Engineer Profile: Terri Mousel of Fox Valley Fire & Safety
Since being founded in 1960, Fox Valley Fire & Safety has sought to provide customers with unmatched service and dedication. Initially, our founders worked out of a basement, selling and servicing fire extinguishers one at a time. After 55 years in the industry, Fox Valley Fire & Safety is now a leading provider of fire suppression products and services in the Midwest U.S.
Employing a diverse and knowledgeable staff is integral to our commitment to customer satisfaction. Each day presents a new challenge in fire protection, but our experienced team always rises to the occasion.
Terri Mousel is the Engineering Manager and Lead Engineer of Fox Valley Fire & Safety. She’s been an invaluable team member for the past 33 years; during her tenure, Terri’s responsibilities have included designing fire alarm and suppression systems, delegating in-house workflow, and fielding technical inquiries.
Education is important to our company, and as such, Terri was gracious enough to offer insight about her role in the following interview.
What’s a typical day in the life of Fox Valley’s Engineering Manager?
Right now, we have eight fire alarm salespeople that are responsible for quoting and obtaining work. As the Engineering Manager, I catalog and ensure the accuracy of these quotes before starting any job. Once that’s completed, our salespeople bring the job file into engineering, where I subject the file to a rigorous quality checklist.
After that, I log all that information in our job schedule so the team knows what needs to get done. We have six engineers that work on fire alarm drawings, as well as an engineer specializing in sprinklers; I prioritize our job list and assign work to different engineers, taking into account their experience and the customer’s needs.
We get such a variety of jobs, ranging from college complexes with network systems to restaurant protection systems—it’s my job to make sure our engineers are well-suited to that particular type of work.
Are there any exciting jobs that you’ve worked on recently?
The most exciting jobs are those involving OnyxWorks, which is one of the higher end products we offer at Fox Valley. OnyxWorks is a Notifier® product that integrates not only all of our networked fire alarms but other critical facility information, such as ID card access or mechanical data.
When any problem arises, the OnyxWorks system instantly notifies company personnel, letting them know the nature of the problem and the area being affected. With this system, the customer can see the problem area in relation to their entire facility. OnyxWorks is an exciting and informative tool for customers, building engineers, and also fire department officials.
How does your team keep up with the latest industry trends?
At Fox Valley, our technicians are mandated to attain special certifications—as many as possible, in fact. Many times these certifications can be attained at our facility, thanks to manufacturers we work closely with, but we also send our technicians to different educational sites throughout the country.
The entire engineering team takes part in these certifications, and I am no exception. I make sure to keep myself and my team up-to-date at all times; part of this training includes familiarizing ourselves with new CAD techniques and fire suppression products. All the skills we need can’t be taught in just a classroom, though; our field experiences and listening to customer needs also helps us stay ahead.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing a career in engineering?
It takes a certain type of person to excel in this field. The basis of much of our work involves a computer screen and careful attention to detail—if you’re a person that needs to be active frequently, this probably isn’t the job for you. Daydreamers need not apply; however, one of the most interesting aspects of engineering is being creative and discovering new ways to solve problems. Looking at the “big picture” isn’t enough, and sometimes focusing in on the smaller details is what enables new technologies to come to life.