SIGNET Electronic Systems, Inc. announces the promotion of Greg Sparrow to vice president of transportation solutions. Sparrow, an electrical engineer and 25-year veteran in the systems integration field, first joined SIGNET in 2007 as director of systems integration, bringing extensive experience in the design and implementation of complex technical solutions. In 2012, he was promoted to director of project management, leveraging his business process and operations experience to meet the demands of his new leadership role.
Sparrow’s latest promotion comes two years after he spearheaded the 2015 inception of SIGNET’s new transportation solutions department. “We believe there is tremendous growth opportunity for us in this particular space,” said Sparrow. Prior to tapping this potential, SIGNET already averaged 700-plus projects annually, spanning a range of vertical markets from education, to health care, to government. The company’s quickly gained traction in the transportation communications sector in recent years has made it a new focal point. “As VP of transportation, my focus will be on ensuring that the industry remains a key component of SIGNET’s long term growth strategy,” said Sparrow.
Early in the initiative, Sparrow brought Paul Austin onboard to lead sales and engineering. Austin, who had originally been hired by SIGNET in 2013, brought more than 30 years of experience in the transportation sector. From the beginning, the team of two was strategic in its approach to sales, and it paid off.
In January 2016, SIGNET was awarded the largest contract in the company’s history, serving as the local communications systems integrator on a robust infrastructure improvement project for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Commuter Rail. Sparrow and Austin were instrumental in securing the MBTA contract.
The MBTA project, in its broader scope, entails the installation of a federally mandated positive train control (PTC) system on the Commuter Rail network. PTC is a communications-based safety system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, and unauthorized train movements, as well as to enhance safety for work crews along the right of way. The PTC system is being furnished by the project’s primary contractor, Ansaldo STS USA, Inc. (ASTS), a leading integrator in the sector of high technology for railway and urban transport.
SIGNET’s responsibilities on the project include the design, engineering, and implementation of a 400- route mile optical ground-based network (GBN) in support of the PTC system. The optical network provides fault-tolerant (99.999% availability) communications connectivity between core offices and wayside signaling equipment located at more than 225 locations (nodes).
The optical network utilizes a 10-Gigabit Carrier Ethernet backbone, featuring IEEE standard 1588v2 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) synchronization, in support of 220 MHz wayside radio base stations, wayside interface units (WIUs), power systems, RF monitors, wayside communications cabinets, tilting masts with antennas, and a fully integrated network management system (NMS).
Since being awarded the MBTA contract, SIGNET’s transportation team has expanded to include a project engineer, field engineer, project manager, production technician, and administrative support staff. While Sparrow remains actively involved in the project’s engineering and ongoing project management, he and Austin will continue to shift their focus to growing the team and scouring the industry for new opportunities in the transportation space.
Working to leverage existing and build new industry relationships, Sparrow and the team have been successful in identifying and obtaining new opportunities that employ SIGNET’s core competencies. They are in final negotiations on a second major transportation project estimated to begin in October 2017, whereby SIGNET will implement the public address (PA) and Visual Information Display System (VIDS) for another commuter rail service. Other opportunities in the works include the design, procurement, assembly, and integration of an optical network for a city subway system; and, on another front, the ongoing provision of video surveillance, network expansion, and passenger information systems (PIS) for a leading provider of passenger transportation services.
SIGNET has always been drawn to complex, technically immersed projects, and transportation offers a wealth of possibilities. “For over 40 years, SIGNET has gravitated to clients with complicated and challenging issues that need solving,” said Bradford S. Caron, president of SIGNET. “The solutions required in the transportation space are very complex and have a direct impact on public safety. Transportation is a natural growth area for us.”