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Stars align for Laconia's Orion: New facility, product line for turnstile company

Union Leader Correspondent

September 08. 2018 11:12PM

Orion Entrance Control Inc.'s founder and CEO Steve Caroselli, right, talks with Chris Dowling, assembly supervisor, as he works at the company's new 40,000-square-foot home in Laconia. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

LACONIA -- Steve Caroselli launched his turnstile business in the garage of his father-in-law's Hudson home in May 2009 and made his first sales from behind a desk his wife salvaged from a roadside.

Just shy of its 10th birthday, Orion Entrance Control Inc. is moving a few hundred yards up the road in the O'Shea Industrial Park in Laconia, quadrupling its space to meet current and projected demand for the turnstile access control systems it makes for high-rise buildings, government centers, educational campuses, museums, health care facilities and corporate headquarters.

"We're putting the foundation in place for the next level of growth," said Caroselli, as he stood atop a stairwell from the mezzanine at the company's new 40,000-square-foot headquarters at 76A Lexington Drive.

On the ground floor below, a sea of turnstiles was being assembled, and their lighting systems bathed the floor in a blue glow. They will be shipped this week to the Pacific Northwest for installation in the headquarters of one of the country's leading retailing giants.

The latest move provides for significantly more manufacturing, assembly and display space for Orion's expanding product line and for its continuing growth in staff. The company, which has 27 employees and is looking for eight more, projects a 40 percent increase in revenue for 2018.

Caroselli attributes Orion's success to several factors, including the quality of its product and the needs of business owners who require a high level of security for their facilities.

"First, our highly secure entrance control solutions are best in class due to their features - they are built and tested in our facility are future proof, and are designed to fit beautifully and seamlessly with entry areas of a diverse array of companies," the founder and CEO said.

Since coming to the Lakes Region seven years ago, the company has leapfrogged from the U.S. into a dozen foreign countries, and Caroselli credits some of the momentum to ongoing innovation. Vital to it is the company's latest access control solution the Orion Secure DoorGuard, he said.

Through an exclusive agreement with Quanergy, Orion is now offering LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology that is a primary component used in self-driving vehicles. The partnership provides Orion with solid state system, replacing moving parts that provides a solution to secure a single door in an area too small for a turnstile to be installed.

The system connects directly with Orion's proprietary software and counts who is entering and leaving the building. That information can be provided in real time to first responders in the event of an active shooter situation or other emergency when it is important to know if the building is still occupied and by how many people.

Orion CEO Steve Caroselli points to an above-door mounted LIDAR (light detecting and ranging) unit, a key component in a new entrance control system. (BEA LEWIS/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

Holding a pass card, Caroselli briskly walked through one of the Orion's turnstiles. The unit's optical scanner quickly read it and opened the glass door gate without causing Caroselli to break stride. Orion's systems are designed to provide smooth, unfettered access to authorized users and to effectively block unauthorized users as well as those tail-gating another person, he said.

All are designed to address security needs with operational efficiency. The company also has ability to customize the turnstiles with granite tops, accent lighting and other features to blend with architectural details.

Orion builds systems to meet its client's needs and has turnstiles that operate with an access card, a cell phone or via biometrics like facial recognition. Control systems allow for anticipated visitors to be pre-enrolled, averting a slowdown. 

Like an E-ZPass lane on the highway, there is no need to stop. With facial recognition, people don't have to search for an access card, or stop to provide a thumbprint. Multi-turnstiles can speed access even further.

Caroselli said the access control systems are designed to get people in quickly, allowing security personnel to deal with the exceptions.

"It's all about fast flow and energy conservation," he said, explaining how the systems can dispatch an elevator in response to who is entering the building. Another installation at a university sports center allows students to see on their cell phone which areas of the gym are experiencing the most use, allowing them to go to another less busy area to work out. 

At Boston University, Orion designed a turnstile solution for a cafeteria that requires students to use their school issued ID card and provide a thumb print scan to gain access. Biometric solutions are frequently requested in dining halls and sports centers at university campuses that can interface with a pay system.

Caroselli also acknowledges that much of Orion's success is a result of the successful fabrication supplier relationships it has built with some 30 New England companies, many of them in New Hampshire. All of the company's circuit boards are built in Tilton.

Having local suppliers speeds manufacturing and installation time as Orion doesn't experience delays other companies face when the arrival of a needed part is further slowed by international shipping.

"As we approach our 10-year anniversary, I am so grateful to the team of experts we have at Orion and their ability to help us innovate and provide the highest level of customer service possible," he said. "We are so pleased to move into this new space and bring Orion Entrance Control into its second decade with some strong momentum."

More information about the company can be found on the web at:

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