I Love Dayton: Business celebrates 100 years with trail of work throughout region

I Love Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton business is celebrating a major milestone.

This year marks 100 years since Copp Integrated Systems has been in business.

Since its beginning, Copp was on the forefront of inventing intercommunication. Today, the company specializes in integrated systems and designs and installs fire alarm, PA, and video surveillance systems.

Evolving from analog to digital, the company has been around for a century not only because of its work but also because of its ability to adapt.

“It’s a remarkable feat for a business to be in business for any length of time, let alone 100 years,” says Copp Systems CEO and owner Bill DeFries. “I think it speaks to the ingenuity, the industrial, the invention that took place in Dayton.”

DeFries has been at the helm for about the last decade. He considers himself a steward with big shoes to fill succeeding Tom Frericks Junior and founder Roy Stanley Copp.

“They were Morse code aficionados,” says DeFries. “I really can’t hold a candle to what their capabilities were.”

Originally founded in 1920 on Monument Avenue, Copp Systems has changed with the times.

“Tom Frericks was really instrumental in changing us from an analog company to a real systems integrator to introduce video surveillance and access control and fire alarm systems,” states DeFries.

Located today on Keowee Street, its customer base is right in its backyard.

“[Copp] started the business in an era where there was one-room schoolhouses,” describes DeFries. “There probably isn’t a school system in the Miami Valley that we haven’t installed some kind of a system in.”

Copp has designed and installed systems for many of Dayton’s old factories, the Dayton International Airport, hospitals, bases, and college campuses.

“The University of Dayton Arena– we installed that when it was first built, and we run the sound for every event that’s ever taken place there,” says DeFries.

While the company has left a trail of work all over the Dayton region over the past 100 years, Copp Systems is ready for another century.

“It’s super exciting! One hundred years is a huge milestone,” exclaims DeFries. “We are getting into more video analytics. This year we’re going to be announcing we’re getting into managed IT services.”

The business is planning a large centennial celebration for June.

“This is going to be a big year for us,” beams DeFries. “We’ve got a long, long history in Dayton. And we’re going to take our experience with all of our good customers that we continue to support, and we’re going to parlay that into a national opportunity.”

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