To his competitors, Gerry Gallo probably seems like a multiple threat a skilled engineer, a charming public face for his company, and he speaks four languages. But for oil and gas refineries, the monitoring systems and control panels Gallo’s company assembles are the ultimate threat stopper. With Gallo’s modules in place, refineries hum along smoothly without breakdowns or potential explosions.
“These systems have logged 230 million operating hours without a single component failure,” said Gallo, president of Miami-based Custom Controls Technology.
“We have the installation records to prove it, and our equipment is state of the art.”
Gallo and about 40 other exhibitors clamored for interest at the “Summit of the Americas ’98: Energy & Environment” conference this week at the Wyndham Hotel in Miami. The summit drew government officials mapping out future energy policies and companies eager to sell products to meet those plans.
For a vendor like Gallo, who has traveled to Venezuela for trade shows three times this year, the conference provided a golden opportunity to gain wider exposure to the customers of his specialized field.
Custom Controls, which Gallo incorporated in 1987, consists of himself and six engineers who custom-assemble systems to meet
their clients’ specifications. The company counts Conoco, Exxon, Dow Chemical, Mobil, BP and Citgo among its clients, Gallo said. Last year, it had revenues of about $1 million.
Like a beaming parent proud of his-child bringing home straight A’s, Gallo displayed the features of –a small module built to monitor conditions in a refinery that could risk lives or equipment if control is lost.
“ [The module] checks for the pressure being too high, too low, irregular temperatures; anything that could disrupt the flow,” he said. “It allows the refinery to fix small problems carefully and in a sequential way before they become big problems and require a• massive plant-wide shutdown.”
Gallo demonstrated the module,- in which a light -went from green to yellow indicating a component failure elsewhere in a prospective refinery, then to red to show the problem required immediate attention. To reset the module after the problem had passed, he simply passed a ring-sized magnet over one panel.
Gallo credited his longtime colleague Phil Corso of Trip-A-Larm for developing panel components that provide Custom Controls’ systems their dependability and long life.
• ”Phil uses military-grade electrical components, so it’s like having a pickup that can carry 3,000 pounds that you load up with,
1,000 pound loads or less. It’s never going to break down,” Gallo said. “We also get lots of redundancy and backup systems, and instruction sets are hard-wired in to avoid software inconsistencies and problems.”
The company also builds control systems for clients ranging from wastewater treatment plants to drawbridge controls to • chemical processing plants.
His newest project has Gallo very excited: Custom Control has been tapped to provide control equipment for all water systems at the Atlantis hotel resort, now under construction at Paradise Island.
“This will be the largest man-, made aquarium in the world, with shark tanks and waterfalls, and we’ll be responsible for watching it all,” he said: “Our components and installation will only cost $400,000; but we’ll be safeguarding a $700 million project, and we’re very pleased.”
The summit, which has drawn more than 100 participants from- across, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America, continues through today.