In his own words: Doug Hoff of Tri-Signal Integration

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us a little about your company.

Doug Hoff: Tri-Signal Integration is a low-voltage contractor that specializes in fire alarm, security, audio/visual, closed-circuit television and nurse call for the education and commercial/industrial market. We have a complete service department. Service is a big focus of our business and we take great pride in the quality of service we provide to the customer. We also have a complete engineering staff that is networked across the company. The current owners acquired the first Tri-Signal branch in Los Angeles in 1999. Since then they have developed branch offices in San Diego, San Leandro, El Dorado Hills, Fresno, Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orange County. Between Reno and Las Vegas there are 15 staff members. Company wide there are over 200 employees.

NNBW: What role do you play in the company?

Hoff: My primary role is to encourage and assist the employees to do the best job they can. I actively promote Tri-Signal to end users and contractors, opening doors for the sales team. I review all major proposals and aside from the general management duties I strive to be a good role model. I oversee both the Reno and the Las Vegas branch so I spend a considerable amount of time traveling.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Hoff: I had been involved in electronics and the electrical field for many years. I obtained my contractor's license in early 2002. Shortly thereafter through a series of happy coincidences I met up with Tri-Signal. They were looking to open a branch office in Reno and I was looking to branch out.

NNBW: What are some of the skills and abilities to succeed in this job?

Hoff: You need to be able to step back and see the whole picture. This is sometimes the hardest part of my job. I have learned to delegate more and verify. It helps to know some Nevada construction law. Project management skills are a plus. We deal with a lot of different products that are continually changing so I try to stay current with the technology. The fire alarm industry is driven primarily through code, both federally and locally, so again I try and stay current. In the construction industry you need to have a thick skin but also have the ability to be sensitive as needed with employees and contractors and business owners.

NNBW: If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?

Hoff: In the late '70s I was active in alternative energies, mostly wind and solar. I would have liked to have made a career of that but at that time it was difficult to earn enough to raise a family.

NNBW: What do you like to do when you're not working?

Hoff: If I am not actually mountain biking or backcountry skiing I am at least thinking about the next adventure. Kathleen and I like to hike, camp, mess around with the dogs and travel. I can be easily distracted by a good book as well.

NNBW: What person, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with, and why?

Hoff: Leonardo daVinci, he was a master of many different skills and trades. He was a free thinker whose thoughts were beyond the world he lived in. Can you imagine what he could have done with the technologies available to him today? Also, I would rather he had dinner with me, than vice versa; I have no idea what would be served at his table.

NNBW: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Hoff: I was 18, my dad and I were driving across I-80 heading up the long grade to Little America. I was driving, it was dark, near zero degrees with black ice and cars and trucks in the ditch on each side of us. Despite the freezing temperature my hands were sweating. My dad said, "What ever you do don't take your foot off the gas; just keep going." I think I have been doing that ever since.

NNBW: What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?

Hoff: When a large and difficult job is complete and within budget and the customer is satisfied, it is something we have done as a team. There is hardly a better feeling. When it doesn't go that way there is hardly worse feeling.

NNBW: Five things you can't live without?

Hoff: My family, my friends, my health, some free time and a sense of adventure.

NNBW: What does the content of your refrigerator say about you?

Hoff: That I have a wife who is a gourmet cook.

The basics:

Name: Doug Hoff, Tri-Signal Integration, Group Vice President-Reno and Las Vegas

How long have you been in this job? I opened the Reno office in 2002 and assumed leadership of the Vegas office in June of this year.

How long in the profession? 18 years

Education: High school and a smattering of college courses

Best book you've read? "South" by Ernest Shackelton.

What's on your iPod? I won one once but I gave it away.

The best movie ever? "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Spouse, kids or pets? Kathleen and I have been married for 31 years. She is the love of my life. Our son Justin is a Marine Veteran and recently married to Karina. They are both attending college. We have two Aussie dogs, Kiva and Java, who are a great source of smiles for us every day.


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