jerry.
He continues, “Security is something you can’t ever have too much of. You want your security system to be more proactive than reactive.”
Putting the Pieces Together
Now that the plan for the Dream Park’s security upgrade was in place, it was time to carry out the mission. However, installing the new system came with its own challenges.
The first significant issue was that there was no physical structure with electricity close enough to the blind spot to have a camera mounted. That was until Rebecca had a friend kind enough to install a pole that ran electricity through it in order to create a mounting location for the camera equipment.
Computers Nationwide then installed nano stations in order to provide an internet connection, which is necessary to establish a live feed. Additionally, Jerry from Hikvision sent in PTZ camera equipment that allows you to zoom in far distances and move the camera back and forth. This was extremely helpful in eliminating the park’s blind spots as well.
Sun Prairie Dream Park had serious pain points and inadequacies in their security at the park that put the community at risk. They reached out to multiple different companies asking for help, but no one gave them the time of day. Fortunately, Computers Nationwide was more than happy to rise to the challenge in the name of safeguarding the community.
“For the amount of money we spent on this project, we could’ve bought a lot of really cool playground equipment. But we were willing to invest in security because at the end of the day, it’s about keeping the playground a safe place for kids to play,” says Rebecca.
A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way
With the kindness and assistance of Jerry at Hikvision, and a partnership with the local Angell Park Speedway, Sun Prairie Dream Park was able to accomplish their goal and install high quality security solutions with the robust camera equipment they needed.
Rebecca expresses her gratitude for Mike and the CN team: “I really appreciated the customer service. Mike was always checking in with me to make sure that I understood what was going on, when they were going to be here, and if we needed anything else. It was overall a very good experience! I can’t think of any other company that would’ve done this for us. I highly recommend Computers Nationwide to other organizations and nonprofits like ours!”
This story is an excellent example of what’s possible when a Managed Service Provider teams up with a vendor to get the job done and find creative solutions to any challenges that arise! Between Hikvision donating the camera equipment and Computers Nationwide only charging for the mounts and labor, it significantly reduced the total cost for the non-profit.
With all of the complexities involved, in addition to the park’s need for time to fundraise, the entire process took over a year and a half. But when faced with an opportunity to do some good for the community and improve safety, it was worth the wait.