A Brief History of Hedgerow Software
Hedgerow Software, founded in 1993, provides environmental health and safety (EHS) technology for government agencies across North America. Client success is our mission and passion.
Neil Grinwis formed a one-person company as “Hedgehog” named after his daughter due to hair that stood straight up like a hedgehog. Neil began development on an application known as PHIReS (Public Health Information Reporting System).
The application began shipping to select health agencies and was developed to run in Windows 3.11 on laptops -- something that was quite large at the time -- in a disconnected state. Even in its earliest incarnation, PHIReS was data-driven and unique in the Environmental Health world. It included Inspections, facility management, contact management and risk assessments. The entire application was written in MS Visual Basic 3 with an MS Access backend and was shipped on 3 3-1/2 inch double-sided floppy disks.
PHIReS was rewritten in MS Visual Basic 5.0 with MS Access 6.0 backend database. The new “PHIReS II” application was much faster than the original and architected to run in the new MS Windows environments. The application now shipped on CD.
The company receives national scale attention and hires more team members to produce a new version of the application to take advantage of newer technologies and be much more expandable for larger health agencies. The new application was written in Delphi and incorporated an MS SQL Server backend.
This new version began shipping in 1997 and was quickly adopted by existing agency clients. The application was also rebranded to be called “Hedgehog Inspector” and it expanded to include service requests, complaints, a built-in report writer, and many other features.
The product evolved to become known as the “Hedgehog Environmental System.” In England a hedgerow is a row of bushes where hedgehogs are known to live, thus “Hedgehog” (the product) lives in (“Hedgerow”) the company.
First web Disclosure Portal is released.
The company officially changes their name to “Hedgerow Software” as a Hedgerow is a row of hedges where hedgehogs are found.
A third-party development team was brought in to help with a complete rewrite of Hedgehog. This version would take advantage of Microsoft’s newest .NET technology and greatly improve the user experience. The application was renamed “Hedgehog.Net”, however, before the application was ready for market, Hedgerow discovered a major flaw with the security and architecture and decided not to release the product. Back to the drawing board.
Architecture was completely rewritten and the security hole fixed. The application was released to production and was adopted across the board as the new de facto standard for environmental health software. While the application was still called “Hedgehog.Net” by some, it was also branded as “Hedgehog 4.0” and contained numerous enhancements and new workflows.
A new portal called “Quill” was developed that included the ability for the agency’s clients to log in and review their inspection information, and even begin a “self-assessment” (an inspection performed by the client that would be performed on the web and be uploaded to Hedgehog”. The Quill Portal even had the ability for the client to log questions and responses, including uploading documents and pictures, to their individual violations. The inspector could review their submissions in the office and reject/accept without having to travel back out to the client site.
Hedgehog took a development leap with new architecture and integration of completely redesigned workflows, including a new billing system, document management and a report writer overhaul. Hedgehog 5.0 was released as an upgrade for existing clients and quickly adopted.
Conestoga College in Ontario Canada adopts Hedgehog for use in their Bachelor of Environmental Public Health program.
Hedgehog is released in a new fully multilingual format. Clients can choose to run the application Canadian English, US English, and/or Canadian French. New languages are being added as needed, with US Spanish being released in 2022.
The new 2-way, multilingual Hedgehog Portal includes all the features of the classic Hedgehog Disclosure Portal, including the disclosure of inspection information, documents, enforcement items, facility closures, and so much more. It is even integrated with maps for visual searches. However, the real magic of the new Hedgehog Portal is that it includes all the abilities of the Quill portal plus new workflows. Owners can sign in and review and pay their invoices, fill in new application forms, fill in service request forms, respond to their violations and more. The new Hedgehog Portal is being released in the summer of 2022.
Hedgerow Software Vision for Agencies
Develop and provide information system solutions of the highest quality to environmental health regulatory agencies.
Exceed client expectations and build upon our reputation of providing quality services.
Enable clients to increase productivity and better allocate agency resources.