ELMHURST, IL-Greg Augspurger started out as an engineer at an integrator in Chicago called Rich Inc. Eventually, he left the company and created his own, producing the Smart system, a mini distribution system for schools. The company would partner with Dukane, and with Augspurger they marketed the product. After a year or so Dukane bought his company outright and for several years he worked with Dukane. As the years passed, Augspurger decided he wanted to move on to something else.
About this time, Ed Karl found himself in a similar situation. Karl was a CPA getting his start in accounting. He eventually got a position with a large real estate development firm that put him in charge of running a holding company, overseeing a number of properties. His abilities grew in managing acquisitions and bringing companies together. When Augspurger approached Karl about getting into systems integration, they surveyed the Chicago landscape.
As Augspurger remembers it, "There were a number of integrators in the Chicago area, and we had the idea of combining them into one with a strong IP networking background. We saw the convergence coming in the industry, so we thought we'd have an edge if we had the expertise in house to take all these different types of products and integrate onto the network. So we founded Pentegra in 2000 and bought three companies over a three-year period in Chicago."
Pentegra Systems integrated audio and video systems for the casino gaming floors, Kids Quest areas, guest suites, training rooms, and conference rooms at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI.
Each of these integrators has become an important piece to the convergence puzzle for Pentegra. Wizdum Audio was founded in August 1982, specializing in designing, installing, and servicing professional audio and video systems for acoustical environments and venues. Integrated Media Systems was a full-service AV systems integrator established in December 1995, specializing in the design, installation, and support of AV, security camera monitoring, card access, media retrieval, and networked multimedia systems. Farnsworth Computer Services was in business for 25 years and started out as the original Apple Computer store in the Chicago area. Farnsworth specialized in consulting, designing, installing, and supporting complete turnkey networking solutions.
With this combination of talents, Pentegra has become a powerful force in the industry. Augspurger explained, "It's a very fast-paced environment. Technology has made quantum leaps and the prices are dropping. The key is having the right people to understand it and apply it. As we grow, we try and get people that can learn and grow with us. You have to be able to multitask. Our guys have to understand how all these separate bits go together."
This is important to Pentegra's clients. "A lot of our clients like the concept of one stop shopping," Augspurger said. "They'll come to us about something like an IP camera system, and then they'll come back to us for something completely different because they know a lot of the systems we deploy will be on the network."