Yellow entry points, white lines, big silver buttons and orange flashing stick figures. While most can agree that crosswalks have come a long way since “Abbey Road,” you may be surprised to learn that many of the crosswalks in the United States and Canada have a significant tie to Idaho.
“We make pedestrian push-buttons and everything that goes along with them,” said Brad Giesen, management analyst at Campbell Company’s Ped Safety. “We are number two and rising in the industry, and we’ve got some things coming that are going to help drive us to the top.”
Through their vertically integrated facility in Boise, Ped Safety produces every piece of equipment and technology associated with crosswalk mechanics, including mounting hardware, extension brackets, lights, sounds, signs and buttons.
“We’re pretty self-contained,” said Brad. “From manufacturing and machining, to printing and painting, to electronic assembly and final testing, it’s all done here in-house. Very few companies our size can do all of those things on their own.”
Over the last 20 years, Ped Safety has slowly grown from a small distributor to a diverse, international company boasting more than 50 employees; but with that growth comes its own set of challenges.
“Being able to protect our current share of the market while penetrating new markets across the U.S. and Canada, and soon South America, can be hard,” said Brad. “Pretty much everything throughout the Treasure Valley and Idaho is ours, but we’re bigger than that and we intend to keep expanding.”
Although keeping up with technology and growing the business at the same time is difficult, Ped Safety has a knack for moving quickly to adapt to industry changes. In fact, they’ve found new opportunities to increase pedestrian safety in the midst of a global pandemic.
“We’re now starting to take orders and ship our new no-contact button,” said Brad. “It’s a project we kicked off in April that, less than four months later, is ready for production.”
In order to pivot quickly and remain agile, Brad credits a combination of experience, networking and staying authentic to the culture of the business.
“You can’t just copy what other people do, but you can certainly leverage what others have learned and adapt it to your own business,” he said. “Above all, you’ve got to stay true to yourself and how you want to do things.”
Brad emphasizes that local organizations and departments including SWIMA, the Idaho Department of Labor and the Idaho Department of Commerce, play pivotal roles in providing opportunities for manufacturing companies to learn, network and locate resources. Unlike those based in large metropolitan areas, manufacturing companies in Idaho experience a greater rate of accessibility when it comes to getting the information they need.
“Take COVID for example,” said Brad. “The folks at SWIMA have identified protocols and resources throughout the pandemic that have been incredibly helpful, and we see that as a major benefit of being in the association – they really have your back and they’re only a phone call away.”
As the Ped Safety team turns towards their next new innovation, the company continues to invest back into the business through workforce development and scaled production assets.
“We’re in a great place from a business standpoint,” said Brad. “With a team that’s willing to jump in and tackle problems and more opportunities than we have capacity to take on, it’s a good place to be.”