When your business is a product of a company that was around back in 1929, you quickly learn what really matters. "Our employees are our biggest asset," said Hal Kern, vice president of Powercom, a New Rochelle, NY-based systems integration firm servicing New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as several national accounts.
Born out of the Carroll-Latner Corporation, an electrical construction company that was established in during the Great Depression and owned by his father, Powercom is operated by Kern and his wife, Rosa, who holds the title of president.
"As an electrical contractor, we used to install all types of structured cabling, communication systems and low-voltage systems," he recalled. "We started to see that it was becoming a specialty that we couldn't do efficiently with electricians. We needed communication workers that were dedicated to that type of skill set. Our customers were also becoming much more selective; they preferred to have a specialized company both design and install their systems."
Powercom designs, installs and maintains structured cabling systems, business communication systems, building automation technologies, wired and wireless networks, and electronic security systems for clients in industrial, institutional, healthcare, financial, legal and educational markets. A year after the company was formed, Inc. magazine rated it 161 among the 500 fastest-growing companies in the nation.
The need for a knowledgeable company that can address all systems is growing, as technologies continue to converge, Kern observed. "There is a growing need for customers to have a full-service technology company-a company that can integrate a variety of different technologies, such as their voice and data network together with their security systems. They are building automation systems and wireless networks. Everything is coming together across the data network."
This requires companies like Powercom to dedicate time and money to employee training. This has led to the development of partnerships with other systems integration companies that specialize in different areas, Kern explained. "For example, the security industry has become so advanced that security systems contractors now specialize in the technical aspect of the installation-such as configuring, selecting equipment and programming systems. They subcontract a lot of the installation work out to companies like us, which then do the cabling and the installation of the actual equipment, such as card access and camera systems. There is a growing need for a strong structured cabling company that provides these services in conjunction with a firm that specializes in these other high-tech parts of the business."