Outlook 2013: Telecom exec shares secrets of firm’s success
Ed Degenhart, chief operating officer of Clifton Park-based Subsidium Technologies, was recently selected to serve on CenturyLink’s national advisory council.
Degenhart founded Subsidium 10 years ago to provide network communication equipment and expertise to its clients.
CenturyLink, formerly known as CenturyTel Inc., is the third-largest provider of telecommunications equipment in the country. During his time on the board, Degenhart will inform CenturyLink about issues facing customers and how to find solutions.
Degenhart also sits on the advisory board for Level3 Communications. Before founding Subsidium, he worked at Qwest, where he helped clients find the right telecommunications equipment. He also worked at IKON Technologies Services. He spoke to The Gazette recently.
Q: How has your business managed to thrive in tough economic times?
A: “We’re growing by leaps and bounds. We operate a lot in telecommunications and also in the cloud [having external servers off site and retrieving programs via the Internet]. A lot of organizations are shifting their technology to the cloud because it’s a more cost-effective model.”
Q: How is the industry changing?
A: “It does change pretty rapidly, and I think a lot of that has to do with the cloud itself. It’s such a commonly used term. It truly is changing the experience for customers. Instead of having internal IT staff and technologies, they can just buy the application for the cloud, and it takes the thinking out of it.”
Q: Why did you start this business?
A: “When we worked for telecommunication carriers directly, we had to sell directly what was in our bag. In this model, we’re able to leverage our knowledge and experience to select the best products and services to meet our customers needs.”
Q: What is a typical day?
A: “The first priority is any customers that have any issues. We look to resolve those with those vendors.”
Q: What is the secret to growing a successful business?
A: “It really has a lot to do with the people — the people that you bring on board — and providing an environment that’s flexible in time and meets your employees’ needs.”
Q: What makes your business stand out from its competitors?
A: “I think it’s commitment. We have competition from the [telecommunication] carriers. I think it’s our trusted advisory role and helping and earning the trust of our customers to know that we’re going to pick the right solution set and negotiate it to their advantage. And knowing that we’re always there for them, if they have a service issue or a billing issue.”
Q: What advice do you have for other people starting up businesses?
A: “Be optimistic, but also be guarded in the choices you make and the money you spend to grow that business. A lot of people get caught up [in spending money quickly]. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk.”
To read all the stories from the 2013 Outlook special report, click here.