Security Products Reprint

Security Products Reprint
August 28, 2023
Facility Engineering Magazine Reprint
September 28, 2023

Banking on Security

LOS ANGELES—In mid-July, as the date of the Democratic Convention approached, the director of security for Wells Fargo, Richard Ward, decided that the heavily glassed facility needed increased protection against glass breakage due to a riot situation, or even worse, a bomb blast.

Earlier this year, political activists damaged numerous Seattle properties during demonstrations against the World Trade Organization (WTO). “We didn’t want to see a repeat of the Seattle WTO conference happening in Los Angeles,” said Ward.

In August 2000, the Democratic National Convention was held at Staples Center in California. Situated just blocks away is The Wells Fargo Center. At more than 50 stories, it is the tallest building in Los Angeles.

In the hub of the Los Angeles downtown business district, the Wells Fargo facility has thousands of pedestrians walking through the building every day. Wells Fargo’s primary concern was to protect its employees and tenants from potential flying glass. Similar to Wells Fargo, concerns of the tenants included the safety and protection of their patrons, employees and visitors.

Ward contacted ShatterGard for advice in protecting the windows from potential vandalism. ShatterGard is an optically clear, virtually impenetrable window film that applies to glass to defend against vandalism, terrorism and burglaries.

The initial contact for the project was via e-mail during the third week in July. The required completion date was August 9, giving only 10 days to complete this massive, 10,000 square foot installation. The e-mail was sent to the ShatterGard headquarters in Atlanta. And within 24 hours, Ward was provided with technical information regarding structural, ballistic and bomb blast reports. In addition, ShatterGard demonstration video tapes were sent to all tenants.

A ShatterGard representative was in Los Angeles 48 hours later to measure the windows. The same day a threat-level evaluation was made and the correct type and thickness of film was selected to meet the required specification. Vice president of ShatterGard Jordan Frankel said, “After staying on the phone for 7 hours, my staff and I were able to arrange for the necessary ShatterGard film and initial six-person crew to begin the installation within 72 hours of the initial contact by Mr. Ward.”

A key reason for Wells Fargo’s selection of ShatterGard was ShatterGard’s ability to install the film on existing glass, providing near ballistic protection without the cost and reconstruction needed to install ballistic glass. Frankel further stated, “The same job using ballistic glass would cost around $550,000 versus the $125,000 quoted by ShatterGard. And unlike costly ballistic glass, ShatterGard window films do not yellow or distort over time.”

Quick response time, ShatterGard’s proven track record of being able to complete a large job on short notice and references from existing clients helped the decision as well. Ward was very impressed with ShatterGard’s client list, such as the FBI, the Naval Warfare Center, America Online, The Smithsonian Institute and a variety of corporate and retail facilities worldwide.

Ward Stated though other companies were contacted by Wells Fargo, non were able to complete a job of this size in the time frame required at an acceptable cost. ShatterGard also offers a warranty that offers re-filming any window that is intentionally damaged or broken. The guarantee is for life and covers any ShatterGard-treated windowpane.

Ward realized that the potential for glass damage during the Democratic Convention was real, and the guaranteed re-filming in the event of damage was a factor in his overall decision.

The priority was to protect the windows near ground level. National political conventions have a history of problems in areas surrounding convention facilities. Political conventions often bring protesters, and occasionally demonstrations get out of hand. The film had to protect against rocks, bottles and other objects.

The job in excess of 10,000 square feet was able to be completed, on time, in only eight days.

The Installation

The specifics of the installation were confidential by contract, but a new generation of ShatterGard film was utilized. The new film is optically clear and offers increased strength when properly installed.

In addition to applying the ShatterGard film to the window, the ShatterGard exclusive FLEXI-SEAL anchoring system was used to attach the applied film to the window frame. This anchoring system offers additional strength by absorbing a percentage of shock waves should a windowpane be struck. In the unlikely event that the window is struck with significant force causing glass breakage, the FLEXI-SEAL anchoring system also helps keep the windows in the frames.


Management of the Wells Fargo Center was concerned about mess and odor during installation. Due to the short time necessary to complete the installation of the film, ShatterGard technicians were provided with security credentials and allowed access to the facility 24 hours a day. Installation continued around the clock. The film was installed on tenant spaces during normal business hours with little disruption, mess or odor. ShatterGard technicians had to work while restaurants were operating, while businesses were open, and around opening and closing doors. Pedestrian traffic was extremely heavy due to the Democratic Convention.

The installation was big and had to be done quickly. Other downtown Los Angeles companies were so impressed with the product that additional business was generated while ShatterGard was completing the installation. Equity Offices, a nationwide property management company, hired ShatterGard to film the windows of its corporate offices.

As for the finished product, Wells Fargo asset manager Sarah Shaw said, “We have been impressed with the professionalism of ShatterGard and quality of its product. I appreciate the quick response and flexibility in getting the job done.”

The convention went off without any major problems and the Wells Fargo Center has added a layer of protection that will last for many years.

Jordan Frankel is vice president of ShatterGard Security and Safety Window Film.