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Productive Solutions helps firms feel secure

Anne Knowles

Few local companies can say business has boomed since

the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Productive Solutions can.

The Reno-based company owned by Ed and Cheryl

Vauk makes employee badges that run from the plain, old

ID card with photo to sophisticated smart cards that

record everything from hours worked to the holder’s security

status.

It’s that last feature that has proven to be a boon for

the company, especially since the terrorist’s attack last year.

Since then, companies in all industries have become more

security-conscious and the federal government has

imposed new security requirements on transportation entities

such as airports.

“We’re closely following what’s going on with

Homeland Security,” said Cheryl Vauk. “It’s been a real

roller coaster ride since Sept. 11.”

Airports, for example, are required by the Aviation and

Transportation Security Act to have in place by year’s end

systems for screening baggage. Those systems, in turn, are

run by plenty of personnel who require security badges.

Those screeners are federal employees, but they are

equipped with badges by the airport in which they operate.

One of Productive Solutions clients is McCarran

International Airport in Las Vegas. McCarran employs

50,000 people and Productive Solutions provides the airport

with employee ID badges as well as parking cards for

all of them.

The company also supplies badges for the western

region of the Federal Aviation Administration, work cards

for the police departments of Reno and Sparks and specialized

transit passes for the Regional Transportation

Commission of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.

The majority of Productive Solutions’ business, though,

comes from the gaming industry. Every major casino in

the Reno-Sparks area is a customer as are several casinos

in Las Vegas, including the Venetian and Mandalay Bay,

and ones outside Nevada, like Harrah’s in New Orleans,

Joliet, Ill., and Robinsonville, Miss., and clubs in New

Jersey and California.

Productive Solutions provides several products.

Customers can get simple badges that display basic

employee information and photo. (The company started

life 10 years ago as Western Graphics; the current owners

changed the name a couple years after buying the company

five years ago.)

The company also offers an out-of-the box ID system

called Asure ID, from Synercard, and provides installation

and operation assistance.

“That’s for companies on a limited budget or who need

less frills,” said Ed Vauk.

At the high end, Productive Solutions sells a more

sophisticated system called Time and Attendance, developed

by Chase Technologies. The company customizes it

for each client. The software keeps track of employee

hours and can even keep users from clocking in when they

aren’t scheduled. It also monitors access and interfaces to

all major human resources and payroll programs so companies

can reduce re-keying information. The system

maintains a database and can be programmed to produce

myriad reports.

“Time and Attendance comes with number of frontend

flavors,” said Cheryl Vauk. That means users can

access the system several ways, including via the telephone,

PC, the Internet, or the most common way, a card

reader.

The software comes with all the necessary hardware.

Productive Solutions resells printers made by Fargo

Electronics Inc. and Eltron, as well as card readers manufactured

by International Barcode. The cards themselves

can be equipped with mag stripes, barcodes or smart cards.

Especially in light of the growing interest in security,

the Vauks think smart cards, which are widely used in

Europe, will become more popular in the United States.

The problem to date has been price – a smart card costs

about $5 each, compared to 50 cents or less for magstriped

or barcoded cards. But smart cards can hold an

order of magnitude more data than the less expensive

options. And with demand will come a drop in price.

Right now, demand for Productive Solutions products

is good, say the Vauks. The company, entirely owned by

the Vauks, has grown about 15 percent annually since the

couple bought it. Its customer base has tripled in those

years, to about 150 clients.

“We continue to grow better than the economy,” said

Ed Vauk. “And 9/11, as unfortunate a tragedy as it was,

has been a benefit to our business.”


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