EaseAlert of Pinellas County
Blake Richardson and his business partner Elezar Tonev, owners of EaseAlert, both knew that they wanted to make a difference in the field of alert systems when they noticed a problem within their own circle of family and friends.
“We saw the stress and the toll that firefighting was taking on my dad who’s been in the fire service for the past 19 years and we wanted to do what we could to make a difference,” Richardson said. That was when then the business partners got to work and created EaseAlert, a firefighter alert system designed to reduce stress and improve efficiency for emergency responders.
Once moved to Pinellas County, the business partners decided to reach out to the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) for help in strategically growing their business. The duo was then introduced to their procurement specialist, Yolanda Goodloe, for more in-depth guidance with government contracts and assistance in growth.
“We’ve used the information we’ve learned from the Florida PTAC at Pinellas County Economic Development consultant to help with my Bid Batch, capabilities briefings to government agencies, helping us build a capability statement, and networking with representatives across the government,” Richardson said.
Since working with Florida PTAC at PCED and Goodloe, Richardson states that the business has had the chance to flourish into something greater than they expected, “by taking EaseAlert’s offering and bringing it to the local governments.”
He explained further, saying, “The first opportunity was with a local federal entity where we installed our emergency alerting system on a phase three contract and they’re in the process of renewing that contract now and they’ve actually referred us out to several federal entities across the world. We’re in discussions now to expand our process and our services on phase three contracts and similar contracts to other federal entities to make sure we can continue to reduce stress and improve efficiency for emergency responders everywhere.”
Richardson also mentioned the business has grown in another way since working with the Florida PTAC at PCED, through the SBIR program. “We successfully earned the phase one clinical trial grant from the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and we’re currently working with our coordinator from PTAC to expand that into a phase two application,” he said. Expanding to phase two will help EaseAlert improve their product and develop more emergency alerting services.
With the growth of the business, Richardson and his partner, Tonev, have also experienced success in seeing the amount of people who have been impacted by their business.
“Our biggest success so far has been implementing our system at the local federal entity and seeing how much it impacted their responders in both stress and efficiency and overall wellness and in doing so, we’ve been able to expand our capabilities and improve our product offerings by adding system monitoring, more robust alerting, and other features and functions that we didn’t initially have,” Richardson said.
Moving forward, he and his partner plan to keep in contact with his consultant, Goodloe, and the team at the Florida PTAC at PCED in order to positively impact the lives of more responders.
“We plan to utilize Florida PTAC to help us broaden our reach to emergency responders everywhere including helicopter EMS, firefighters, private EMS, DoD emergency responders; really anyone who uses an alarm to respond to an emergency. In doing so we plan to share our mission with emergency responders everywhere,” Richardson said.
Richardson encourages other businesses owners to reach out to the Florida PTAC at PCED because, “those resources and networking opportunities and coaching skills that they provide you really level the playing field and there’s enough disadvantages against you as a small business, it only makes sense to use everything in your favor and Florida PTAC is a great resource and a great coach to have in your corner.”
Since the interview, EaseAlert has been successfully awarded a phase three contract to outfit an Air Force base fire department with their firefighter alerting system.