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WIC Week Profile: Aetna Fire Alarm Service Co., Inc.

Meet Kathleen Guinee of Aetna Fire Alarm Service Co., Inc.

Aetna Fire Alarm Service Co., Inc. has been providing electrical services in the Greater Boston area for more than 45 years. The company focuses on fire alarm and life safety installations and code-compliant inspections and testing. 

The company is certified as a woman-owned business through the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and is also certified with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance.

Kathleen Guinee, president of Aetna, purchased the business from her father in 1997. She had been working for the company since the 1980s and became licensed by the Board of State Examiners of Electricians in the early 1990s.

Taking over the family business

Her first-hand knowledge of the trade, coupled with a business degree, readied her to take over the family business. “I’ve done every job you can do here,” Guinee said. 

Through the years, Guinee has been involved in many industry initiatives and has served on various committees and boards, including the State Electrical Board.

A union contractor employing electricians and technicians from IBEW Local 103, Aetna Fire has become a leader in the fire alarm industry, servicing high-profile clientele across Greater Boston. Guinee said the company, now in its second generation, services the several hundred buildings that comprise the Boston University system—one of its more notable partners. 

“We proudly service several other area universities and schools, high-rise office buildings, as well as many public-sector jobs,” Guinee said.

Leading the fire alarm industry in Boston

Through the years, Guinee has been involved in many industry initiatives and has served on various committees and boards, including the State Electrical Board.

A union contractor employing electricians and technicians from IBEW Local 103, Aetna Fire has become a leader in the fire alarm industry, servicing high-profile clientele across Greater Boston. Guinee said the company, now in its second generation, services the several hundred buildings that comprise the Boston University system—one of its more notable partners. 

“We proudly service several other area universities and schools, high-rise office buildings, as well as many public-sector jobs,” Guinee said.

A National Electrical Contractors Association Board member, as well as a Joint Apprentice Training Center Trust Board member, Guinee has been personally involved in efforts to support women and minority-owned contractors and tradespersons in the Boston area. Guinee said she is passionate about the push for greater diversity and female representation across the trades. She believes a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry drives productivity and innovation. 

Opportunities for women abound, she said, and companies should look to align themselves with these broader industry trends.

“Women should have a voice, and they definitely have a place in this industry,” Guinee said. “There is a place for anyone out there who wants to put in an honest day’s work.”

Taking pride in safety

As a result of its safety practices, Aetna Fire Alarm Service Co., Inc., has received Highwire’s Gold Safety Award, the only Boston area woman-owned fire alarm services company to do so in The Highwire Network. The Gold Safety Award is a point of pride, Guinee said, and further serves to “elevate our company to continue improving what we’re doing.”

The company is guided by a safety ethos in which “everyone goes home injury-free,” Guinee said. 

“Safety is the cornerstone of everything we do,” Guinee said. “We pride ourselves on our expertly trained, IBEW locally-trained electricians and technicians.”

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