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  Article | San Antonio Business Journal - August 2007
San Antonio

Brian Dopp

(210) 541-0505

(210) 541-0565







Software Company Finds Rural Niche in Emergency Management
August 17, 2007 by Catherine Dominguez
Business Journal Article
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San Antonio-based Phoenix Disaster Services (PDS) has built its client base by helping city and county governments be prepared for any type of disaster.

And as homeland security continues to be a critical issue for many local and state officials, Brian Dopp, founder and president of PDS, says that reality, along with a new product offering, is creating growth opportunities for his company.

"Our newest offering is VIPlanning Software. It is
aimed at helping school districts create HTML disaster plans and visual blueprints of all classrooms in each school..."
Link to information

Founded in July 2001, PDS is a software reseller specializing in emergency management. The company's services include support, planning, grant writing and grant management.

According to Dopp, the company originally targeted small rural governments that had small budgets to prepare a disaster plan for their communities.

"I focused on the rural communities mostly due to the fact that they are so strapped for people and need the help," Dopp says. "I offered to go in (for a minimal fee) and help meet their needs."

Now as the company has grown, Dopp says it has expanded its software offerings and now acts as a consultant for many agencies in Texas, Kentucky and Missouri.

Currently, PDS has four employees and five contract employees. The company serves anywhere from two to 20 clients at a time.

Although Dopp declined to release specific revenue figures, he says the company is on track to double its revenues for 2007.

Up and running
Medina County Judge Jim Barden says his county has worked with PDS for about three years. He says several years ago, the county didn't have an emergency management coordinator and was looking for a way to update its emergency preparedness plan.

"I ran into (PDS) and I (asked) if we could agree on a monthly fee and they would act as the emergency coordinator," Barden says.

Barden says PDS was instrumental in the county developing an emergency plan and for recently winning a $130,000 grant to help fund the installation of a countywide alarm system.

"They completely redid our emergency plan, brought it all up to date," Barden says. "They helped us immensely with that."

Barden says with the growth of PDS, it made more sense for Medina County to hire its own emergency management coordinator and for PDS to act as more of a consultant.

Barden says with the growth of PDS, it made more sense for Medina County to hire its own emergency management coordinator and for PDS to act as more of a consultant. Now PDS works on an hourly rate when the county needs the company's expertise.

"I will forever be grateful for their help," Barden says.

Spurring growth
PDS got its first big growth spurt following the 911 terrorist attacks. Dopp says many larger companies and governments began contracting with his company for help in designing disaster management plans.

PDS licenses several software products that it customizes and supports for clients.

PDS's signature product, WebEOC, has helped boost the company's presence in the security arena. WebEOC, developed by Georgia-based Emergency Services integrators (ESi), is a software program that allows programmers to link an unlimited number of departments within an agency so they are able to communicate live and in real-time during a disaster. The software tracks what is happening, where problems exist, where employees are, what they are doing and what resources are available.

The software, hardware and implementation service for WebEOC starts at around $50,000.

PSD newest product offering - VIPlanning Software

Helping fuel continued growth for PDS, is its newest product offering, called VIPlanning Software. Dopp says his company began offering the software about four months ago. This software is aimed at helping school districts create disaster plans and visual blueprints of all classrooms in each school.

VIPlanning Software, created by Washington-based Visual Imagry Inc., enables the user to create Web pages that can be used to build emergency response plans and pre-plans for preparedness, response, recovery and/or training.

The cost of an academic license for the VIPlanning Software is $1,000 per school. However, if a district has multiple schools, Visual Imagry offers VIPlanning Enterprise license that will link them all together for an additional licensing fee*.

"I thought this was definitely a product schools could use," Dopp says. "You don't know what you are getting into (in a disaster situation), this definitely helps you see that."

Another feature of the software is to alert school officials to hazards near a campus such as pipelines, floodplains, or railroad tracks for the transportation of hazardous materials.

Phoenix Disaster Services
President: Brian Dopp
What: A software reseller specializing in emergency management
Tel.: 210-657-0580
Web address:

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  *Editor's note: the price $8,500 Enterprise License fee mentioned in the published article was not the correct school license fee.




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