Meet Our Technical Services Department

Known as the trusted one-stop-shop for innovative designs, Smoke Guard has a reputation for providing outstanding smoke and fire protection products and excellent customer service. Their industry-leading Technical Services Department is one of the many reasons for Smoke Guard’s continued success. 

Smoke Guard technicians have installed more than 73,000 systems worldwide to help protect all types of buildings including airports, historic buildings, hotels, museums and hospitals. From purchase to installation and beyond, this team is always available to help distributors through every step of the process.

Installation and Training

The Technical Service team is present for the initial installation of products in a given territory for training purposes. They are also available to distributors who may need extra assistance on a difficult project or require training for new installation crews. They also do follow-up on-site refresher courses on installation processes.

The team can often be found working alongside Customer Service representatives, helping them manage orders and understand the logistics of planning an installation. This can include several things like training, technical questions about installation, troubleshooting problems, and recognizing any specific needs of the installation site.

Project Management

Smoke Guard’s Technical Services Department has a strong commitment to providing solid project management to its distributors. Decades of experience has taught them that being prepared for the installation site is often a big factor in how well the install process will go. That’s why proactive project management is one of the most important parts of a successful installation. Projects typically go from the sales team to the project managers. They help do the ordering in the Smoke Guard products system, handle the organization of the site and labor, and prepare the project to be handed off to the Technical Services Department for installation. Smoke Guard’s project management team also works with the project manager on the distributor side sharing documentation, installation instructions and reviewing what their responsibility will be on the job (like getting electricians involved early in the process).  Smoke Guard also offers training sessions for project managers to help distributors and installers be better prepared at job sites when the Technical Services team arrives. This includes overlapping training with both the sales and installation teams to help them better understand processes and needs.

Meet The Team

From Disneyland and the Pentagon to Bermuda, Abu Dhabi and China, the Technical Services team travels all over the world to share their decades of knowledge with distributors and perform installations and training sessions.  

Smoke Guard takes pride in the fact they operate like a tightly knit community where everyone strives to be friendly and helpful — it’s part of their culture. This team works very closely with others both internally and externally, and they all agree that the people they work with make their jobs more rewarding. Let’s meet a few of these Smoke Guard installation experts.

Lon Graybill

For more than 18 years, Lon has been performing technical support, installation, training, project management and general construction duties for the team. Lon’s work has made him a seasoned traveler, logging over one million miles of traveling all over the world. 

Lon joined the team when he was 21 and has since traveled to more than 30 countries. “My main hobby has always been traveling. That’s how I ended up with this job,” says Lon. Through his travels, he’s learned to understand German, Portuguese and some Spanish. He also enjoys watching mixed martial arts. 

James Merritt

A member of the team since 2015, James has assisted the electrical engineers in developing controls, performing installations and providing installation training on the road. His extensive background in developing and working on controls makes him Smoke Guard’s “go-to guy” for electrical questions. 

James has always loved working with electronics and used to own his own radio communication repair business. He likes photography, music, guitars and restoring old vehicles. “I have an old truck that my grandfather bought new in 1972, and it’s been my restoration goal.”

Tom Minshew

Tom has more than 17 years of experience as a Smoke Guard team member. He is a seasoned project manager, trainer and installer, and can often be found working with the engineering group developing new products and installing prototypes. 

Tom loves traveling but his true passion is fly fishing. He has even been a fly-fishing guide in Bozeman, Montana and says it’s one of the most beautiful places he’s ever lived. “I spend a lot of my time fishing on the water, usually on a river or on a boat,” said Tom. 

Geoff Lodal

A member of the team for more than four years, Geoff puts his mechanical engineering degree to good use by overseeing Smoke Guard’s quality and process engineering, including supervising a quality technician and the installation team. Geoff also creates Smoke Guard’s technical service bulletins, develops the organization’s training programs, and manages listing and labeling which includes ensuring the team adheres to regulatory codes. 

As an ultra-marathoner and triathlete, if you ask Geoff about his running hobby, he will tell you, “I run far too long and far too often.” He also has a bicycle and car collection comprised of nine bikes and six vehicles, including a Lotus sports car and a school bus he’s transitioned into an RV.

Always Available to Help

Smoke Guard’s products are carried by distributors all over the world, and the Technical Services Department is always available to provide on-site instruction and installation services no matter where you are located, ensuring each distributor has the resources they need for a successful installation from start to finish.

Take a look at some of our favorite projects and see how we’ve helped architects and building owners find solutions for fire safety that meet local code and maintain design integrity. 

Need help designing your space for fire safety? Find a Smoke Guard distributor here.