Smart and Sustainable Electrical Solutions

Facility Solutions Group
Written by Ryan Cartner

Facility Solutions Group (FSG) began in 1982 as a specialty lighting distributor selling lamps and lightbulbs under the name American Light Bulb and Supply Company and has since expanded into providing a wide variety of other services. The primary focus then, and still to a large degree today, was to go beyond the role of a typical distribution role by promoting new technologies and creating lasting relationships with customers.
Facility Solutions Group’s unique approach in taking a partnership role and building long-term relationships with its customers has enabled it to secure return business through a focus on serving ongoing monthly maintenance needs and service-related transactions.

A large customer segment for the company is the real estate industry, working with property owners and managers. By 1986, the company could see that there was a need within its customer base to outsource lighting installations and so it began installing and servicing what it sold. FSG had ambitions beyond being a lighting service company, and so it continued to expand its services to cover more of the needs of its customers. It began to offer electrical services beyond lighting and, over the years, expanded to include electrical repair services and also electrical construction work.

Today, after thirty-five years, the company is still in the lighting and electrical contracting business but has grown even further with specialized business units covering the diverse services it offers. There is a unit that works in the network infrastructure space doing cabling and wireless installations. There is an audio and video services unit that works with communications installations for conferences rooms, training facilities and more. There is a signage unit that does traditional and digital signage and an energy unit that designs enterprise energy management systems. These expansions have resulted in consistent financial growth for the company which has crossed over $100,000,000 in sales in 2002 and $500,000,000 in 2016.

FSG recognizes its employees as a key asset to its profitability and puts much trust in the company leaders at each of its business units and the management teams at each of its locations.

There are twenty-seven brick and mortar locations around the United States out of which FSG operates, most of them in large cities, and each has a market leader whose responsibility it is to utilize company resources to grow the business in its market. The company’s reach goes beyond those locations through satellite offices and remote activities to the entire United States, Canada, and now Mexico. Altogether FSG employs around 2,200 people, and that continues to grow.

Four foundational ideas are threaded throughout the culture and operations. The first of these is quality in products, services, and support. This means focusing on total cost of ownership over the entire lifetime of a product or solution rather than focusing on how to offer the lowest upfront cost to a customer.

The second pillar is quality of life, and FSG approaches this with a servant-leadership model. The company understands the value of willingly contributing to the quality of life of its employees, its customers, and its vendor partners in the communities in which it works.

Putting an honest effort into improving the lives of its partners gives way to the third pillar which is helping those partners find a path to unlimited achievement. FSG wants its employees to have satisfying careers with room for advancement and to help provide growth opportunities for vendors and customers who want to grow with the company.

Finally, the fourth pillar is a return on investment. When the company is successful, it wants to be sure that everyone involved receives fair returns on the investments made.

The synergy across FSG’s business units gives the company a unique advantage in the industry. Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Bob Graham has been with the company for thirty-three years. “Our primary goal is to create relationships with owners, stakeholders, and organizations both large and small. Being able to help them with lighting, integration of new technology, supply that and then offer to install those products, handle the warranty, continue to be a trusted advisor, when you put all those things together it can be a significant advantage.”

The sheer scale of the company is another way in which FSG sets itself apart from the competition. The overall size of the company and its national footprint enables it to work fluidly with large national organizations. If it works on a project with a company in a particular region or city, it can easily expand that relationship across that company’s entire operation. Being able to secure these larger projects is a result of FSGs reputation for success and quality.

This reputation can be seen in the many industry accolades it has received. In June of this year, the company was recognized by EW Magazine as the forty-fifth-largest electrical distributor in the United States. Last year, it was recognized by The Electric Controller and Manufacturing Company as number fifteen in the top twenty electrical contractors. Electrical Wholesaling Magazine recognized FSG as the fifty-third top contractor in the country. The company is consistently considered one of the nation’s top companies in the industry, and it works diligently to maintain that reputation.

One example of the impressive work the company has been involved in was a $5,500,000 signage project at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas, formerly the Cowboy’s Stadium. FSG was hired to build and mount the colossal new sign that accompanied the name change. The eleven characters in the name AT&T Stadium were designed and built to the client’s specification. Each character is forty-three feet tall, weighs five thousand pounds, and is outfitted with 36,000 LEDs. These gigantic steel structures are mounted on top of the stadium’s roof. A number of wayfinding, sponsorship, and AT&T brand signs were mounted around the parking lots and inside of the stadium as well.

Another project that really showcases FSG’ performance in meeting deadlines and capacity for scale is the work the company did on the Lincoln Tunnel between New York City and New Jersey. The Port Authority hired FSG to install 2,400 lights in under two weeks. The client imposed a very strict deadline for the company to finish a week before the Super Bowl that was coming to the new stadium in New Jersey for the first time. The project required five crews working graveyard shifts and was completed on time against all the odds.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is a world-renowned research facility with an important place in the history of American science. The facility needed more efficient lighting, but because of the buildings historic significance, the organization wanted to preserve the original lighting fixtures. FSG was hired on a $1,000,000 contract to design a retrofit LED solution. As a result of the new system, the overall lighting load was reduced by seventy-eight percent which was twenty percent more than the client had expected.

FSG’s energy management unit helps companies manage energy spending through the implementation of its Clarity™ energy management system (EMS). The Clarity system, once implemented, can be used to monitor and track energy expenditure across a company’s entire operation. The system can be scaled from one facility to thousands to suit businesses of all shapes and sizes. Using this, a company can gather information about how it uses energy and implement changes to optimize its operation and improve its performance.

Circle K hired FSG on a $13,000,000 contract to install the Clarity EMS across its entire enterprise. One significant advantage of the system is that it can be seamlessly integrated into an existing electrical setup. Using Clarity, Circle K is now able to monitor all of its stores, which has resulted in greatly improved efficiency and lower energy costs overall. To the surprise of the facilities director for Circle K, the maintenance cost savings are on par with energy cost savings. Having access to detailed information graphs about each of the stores allows it to minimize unnecessary dispatch calls. Even one or two of these calls per store, at $300 per dispatch, adds up.

FSG has expanded throughout its history to meet the needs of its clients in many varied ways. The company has demonstrated an incredible ability to adapt and grow and has built an impeccable reputation for quality service and a skill for solving the most difficult problems. For FSG, failure will never be an option.



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