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Spotlight - EyeSite Surveillance

image Dean Olson, Owner and Vice president of Sales, Doug Olson, Director of Business Development, EyeSite Surveillance, Irving, TX

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Growing up helping their mason father, brothers Dean Olson and Doug Olson learned a thing or two about the ins and outs of job sites. As adults, they now work together to keep job sites safe from theft – when they aren’t busy saving the world from bad barbecue.





Share a little about your backgrounds.

    Dean: We were born and raised in northwestern Iowa on a farm, and raised cattle and hogs. It’s where I spent the first 14 years of my life and where Doug spent the first 16 years of his. Then our dad moved us to Missouri and the Ozarks.
    Doug: He was in the construction industry as a masonry contractor, so we learned the business.
    Dean: We did it in the summers. When you’re at that age living in that small town in Iowa, you’re going to do something, like detasseling corn. There was always something to do on a farm. Since Dad was laying block, we’d go out and work with him.
    Doug: I actually got a degree in construction after high school at Reeds Springs. I went through a building trades class in high school and worked for him as part of class. One of the most interesting things we did is all of that rock and block for Silver Dollar City in Branson MO.
    Dean: I was there this summer and put my hands on the very stuff that my dad laid 35, 40 years ago.

What did you do after high school, Dean?
    Dean: I went out to the oil fields. Three days after high school, my dad asked me what I was going to do since I didn’t have the money or the grades for college and I couldn’t live at home! The oil fields were really hot in the ‘80s, so I jumped in my buddy’s pickup truck and went to western Oklahoma. We slept on park benches or in the truck and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week as we went around to all of the drill rigs and finally got work. It was fun, hard work, and a good learning experience; I did that for a year and a half.
    I then came to the Houston area where my mom had an office with Edward Jones. She said they needed a manager for the Pizza Hut there; Doug and I had both worked for Pizza Hut during high school. I managed it for a couple of years and realized it wasn’t what I was cut out to do. I moved back up to Kansas City and bartended and had a lot of fun, but again, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted.

How did you find out what you were interested in?
    I ended up joining the Army. I wanted money for college and wanted to go to Europe. Even though I didn’t apply myself in high school, I did well on the test, got top-secret clearance and worked as a nuclear weapons specialist. It was in Germany during the Cold War. Ronald Reagan was president, and I was over there for the whole great “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” history. It was fantastic. I was stationed in a small town in Munich, and through a friend met the woman who would become my wife, Marina, who was born and raised over there.

How long did you stay there?
    I stayed until 1997. The idea was to stay in Europe to spend more time with Marina and to also use the money that I had received for my education. I went to school there and worked towards my business management degree through the University of Maryland, which had a European campus. It was so interesting, living over there and seeing a different culture and a different lifestyle. I also became fluent in German.

When did you return to the United States?
    Marina and I ended up getting married and having two girls. In 1997, our oldest daughter was 5 and our youngest was just born, and we really wanted them to be raised in America. We loved everything about Europe but just felt that America would be a better place for them to go to school. My mom was in Arizona and we really liked Scottsdale, so we moved there. I got into real estate working for residential builders – which is how I got back into construction – and did that until 2005.

How did you get involved with EyeSite Surveillance?
    One of the contacts I made was Scott. He had started working for another company doing something very similar to what we’re doing now. He came to me and said he would like to buy the business from the owners and asked if I wanted to invest. I brought in our other business partner, Dave, who had commercial real estate experience. We were lucky, because Dave’s son Jason is an aerospace engineer with an MBA, which is something we needed, so it made sense that we brought him in as a fourth partner.
    That was the start of the business in 2005, working out of Scott’s garage. We conquered Arizona, expanded over to Dallas five years ago and for a year and a half, we’ve been down in Houston. It’s nice; after being together 12 years, we’ve created our own little family. We’re great friends, but we’re also not afraid to tell each other when we need to change something.

Share how Doug became part of the team.

    Dean: We were lucky. About four years ago, Doug was finishing his career with an insurance company in Minnesota and was looking for something a little bit different. We needed a solid salesperson in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, someone we could trust who had a lot of energy and a lot of go-get-‘em. I approached Doug about this and he was all over it.
    Doug: I wanted out of Minnesota and back in Texas, where I had lived in the early ‘80s. Texas is my home, and it was nice to get back home.

Was there any apprehension about working together?

    Dean: No. It was pretty clear that we had to separate business from family.
    Doug: I didn’t have any reservations. I had to go though the interview process with the other three owners and Dean. I told them that I would treat this business like my own.
Doug, what strengths does Dean bring to the business?
    Doug: He’s more organized; he keeps me on task and pointed in the right direction. I go 100 miles per hour in 100 different directions. I’m always the guy who will never say no.

What does Doug bring to the business, Dean?
    Dean: Obviously, it’s his energy and get up and go that he has every day. He has a great sense for networking, meeting people and making people feel comfortable. I get so many comments about him, that he is such a great guy. That’s definitely the type of person that we were looking for, someone who is trustworthy and doing what is best for the company. That’s what he does.

What are your lives like outside of work?
    Dean: My wife and I lived in Arizona for over 20 years and we developed a real appreciation for the outdoors and nature; we love to go hiking. I love to travel, and Marina has that bug as well. Both of our daughters are in college now; one is in her junior year of Pre-Med, and the other speaks four languages and is in graduate school at an international business school.
    Doug: I have a son in the Army who is based in Hawaii. My other son is living here with me in Dallas; he works for CityWide Mechanical as an HVAC tech, so he is loving life. I joined a golf group when I moved here, so on Sundays, I get to go have fun with the guys. I’m also on the board of directors with the American Subcontractors Association, and we do a lot of stuff with TEXO. I’m just happy to be part of the industry and trying to pay back the industry for what they give us.
    Dean and I also do a lot of cookouts for ASA and TEXO and some of the construction companies. That’s some-thing we do together.

You’re both celebrated for your smoker skills; you often place at industry cookout competitions.
    Dean: It’s a friendly competition. We build on relationships that we’ve already created. We meet so many people out here and we’ve had so much fun over the years with it.

Would you share your secret recipe with our readers?

    Dean: Absolutely. You have to love it, and you have to put love into it. I really enjoy cooking that meat. It’s like with business; if you really enjoy it, it’s going to turn out well. That’s my secret. I share my recipes all of the time – I use this wood, I use these spices, I buy these cuts of meat and cook it at this temperature – but you’ve got to be into it.
    Doug: I just stick my little finger in everything; it makes it sweeter!

What do you both enjoy about your work?

    Doug: I enjoy being out on construction sites and the interaction with the guys. It takes me back to when I was younger and on job sites with my dad laying block and brick and being around the other trades.
    Dean: I really enjoy providing solutions for builders who have so many problems with theft on job sites. We put the equipment out there and back it up with solid people. They build it and we protect it. It’s a good feeling to know we’re stopping theft on job sites.
What does the future hold?
    Dean: The future for us as a company is very clear. We need to grow it one market at a time. I think that is one of the things we’ve done that you don’t normally see in the industry; we accomplish one goal before moving on to another. We did really well in Arizona. Dallas/Fort Worth was a good market and so we established there. Once we had our hands on it, we went to Houston. Austin and San Antonio will be next. We’ve planned it out and are looking into the future.
    EyeSite Surveilance in Irving is a security expert for construction companies requiring mobile theft prevention equipment. –mjm

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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net