Vanishing walls, garage doors that can be opened using an iPad, and home theaters created with IMAX techniques are just a few of the things Brian McAuliff, president of Bri-Tech in Bohemia, designs on a daily basis. Bri-Tech's high-end electronic systems monitor and enhance living and office spaces with everything from mood lighting to water-leak reporting.
McAuliff, 51, has had a love for technology and taking things apart since he was 11 and his uncle, who worked for ABC Radio, showed him how a transistor worked. At 14, he built his own CB tracking device to investigate people who were hogging radio channels. By the time he was 19, he was installing light and sound in nightclubs, and after earning his engineering degree at New York Tech, he worked for 3M in Hong Kong. McAuliff started his own consultancy at 24, and was joined by his two brothers about 12 years later.
What's the latest technology?
For us right now, the cutting edge is motorized elements. For a client on the North Shore we're adjusting louvers on the outside of the house. These large louvers will tilt and open based on the time of day. Windows will motorize and open up to create a natural convection effect. The house will actually decide whether or not to use standard cooling if there's humidity, or if the air temperature outside is better, to just let natural air through the house.
You're also motorizing walls?
We've been asked to look into more motorized elements where we're moving a wall, or pocket doors that motorize into the wall. On the East End we'll be working on projects that if you have an oceanfront view, will take the whole wall and motorize it into the floor so you'll end up with a 20-foot opening.
Are clients more after the security or the convenience of what you sell?
Right now the hottest thing that drives clients is lighting control and motorized shades. No one wants to build a beautiful home with a whole bunch of toggle switches on the wall. We're able to put just one -- with backlit buttons for "morning, evening, kitchen." They also want to be able to get on their computer, on their iPad or on their phone and say, "All right. My house is fine, the temperature's good and the security system is still armed and it's all good."
How do you stay up on the latest
Trade shows and forums and helping our manufacturers. If you stay in communication with them, you get to be on their advisory track. So we help influence a number of new products that we feel the market needs, and we're designers ourselves. It's a neat little spot to be when somebody sends you an email on a prototype and asks, "You guys want to evaluate this before we do it?"
What's the price range for projects?
In the home technology side they're typically over $100,000 and we have projects that reach into the $1.5-million range. On the corporate work we have projects that go from $5,000 or $10,000 into $3 million to $4 million.
Name: Brian McAuliff, president of Bri-Tech Inc. in Bohemia
What it does: Designs and builds electronic systems for buildings and high-end residences. Systems include security, access control, fire alarm, lighting control, HVAC, audio and video.
Employees: 28; 25 on Long Island
Revenue: $4.5 million