Leading the Field in Quality, Safety, and Style

Engineered Openings
Written by Pauline Müller

If the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of interesting doors is Bilbo Baggins’ enchanting front door in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, you are not alone. Considering the sterling work of Engineered Openings, Inc., the concept of engineered openings takes on new meaning, leaving one with a renewed appreciation of the highly engineered installations that give us access to whatever discoveries await beyond.

Engineered Openings, Inc. is the go-to provider to construction design professionals and project owners in search of the ordinary and the extraordinary in custom architectural components like bespoke window frames, architectural doors, and their associated hardware and other products in North Georgia and beyond. Certified as a Woman Owned Business in 2013, the company has a product offering that is as diverse as its team is modern, dynamic, and capable.

The secret to the company’s three decades of success in a highly competitive industry resides in delivering quality on every level. It is also committed to ensuring its people excel in continuous education as it keeps its products and services in tune with changing trends and market transformations.

At home in Alto, Georgia, the company primarily serves commercial enterprises, government departments, churches and other places of faith-based gathering, schools, and health care facilities. As such, the team is well-honed in establishing clients’ exact needs to deliver on the vision efficiently every time. Sisters Deborah (Debbie) Purcell, Chief Executive Officer and President, and Rhonda Purcell, Vice President and Lead Estimator, run a respected legacy company. In 2020, Debbie, a Certified Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC), received a Fellow Award presented to her by the National Door & Hardware Institute for outstanding service throughout her career.

As safety plays a significant role in the company’s product development, fire and other potentially hazardous elements are top of mind throughout its range of doors made from traditional materials like hollow metal and wood. There are also doors made of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP), a fiberglass material introduced in the late 1930s, offering tremendous strength and moldability despite its surprisingly light weight. Today, doors made from this material are often treated to look like wood but offer the benefits of a non-porous, weather-resistant resin base.

According to Debbie Purcell, developing fire doors first became a matter of urgency following a devastating fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Killing nearly 150 adults and children employed by the factory, the tragedy spurred engineers and local government to develop safety codes, practices, materials, and doors that would prevent such wholesale slaughter. While 23–29 Washington Place on the New York University (NYU) campus still exists, today it is a considerably modernized building in terms of safety.

As an enthusiastic supporter of the NFPA-80, the standard fire safety code, every three-year upgrade sees Engineered Openings, Inc. adapt to tighter rules and regulations. That includes educating customers on how such doors are to be treated in situ, especially in hospitals where health insurance companies can tie payment conditions to passing successful safety inspections and prerequisites. With her finger firmly on the pulse of new and existing legislation and safety requirements in the industry, Debbie Purcell is an expert advisor on the subject.

The company also has an extensive portfolio of proud projects in Georgia built up over the past 30 years. Some of the schools it has served include the fine arts complex at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, West Jackson High School in Hoschton, Habersham Central High School in Mt. Airy, Shiloh Elementary in Snellville, and many others. While the company takes every project equally seriously, the idea of supplying good quality engineered openings to schools where education becomes a key to people’s futures establishes a beautiful metaphor for opening doors in the grander scheme of things.

And, while opening doors is a good thing, in some cases closing doors is also a matter of importance—as with the contracts Engineered Openings, Inc. has completed for correctional facilities, for instance. Key examples include the Clayton County Police Department in Riverdale and the Jefferson Station Police Department and Public Library in Jefferson. The company has also worked with other public properties like North Hall Community Center in Gainesville and Hartwell City Hall in Hartwell.

One of the company’s more romantic-sounding jobs was a contract it completed for Mulberry Creek Community Center and Park in Flowery Branch a few years ago. Now, the 22-acre space is home to just under 30,000 square feet of community-based space where adults, children, and pets come to socialize and blow off steam. Complete with gymnasiums, a fitness center, access to arts and crafts and dance facilities, and pickleball courts, the project was most certainly one where this fun team could have a field day applying its expertise.

As we know, life is not all fun and games, however. At times, our own health or that of loved ones comes under the spotlight with the odd routine or emergency visit to hospitals. In such cases, it is good to know that the bones of the building one is admitted to are equipped by professionals who know their trade. Some of the hospitals and medical centers the company’s work features in include Athens Regional Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Cumberland Medical Center, and the East Georgia Medical Center.

While passing through doors may seem like an ordinary occurrence in a day, humans traditionally attach tremendous symbolism to the act when it comes to life’s pivotal moments. Historically, grooms carried brides over the thresholds of open front doors into their new homes, while advisors and mentors tend to philosophically remind one that when one door closes, another opens.

From this perspective, Engineered Openings, Inc. has not only spent the past 30 years opening doors for its customers but installing them. By offering its customers choice and effective solutions alongside top safety standards, the company has been contributing to the comfort and safety of Georgians in a significant way. In a time when markets are changing fast and technology is entering every sphere of construction, the knocking of the past may more commonly involve pushing a button or waving a hand across a sensor these days. But either way, the team at Engineered Openings, Inc. is always ready to welcome new customers through their doors.

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