What do we do? Who do
we do it for? If you would like to know the answers to these questions,
Who are our customers? Mostly fire and rescue agencies. We have
been involved with electronics since our founder was chosen by the US
Army to serve in the Korean War. They did a good job on him taught him
electronics, let him fight the Korean war in Berlin and provided him
with skills that were of no apparent value in the civilian world. When
he returned to the USA, he did what any other red-blooded public service
oriented unemployed young man would do. He became a fireman with the
City of Birmingham Fire Department, at Station 1 no less!
While he was employed as a fireman, he also got involved in Broadcasting
(known locally as Dr. Bop or Hopalong Harvey depending on the station
and audience). He also became a technical writer. He actually wrote the
refueling manual for the Redstone rocket (claims he never did understand
how it worked). From this odd combination of talents military (actually
the US Army Security Agency), communications, media, and writing, came
the individual known as our founder, namely Burch Falkner. Just to
balance things out, he went to a couple of colleges including the
University of Maryland and Samford University (among others), where he
almost got a degree in Industrial Management (whatever that is). Now our
multi talented founder had managerial skill in addition to his creative
Over the years, Burch worked for a lot of people including General
Electric, Boeing, Sylvania and others, more or less using his skills in
an entrepreneurial manner. Finally, in 1981, he decided to go it on his
own. His first company, known as Nu-Way Marketing shifted from an
emphasis in working with broadcasters to public safety. The company name
was changed to Falcon Direct, one of the first direct sellers of
communications in the USA.
We write a lot, talk a lot, and do a lot. We are a high-energy leading
edge organization (the only problem with being on the leading edge is
that you sometimes get cut). After all, our founder is a distant
relation to William Faulkner (you know, the dirty book writer). He says
he is going to keep on communicating and so are we! We have chosen those
with whom we wish to work, and guess who we have chosen? You guessed it,
we do for Fire and EMS!
What we do for EMS
goes back a long, long way! Those who know us, know our fundamental
reason for being in business is primarily an objective of serving those
who serve others, with a major emphasis on volunteer fire and rescue
Back in the 60s our founder, Burch Falkner, while serving with General
Electric, was instrumental in working with Pioneer Medial Systems to
develop an affordably priced field patient monitoring unit (or the
orange box as known by the old timers.)
About that same time, just down the road (actually across the way as
they say in Massachusetts), Burch was assigned to work with the Kel
Corporation (later acquired by Bell & Howell) to develop a new
generation of personal pagers and infrastructure equipment for use with
field patient monitoring systems. Some of this equipment later found its
way to Alabama and was used as the backbone for what is known today as
Emergency Medical Services. You may have heard about the HEAR system,
still used by many hospitals to provide direct communications between
hospitals and emergency transport vehicles. What you may not know is
that a similar system was developed by Burch for the State of Wisconsin
Dept. of Social Services. The system was named WISPERN (Wisconsin
Primary Emergency Radio Network) by Burch and it is still in use to this
In the mid 70s Burch worked with GTE Sylvania who had bid on a federally
funded project to develop a low cost 4 channel VHF or UHF modular radio
that would sell for less than $600 (Quite a feat at the time).
As it turned out, Sylvania was able to build the product but it cost
twice as much to build as it was being sold for! Burch took the product
to a relatively small company (now quite large) called IEC Electronics.
By 1978, under Burch's direction, the company produced the very first
talk-back pager in the USA! Regrettably, the cost of building the
product could not be brought down to an acceptable level and the product
By 1980, Burch had returned to Birmingham and began selling three basic
products to fire and rescue agencies. The Plectron bedside monitor was
the primary product with hundreds of units sold to school systems all
over Alabama. Virtually every school in the Birmingham area used these
receivers for emergency alerting from the Birmingham/Jefferson County
EMA (and many still do..)
Falcon Direct was the first equipment provider in Alabama to introduce
the Telemobile field programmable 2-way radio with built-in paging and
the Fujitsu field programmable 2-way mobile radio.
In the early 90s, as founder of Falcon Direct, Burch decided to
bring the cost of personal paging down to an affordable level. In the
late 80s a monitor type paging receiver could easily cost as much as
$500. By working with NEC, Shinwa, and Reach Electronics, Burch began
selling pagers nationwide at substantially lower prices than those
prevailing through local dealers.
As a result, Falcon Direct was recruited by Motorola to sell the Minitor
II product. This worked out to be a win-win situation for Motorola. They
got rid of us as a competitor and gained a very effective marketing
organization. We remain as the number one provider of voice pagers in
the US both for Motorola, and US Alert to this day.
In 1995, Falcon Direct recognized a need for a rapid response affordably
priced alphanumeric paging system in and around the Birmingham metro
area. The system, known as SpeedPage was built specifically for the
needs of fire and EMS users. It is still in operation at this time.
Also in the mid 90s Falcon Direct had developed a relationship with
Fujitsu pen based computers and Aironet (now Cisco) to combine the
technology of wireless LANs, pen based computers, and specialized
software to provide a new concept later known as shot cart radio.
A problem was identified in the handling of prescribed medications in
hospitals. By using the shot cart radio concept, all medications were
monitored from the time they were written till the time they were
administered. Falcon Direct was awarded a sole source contract to
provide the shot cart radio system for the Baptist Hospitals of
More recently, the Northeast Georgia Medical center came to us to
provide a booster network to amplify signals of Nextel and SouthernLinc
units used within the hospital medical complex in Gainesville, Georgia.
We have provided numerous other products for other hospitals and we are
currently working on other new projects.
We have supported the Alabama Assn. Of Volunteer Rescue squads for the
better part of a decade and has long supported, and been supported by the Birmingham
Regional Emergency Radio Services System (BREMSS). Most recently,
Falcon Direct concluded an agreement with the Alabama Firefighters Assn.
that provides added discounts to members as well as financial
contributions to the Association on all purchases made by members.
We have been pioneer participant in the development and distribution of
voice and data communications. Now we are ready to take those we serve
to the next level of integrated voice and data communications. This will
be done through a staged program whereby the dispatch and control
functions can be greatly improved by using new software systems that
eliminate the high cost of ownership, maintenance, and obsolescence.
The new software systems are available on a fee based costs that varies
depending on the number of users. It is now possible for even the
smallest user to enjoy the benefits of the latest software.
We're excited about what we do and we look forward to working with you
in providing improved patient care services!
to get in touch with us?
#36 20th Avenue NW Birmingham, AL 35215
Phone (205) 854-2611 or toll free (800) 489-2611
Fax us at (205) 853-6178
We are on the web at www.falcondirect.com