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Software helps company grow

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They have the distinction of being a part of some of the world's most visible disasters.

Nadia Butler: Emergency Services Integrators CEO said the software created at ESi is used in hospitals and by governments.  Special
Special
Nadia Butler: Emergency Services Integrators CEO said the software created at ESi is used in hospitals and by governments.

When hurricanes Felix and Henriette marched across Central America last week, authorities were using the emergency operations software created by Augusta's Emergency Services Integrators.

British authorities used a demo copy of their software to manage the crisis after the London subway bombings in 2005.

Emergency Services Integrators Chief Executive Officer Nadia Butler said one of the company's 51 employees is now stationed in China, looking at opportunities to sell its crisis-management software there, possibly to the people behind security at the 2008 summer Olympics.

Last year, the company earned $7.8 million. In 2003, revenue was $2.2 million.

That 259 percent growth rate landed them into position 1,383 among Inc. magazine's recently released 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America.

ES i is the Augusta area's only company on the list.

The company started more than a decade ago as a spin-off from the Department of Energy, where some safety experts from Savannah River Site began installing state-of-the-art computerized 911 systems.

Ms. Butler said the company maintains customer support for those systems, but is now heavily focused on its Web-like crisis management software, WebEOC. The seventh version of the software will be released before the end of the year, she said.

"We invest in product development and customer support, not in a sales force. Our product is selling itself," Ms. Butler said.

She said 85 percent of its sales come from client referrals.

The client list includes hundreds of counties, NASA facilities and federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, several airlines and military installations. The Southeastern Regional Medical Center at Fort Gordon uses it.

Corporate clients include Boeing, Lockheed Martin and AT&T. Ms. Butler said the government of Australia has a copy of WebEOC.

It has four field offices in America, with two planned for California and Washington. Ms. Butler said the company is considering opening an office in Dubai.

A month from now, ESi will occupy its new headquarters at 823 Broad St., next to Augusta Common. The move has been planned for two years, but the company has already outgrown the space. There were 17 employees two years ago. There are 51 now. The building can accommodate 35 people.

The growth spurt began with the organization of Homeland Security and its funding to state and county governments for security preparedness.

The software manages information boards that allow people involved in a crisis to communicate in real time.

Jim Cook, ESi's services director, was once the director of Atlanta's emergency management. He joined the company a year ago. He said the software's appeal is its ability to be configured to the way they do business instead of making them spend thousands more to have it tailor-made.

Mr. Cook said he's even heard stories of clients using the software to manage day-to-day operations of a police department.

Ms. Butler said she feels as though the company has become the industry standard.

"It is not something you want to say because it is like tempting fate, but we haven't seen very much from our competitors lately," Ms. Butler said.

Microsoft just started advertising its crisis management software.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.


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