Featuring Steven Santone
President, Touchstone Fire Protection, Inc.
December 2018’s CEO Brief features Steven Santone, President, Touchstone Fire Protection, Inc., a veteran-owned small business specializing in fire protection, including installation, inspection and maintenance. In 2018, Touchstone Fire Protection, Inc. was a finalist of HIA-LI’s 24th Annual Business Achievement Awards in the category of Rookie of the Year.
Tell us about how you/your company started.
I started Touchstone Fire because I recognized New York to be an up and coming market due to stronger enforcement of Fire Protection standards. I wanted to give the community an option to hire a highly qualified contractor that is dedicated to their service and inspection needs. Providing an authentic approach to our customer service initiatives is a huge component of our growth, as well as the most satisfying to fulfill when a customer leaves us positive feedback.
What was a turning point for you/your company?
Summer 2018 is when we started receiving a high volume of calls, surprisingly, from word of mouth. In a way it was affirmation of the foundation that was pathed. We still are growing and still are reflecting on best practices… that way we never have to make any “hard turns”.
What is your philosophy at Touchstone Fire Protection?
Our philosophy about service and inspection is to be consistent and to be honest. We understand some systems were poorly maintained, often not at the fault of the customer, so there are situations that require planning. There is a balance between fulfilling the expectations set by codes and providing an objective action plan for the customer. By maintaining a system appropriately, we extend the equipment’s lifespan which ultimately saves the customer money as well as keeps them safe. Our customers know that they can call us anytime if they ever have a question or concern; that’s what we are here for.
Tell us about your companies profile today.
We currently have coverage across Long Island for Fire Sprinkler inspections and service. This includes all the testing of the Fire Pumps, Hydrants, Fire Department Connections, Standpipe Systems, Hoses, etc. Since we provide design and consultation services, we also will do installations or renovations for our customers if the projects are on a smaller scale. Our advantage in the industry is being a true service-based contractor. This is what keeps us away from unnecessary overhead and introducing a much less customer friendly environment where it is more of a contractor to contractor sales approach.
What opportunities do you see in the future?
Our backflow inspection portfolio has grown quite a bit. Initially, Touchstone Fire became licensed to certify backflow prevention devices so that we can compliment it with our other services. We receive a handful of calls a week that result in annual agreements to test customer’s backflow devices even if they don’t need our Fire Sprinkler services. Touchstone Fire is scaled to be nimble and emulated. Our goal is to offer our services in other markets across the country by setting up teams in these areas, but the timing much be appropriate so that there is no interruption to the commitment we have to the Long Island community