Austin-Based 3M Window Film Company Secures Schools
(This story first appeared on Security Magazine’s website in 2019.) With bomb threats, school shootings, and other violent acts reported nationwide from the classroom, education officials are making improvements to the security of their facilities – including 3M™ Scotchshield™ Safety & Security Window Film.
One Austin-based company, Sunsational Solutions, knows this first hand. Owner Jonathan Thompson has positioned himself to be a 3M™ Window Film expert for school districts in the Austin-San Antonio region of Texas. His company has installed security film on more than seven school districts, comprising of dozens of K-12 schools. He works directly with architects, school officials, and construction managers.
“I tell them that security window film is a deterrent; it’s not bullet proof,” Thompson said. “The whole concept with window film is that it is there to buy time.” This is because the fragment retention window film does not shatter into thousands of pieces when impacted. Rather, the film causes the glass to stay together. The security enhancement translates to less people getting hurt from flying glass shards and more time for emergency officials to arrive.
“You want to make sure, as a parent, that your children are safe,” Thompson said.
Austin is one of the fastest growing areas of the country, with Census data showing an 18.9 percent increase from 2010 to 2017 within the city limits. San Antonio grew 13.9 percent within that same timeframe. That new growth has spurred the need for new schools. With new construction, said Thompson, security film is incorporated into the building specs. Matured schools are adding the window film, too. “It is the only product that can be added to a school that works 24/7 toward security,” Thompson said. “Security cameras and key card entries are equally important but are only good if the power is on and the person monitoring the cameras is paying attention.”
Manufactured by a household brand name, 3M™ Scotchshield™ Safety & Security Window Film’s Ultra Series incorporates proprietary micro-layered and tear resistant technology. 3M rigorously tests its window film products against a multitude of explosion and blast standards, including both shock tube and open-air arena testing. The product also protects against chemical explosions, spontaneous glass breakage, and natural disasters.
“The whole point of the film is that no one knows it’s there,” Thompson said. “We don’t advertise to the general public where the film has gone up so that someone could adjust their entry strategy.”
Thompson grew up in the window film business, completing his first installation at the age of 14. He purchased Sunsational Solutions from his father in 2007 after college graduation. He runs the company with his wife, Lori Lacy. The two have worked with a variety of clients in the education system over the years, including several of Austin’s colleges and universities.