A lot has happened in the 60 years since Joe LaForce started this company. LaForce Inc. has gone through changes in name, products, services, technology, and so much more. While LaForce has evolved, so has our industry and, of course, the world in which we live. In this final blog of our four part series on LaForce’s history, we’ll look at how three cultural events have impacted our business.
Computer Technology – Where would we be without computers? Without a doubt, computers have changed the way the world operates, and of course, that includes LaForce. In 1971 we leased our first IBM computer. Then, in the 1980s, we significantly increased our electronic capabilities and added computerization to many of our processes. Computer use in our daily business processes continues to grow and evolve.
And then came the Internet. While the Internet was becoming more prominent in the early 1990s, LaForce was establishing offices in other cities, including Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. As use of the Internet and email increased, the ability to communicate between our locations became easier. Today, a project manager in Green Bay and a salesperson in Phoenix can review project information together and see changes in real time rather than emailing documents back and forth. To say that computer technology benefits our business processes would be a huge understatement.
Environmentalism – The push toward environmentalism started in the early 1970s with the first Earth Day protests and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Environmentalism started to significantly impact the construction industry in the 1990s and 2000s when LEED was developed and accepted.
In 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council was established to promote sustainability in the building and construction industry. At the council’s founding meeting, representatives first discussed a green building rating system, what we now know as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED standards were developed to guide and encourage building owners, contractors and operators to be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. These standards affect every aspect of the building, including the doors, frames and hardware. With a LEED professional on staff, LaForce is able to help our customers fulfill the green building requirements on their projects.
School Security – Sadly, in the 1990s, violent attacks at schools occurred and have steadily occurred every year since. This has led to a push in tighter security at schools, both to prevent a potential attacker from entering the building and to protect students and staff in the event of an attack. The doors and hardware used in school facilities have changed greatly over the last 20 years. No longer do schools simply rely on keys and intercoms. Today, video surveillance, secured entrances, electronic locks and more have become the norm in schools. The door and hardware options available for schools continue to grow. Because this technology changes so rapidly and requires technical expertise, LaForce established its Security Integration department to assist building owners and managers, architects, and contractors in designing and implementing security features into facilities.
How will the next 60 years shape our business? We’ll just have to wait and see.