Brian Rist attends the ASTM conference


Brian Rist , president of the Smart Companies is attending the ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials) meetings, this week in Phoenix Arizona. Mr. Rist hopes to learn more about the future of the Building Codes & to try to help shape these future codes.

In Arizona, discussion will take place about the future of wind & structural codes not only in Florida but throughout the United States. There will also be meetings regarding the future Energy codes.

Most people are unaware that although Florida has it’s own building codes it is mostly based on the engineering standard written by ASTM & ASCE, (American Society of Civil Engineers) committees & then adopted by the Florida Code people.

A meeting has already been scheduled for when Mr. Rist comes back to bring the rest of the staff up to speed, just another example of why the Smart Companies stay a step ahead of our industry.

Angies List 2011 Super Service Award


Storm Smart Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award
The Award reflects businesses’ consistently high level of customer service

Storm Smart has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the businesses rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

Brian Rist was quoted “We are very proud of this award and look forward to earning it again in 2012”

“Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “The fact that Storm Smart can claim Super Service Award status speaks volumes about its dedication to consumers

Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service business ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2011 Super Service Award logo next to business names in search results on

Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.

Toys for Tots


The Smart Companies will proudly be participation in this years Marine Toys for Tots program. The Smart Companies has been involved in the program for the past 5 years and has been an official drop of location for the last 2 and has always been near to our hearts.This year The Smart Companies will have two drop off locations, one being our main showroom located at 11040 Plantation Rd in Fort Myers and the other is at our showroom located in the Miromar Outlets at 10801 Corkscrew Rd Suite #351 (it’s by the water ski lake).

The Marine Toys for Tots foundation was started back in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks and has grown ever since. In 1995 the Secretary of Defence approved the Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. Since the inception of the Toys for Tots program, they have distributed more than 400 million toys to more that 188 million needy children. Click here for more history about the of this program.

Brian Rist stated ” We are excited to be a part of such an honorable and noble program and look forward to supporting the Marines efforts for years to come.”

Zoomers to open soon!!!


The Smart Companies is proud to be providing Hurricane Protection to Zoomer of Fort Myers. Zoomers was an unfortunate victim of the construction crash and was never completed. Now, a Fort Myers Beach businessman has purchased the property and plans to have the park opened by early 2012. They have already hired a project manager, Alan Fluke, a Raleigh N.C. based amusement park consultant, to oversee the completion of the park. Fluke stated that $4 million has been budgeted to complete the park.

Brian Rist, President of The Smart Companies said “It was a shame to see someone’s dream fail due to the construction crash a few years back and we wish him the very best in the future. We are also excited to see this project come to completion after so many years. We are proud to be a part of this project and look forward to the opening next year. The completion of Zoomers is more than just another tourist attraction, the completion also means additional jobs for locals, a boost to the local economy and a place for families to spent time together.”

The Smart Companies will be providing Hurricane Protection for the entire complex. Manufacturing of the shutters will begin in December and the installation will begin in early January.

The Smart Companies to host ECHS


The Smart Companies will be hosting 50 or so students from Edison Collegiate High School, Lee Campus on Thursday December 1st. During their visit, the students will tour our manufacturing facilities to see first hand how science, technology, engineering and manufacturing all come together. While here, Brian Rist will be presenting the vision of The Smart Companies and fielding questions from the students. Brian is quoted as saying “This will be a wonderful opportunity for these students to see how all their education comes together. We look forward to having them tour our facilities and hopefully having a positive impact on their career choices.”

Along with their facility tour, the students will be meeting with Parker Bradtmiller, the Technology Director of The Smart Companies. During Parker’s presentation, he will be discussing some of the technologies used to help facilitate The Smart Companies work flow process. The discussion will also cover topics such as programming languages, open source technology and virtual servers.

Manufacturer of the Year Finalist


The Smart Companies has been nominated as a finalist for the “Manufacturer of the Year” Award, for the 2nd year in row, by the Manufactures Association of Florida. After being nominated for the award, a questionnaire is completed and returned for the Judges review. After they have completed the review of the questionnaire, a phone interview is conducted to determine which nominees advance to the Award Finalist stage. Once nominated for the Finalist stage, a Judges site visit is scheduled and conducted. During the site visit the Judges will tour, observe, and ask questions related to the six judging criteria categories. When all this is completed and site visits to the rest of the nominated Award Finalist are completed,  the Judges will call a conference and come to a consensus and the Winner of the Manufacturer of the Year Award and announced at the annual summit in Orlando, FL.

“It is an honor and privilege just to make it this far.” said Brian Rist, President of Storm Smart. “There are many great, great companies out there and to even be nominated for this award makes me very proud. Storm Smart’s success is a direct result of every employee’s dedication and hard work.”

Brian Rist will be attending the 8th Annual Manufacturers Summit and Marketplace at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport Hotel in Orlando, FL, November 30 – December 1st.

Use energy from the sun to cool homes, save energy


Fort Myers-based sustainability and storm-protection company The Smart Companies,® is now offering solar powered air conditioning systems announced CEO Brian Rist.

The solar air conditioning systems can help a customer to cut their energy bills from up to 40 to 60 percent using a new high-efficiency two-stage system that harnesses the sun’s energy to super heat the air conditioning system’s refrigerant to reduce the required work load of the compressor, which results in the lowering of the overall power consumption of the system.

“We actually installed the system in our offices and tested it for an extended period of time to measure the savings and ensure that we were bringing our customers a solid product that would have a short and significant return on there investment.” said Rist.

“Florida is one of the sunniest places on earth,” said Rist. “Where better to harness the energy of the sun to cool our homes?”

When Smart Companies started, the business focused mainly on the manufacturing and installation of residential and commercial storm-protection products. As clients realized that its storm protection provided additional benefits such as energy savings, the company found their clients were looking for other smart solutions to a variety of home-service needs, leading them to add numerous products and services.

Smart Companies’ goal is to put clients in charge of their home and business appliances, electronics and other devices saving energy and saving money. The company offers assistance with energy saving home-automation systems, earth-friendly solar solutions, energy efficient doors and windows, and storm-protection along with excellence in customer service. For more information, visit or call (239) 938-1000.

Breast Cancer Fund Raiser


The Smart Companies turned the breast cancer fund raiser into a game between buildings.

Here’s how it worked; each building had a collection jar and each employee was encouraged to donate the changed in their pockets. This is when we decided to have a little competition between buildings, at first it was just a “lets see who raises the most” game, however the plan quickly changed. The next “rule” was; for every penny that is in your jug, one cent would be taken away from your total (all monies still going the cause), so everyone started putting pennies in the other buildings jar. Now this went on for about a month and the buildings were always within a few dollars of each other.

Now, this past Friday is when game strategy came into play, Here is how the last 5 minutes played out: building 2 thought they would be tricky and get a box of pennies from the bank and place it in building 1′s collection jar, it was a full $25 worth of pennies. Then, not wanting to lose, President Brian Rist donated $80 worth of pocket change. Plant 2 thought they were goners after this, however with a last minute rally, Plant 2 collected an additional $45.

Now it was time to wait as all monies were counted and a winner announced. Minutes seemed like hours and hours seem like days, waiting for the announcement. And the winner is: Plant 2

Plant 2  – Raised a total of 112.05 – 15.43 (pennies) = 96.62

Plant 1 – Raised a total of 127.95 – 43.74 (pennies) = 84.21

Plant 3 – Raised a total of 52.25 – 0.65 (pennies) = 41.6

Brian Rist is quoted as saying “I am very happy with the efforts and proud of everyone for raising almost $300 for breast cancer research.”

Midsized firms get squeezed


Quoted from the News Press.

Midsize companies are the “middle child” of the business world: They’re coping quite well, but might do even better with a little more attention.

That was the implied message of the National Middle Market Summit held Oct. 6 at Ohio State University.

The summit called attention to a recent study showing that midsize firms – those with annual revenues of $10 million to $2 billion – are recession-hardy job-creators.

However, because they are so diverse – many are privately held – they’re often less-known to government business advocates, financiers and the general public.

“If we paid more attention to midsize companies, all of us would be in better shape,” said Brian Rist. He’s president of The Smart Companies in Fort Myers, whose core business is hurricane shutters, but which recently branched out into energy-saving products. The business employs 107 people and has $12 million in annual sales.

Rist says companies such as his are too big to qualify for many small-business-oriented programs – and too small to capture politicians’ attention.

On the plus side, that tends to make midsize companies “a little extra resourceful,” Rist said.

There’s strength in numbers: In 2010, Rist’s company and seven others with ties to the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association – banded together to score a $383,000 state training grant.

“It really comes from the associations, that I learn about these training opportunities,” Rist said. “And, training is everything.”

On a national level, here are some highlights from that study of midsize companies:

- Eighty-two percent survived the recession; barely 50 percent of smaller businesses did not.

- From 2007-10, midsize companies added 2.2 million jobs. Big businesses cut 3.7 million jobs.

- Eighty percent of the midsize firms expect to grow in 2012.

- One in four big businesses was a midsize company five years ago.

SWFL Green Futures Expo


I will be speaking this Saturday at the SWFL Green Futures Expo show at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. The Expo is opens at 10 a.m. and is free to the public. I will be speaking at 11:15 and again at 1:15. There will be Mangrove Walks, Green Home tours, free Calendars, and other guest speakers. The Smart Companies will also have a booth set-up, so stop by and say hello.

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