The best tech stories are about products designed with a mission to change the world — or protect the people who live in it.
At public safety company BRINC, the overarching mission is to keep people safe while in dangerous situations. However, the company’s origin is rooted in an event that hit closer to home.
In 2017, a mass shooting took place at Mandalay Bay resort and casino during a music festival in CEO Blake Resnick’s hometown of Las Vegas. It took responders more than an hour to discover the shooter’s location, and Resnick believed that technology could have been harnessed in a more impactful way to eliminate wasted time and additional danger.
After three years of research working directly with first responders in the field, Resnick’s idea was fully realized.
Today, the company is creating two innovative products — the Lemur S drone and the BRINC Ball — dedicated to public safety. Described as two-way communication devices meant to de-escalate dangerous situations and reach those in need, the products have been tested in collapsed buildings, hostage negotiations and many more scenarios by a team of more than 100 engineers, builders, technologists and public safety specialists.
BRINC’s mission of safety
“These products will enable first responders to further aid people in need by utilizing the most advanced technology in the space,” said Colin Bell, director of engineering. “We expect this product to be an exciting and effective tool for first responders such as fire, search and rescue, and law enforcement.”
Built In caught up with Bell to learn more about his journey bringing BRINC’s biggest product ideas to life and why any job seeker looking to make a difference should be paying attention.
Tell me more about your role in developing products at BRINC. What tools or technologies did your team use to build these out?
My role is mainly leading the team and continuing to hire the best engineers around. We leverage a lot of technology such as mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD), printed circuit board (PCB) modeling tools and advanced real time physics modeling of autonomous drones. This allows us to continue development of the most advanced autonomous UAVs the market has to offer. These tools enable us to move quicker and more effectively in our engineering process such as modeling high speed communications before we even purchase the first circuit board, or model the effects of various battery technologies.
What obstacles did you encounter along the way and how did you successfully overcome them?
Our largest barrier was getting people to join our team once we opened a presence in Seattle. Being a young startup, we expected some time to get us going, which we were able to work our way through. We fortunately hired extremely talented engineers out of the large tech companies which helped us reach a critical mass of talent and made recruiting much easier. This paired well with our mission statement that resonates with people who want to produce technologies that save lives.
“Our mission statement resonates with people who want to produce technologies that save lives.”
What teams did you collaborate with in order to get this across the finish line, and how did you ensure that cross-functional collaboration went smoothly?
One of the exciting things about leading engineering is that we get to interact with every team such as sales, marketing, design and finance. This gives exciting exposure to our team and direct feedback to ensure we develop a sound product in a fast paced environment. This is unique since most companies have too many barriers between teams for this exposure to be so easy. Great examples are calling our employees who worked in this field prior and working through customer desires in a matter of minutes, rather than having to spend months developing an initial product to showcase.
When you think of other companies in your industry, how does BRINC compare when it comes to how you build and launch new products? What’s different about your workplace?
Our differentiating factor is that our engineering and sales team are extremely driven and extremely capable. Our team can out-design other teams and then aggressively sell it faster than anyone else. This tight coupling between teams is what separates us from any other company in the space. Additionally, we have a great facility in the heart of Seattle which people are always excited to come in and develop the advanced technology that differentiates our company.