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Rising to the Challenge: FW Brown and Flood Panel


Superstorm Sandy's powerful winds and unprecedented high waves devastated New York City's coastline.

A record-setting thirteen-foot storm surge inundated subway tunnels, office buildings, and businesses, causing billions in flood damage and revealing our coastline’s vulnerability in an era of rising sea levels.

F. William Brown LLC, in conjunction with Flood Panel, LLC. offers a full range of flood protection services to protect small businesses from the threat of flooding and costly flood damage in the face of a future storm.

fwb flood panel

F.William Brown team at RISE : NYC's Demo Day. 

F. William Brown's winning RISE : NYC proposal includes the use of Sandwich Plate System (SPS) Flood Panels as a dry floodproofing measure for New York City small businesses. Made from thin and lightweight aluminum material that is filled with polyurethane elastomer, SPS Flood Panels integrate the existing concept of a modular flood barrier system with the proven success of SPS technology.

The panels are engineered to withstand hurricane forces and the hydrostatic impacts of flood water, providing small businesses with an added layer of protection to prevent flood waters from entering their building.

As one of eleven winning teams in our RISE : NYC competition, F. William Brown LLC will share up to $30 million with the other winners to install Flood Panel's SPS technology at small businesses across NYC.

“One aspect of the competition that I was most intrigued by was meeting with small business owners who were impacted by Sandy and listening to their stories. Their ability to rebound from the devastation the storm caused was inspiring. Our ability to now help protect some of these business and building owners thanks to funding from RISE : NYC is something we are looking forward to and are very proud of.” 

Russ Ellington, F. William Brown’s business development manager.

Over the next few weeks, our blog series, Rising to the Challenge, will share the stories of each of the eleven innovative resiliency technologies. Read on for this week's profile of F. William Brown.

Basic Facts

Company Name and Location: F. William Brown, LLC- Norwich, CT

Team: Russ Ellington, Business Development Manager for F. William Brown, LLC and Manager of Flood Mitigation Division; Tom Osborne, Founder and Owner of Flood Panel, LLC 

Name of Winning RISE : NYC Technology: Sandwich Plate System (SPS) Flood Panels

About: A floodproofing solution that provides small businesses with a layer of protection to keep floodwaters out of buildings. 

Benefit: SPS flood panels are thinner and lighter than other flood barriers which allows for space-saving storage, simple installation, and easy deployment before a storm event. 

Technology Category: Building Systems. Technologies in this category help improve the resiliency of critical building components before, during, and after a storm.

An Interview with F. William Brown, LLC

What mechanics went into developing your technology? 

The development of the new SPS Flood Panel system required more than a year of engineering and design changes.

Prototypes of the interlocking panels and wall supports had to be created along with new extrusion die designs for the custom gaskets, supports, and panels.

The final designs will be performance tested using solid works testing software. Once the design passes the computer 3D testing, the final design will be fabricated and tested. The final product will be certified by FM Global.

What type of small businesses/buildings will benefit most from your technology? 

Any small business owner who owns a commercial building will benefit from our technology, and the patented SPS Flood Panel is ideally suited for NYC small businesses for multiple reasons.

fw brown flood panels

SPS flood panels create a thinner flood barrier, requiring less storage space and faster deployment than traditional flood barriers.

Our flood protection technology can help minimize business interruption and loss of productivity by keeping the flood waters out of the building.

Because of the SPS technology, we are able to create a thinner flood barrier which allows for less storage space needed when the system is not deployed. An additional benefit to thinner barriers is that they are lighter in weight than traditional flood barriers, which allows for a faster deployment during a storm event.

Our technology’s ability to protect a small business’ buildings and contents along with taking up less storage space, which is at a premium for businesses in NYC, is a tremendous benefit to all businesses and building owners across the five boroughs.

How do programs like RISE : NYC support innovation and climate adaptive technologies like yours? 

Programs like RISE : NYC allow us to develop products and services that have a positive impact on small business owners who have been or potentially could be impacted by natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

Learn more about SPS flood panels here.

About the Rising to the Challenge series: Eleven innovative resiliency technologies are helping to build a stronger, more resilient New York. What are they and who are the companies behind them?

This blog series shares the stories of each of the winning RISE : NYC technologies and the impact they will have on businesses and communities in New York City. Read all profiles here



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