ALBION, Nebr. – May 2019 – Applied Connective Technologies is celebrating their fifteenth year in business this month. Originally starting out as a two-man operation focused primarily on IT and communication solutions, Applied Connective has evolved tremendously in the decade and a half since their inception.
Today, the 23-employee business operates as a full-service MTSP, providing customers with expert managed IT, voice, cyber security, physical security, surveillance, audio/video and high-speed wireless Internet solutions. Coming off of what was their best year yet in 2018, the group is well on their way to a year of exciting new developments, bigger office spaces and even higher goals.
Following his college graduation in 2002, Ed Knott worked as an IT professional in Lincoln, Nebr., for a couple of years but was itching to escape the urban environment to settle down in a small town. At the same time, two hours away, Tom Krings, owner of Krings Communication, Inc., was in search of a business partner with technical experience. A mutual acquaintance, knowing both parties’ strengths and long-term aspirations, introduced the two in late 2003, and soon, Tom and Ed began making plans to join forces. Ed moved to Albion in April of 2004, and he and Krings established Applied Connective Technologies in May of that same year, enjoying 11 years of success together before Tom’s retirement in 2015.
“I owe a lot to Tom both as a former business partner and a mentor,” says Applied Connective co-founder and president Ed Knott.
Fast forward a few years, and a picture of Knott assembling a growing team of IT, infrastructure and technical specialists starts to take focus. Little by little, new talent joined the company, and their service offering blossomed from a small shop to a one-touchpoint contact for all of their customers’ technical needs. Due in large part to word of mouth reviews and references from their rapidly growing list of clients, the group has stayed extremely busy.
In the past two years, Applied Connective has seen its staff add ten more employees (and still hiring), one new office in Columbus (in addition to their Fullerton and Albion locations) and countless new customers from all over the Midwest. The group has been recognized twice for outstanding performance in the industry in 2018 and will be moving from their current main office into a new, much bigger office space in Albion before year-end.
“I grew up in a very small town,” says the Taylor, Nebr., native. “And I loved that kind of true Nebraska upbringing. You learn respect and hard work. You develop important character traits much more quickly, and you figure out how to work and interact with a wide range of personalities. Most of our employees are small-town natives themselves as well, so we’re passionate about serving our friends and neighbors in rural Nebraska and beyond. I attribute our success to the skill and dedication each of our employees brings to the table.”
Applied Connective may have some firmly planted roots, but they’re also extremely mobile. Billed as the “technology group that goes the extra mile” on their website, the group certainly travels far and wide to deliver that “Nebraskan” level of personal service to their customers. As if to serve as a metaphor for the company’s evolution—starting in a singular space and expanding into multiple areas—company vehicles take off every day from headquarters in separate directions bound for consultations, on-site work, customer training and installations.
“On a given day, the majority of us typically start out in the Albion office, and within about half an hour, we disperse and scatter. By mid-morning, there aren’t too many bodies left in the office. Everybody’s out delivering personal service.”
In Applied Connective’s early years, customers were mostly localized to Boone County. Today, the company serves customers from Albion to Valentine and Yankton to Utica. And while most of the services they provide are geared toward businesses and organizations, they’ve also found an unexpected niche in providing high-speed wireless Internet to residential customers.
“High-speed wireless Internet certainly didn’t start our as our flagship service here,” mentions Knott. “But high demand in rural communities that have been neglected by larger service providers has kept us busy with installations. We now bring high-speed wireless to hundreds of households from Atkinson to Newman Grove, Albion to Duncan and Fullerton to Petersburg.”
At this 15-year milestone, Knott looks back on all the growth and change they’ve enjoyed but marks the importance of focusing on the future. “I am very grateful for the incredible customers we have and the talented, hard-working group we’ve assembled here at Applied. It’s a dream to be able to live and raise my family here in small-town Nebraska doing what I love,” he reflects.
“I’m very proud of where we’ve come from as a business, but I’m even more excited about where we’re going this year and beyond. We may have had a record year last year, but now our sights are even higher.”