County Government Case Study: Cuming County, Nebraska


Case Study

In early 2020, Lisa Hunke accepted a part-time position as the Information Technology Coordinator for Cuming County in West Point, Nebraska. She and other members of the IT team quickly realized the county IT systems and cyber security posture faced some serious vulnerabilities.


Hunke reached out to Applied Connective Technologies on a referral from another Nebraska county customer who expressed appreciation of Applied Connective’s service. The team requested information and quotes from other managed technology services providers (MTSPs) as well, focused on selecting the most qualified and fitting team to accommodate their needs and their budget.


Suddenly, the pandemic hit.


Along with the rest of the world, Cuming County was suddenly faced with the reality of continuing daily operations while prioritizing the health and safety of the public and county employees. The onset of Covid turned out to be a pivotal point in their decision-making process. Hunke states she was both surprised and impressed when Applied Connective’s company president Ed Knott reached out to her personally to offer assistance, even though the county had not yet officially selected a MTSP. Ed offered to equip Cuming County with the resources necessary for county employees and officials to work in a secure work-from-home environment should the need arise.


They quickly took him up on his offer.


Within days, each County office was provided with the necessary and appropriate technology solutions to work remotely (and securely) without skipping a beat.


According to Hunke, that experience sealed the deal for Cuming County and their trust in Applied Connective took root. Shortly thereafter, the decision to commit to partnering exclusively with Applied Connective was finalized.


Quickly, Hunke began to understand the magnitude of the county’s vulnerability as Applied Connective’s IT experts explained the imminent threats that loomed—it was no longer a question of “if” but “when.” It was during these conversations that Hunke noticed something different about the Applied Connective approach: they took the time to really listen and understand the needs and concerns of the people so they could make informed and intentional decisions about the technologies that would best support Cuming County. Understanding that change is often met with resistance, Hunke appreciated Applied Connective’s patience and professionalism while taking time to explain the validity and importance of their IT recommendations.

“Many of our employees are unsure about new technology and struggle to understand the need for change,” remarked Hunke. “Ed, Will, and the whole team have been patient with us, thorough when explaining benefits and recommendations, and strategic in planning transitions that flowed smoothly, focused on streamlining for ease and simplicity…and on education so that we would be more knowledgeable moving forward.”

As Applied Connective’s leaders assessed the needs of Cuming County’s government offices, a few areas were identified as being in most urgent need of attention.

Offices utilized their own independent internet connections.


• The issue: Over time, individual county offices had established internet service and wireless access independent of other offices, resulting in multiple county service agreements with internet service providers. Some of the connections were secure, some were not. Some offices had no wireless capabilities at all. Sharing of Wifi with guests risked compromising the security of the network. Multiple bills from internet providers were processed by the county each month. Multiple independent agreements within the county resulted in unnecessary expense and poor security.


• The solution: Consolidate into one fiber internet connection to support all offices in the county government to provide:

     • Significant cost savings
     • One bill to manage
     • A simplified system
     • Managed protection against cyber security breaches


• The result: By securely consolidating the networks, all offices enjoyed a far superior internet usage experience, far greater security, and collectively, the courthouse saved money. They now sleep easier, confident that their systems and data are being protected from ever-evolving and -increasing cyber security threats thanks to a centrally managed firewall. Plus, when a guest comes into their building and needs to use their internet, a guest network is used to allow secure, segregated access—protecting both the guest and the county government.

Offices had their own independent phone system.


• The issue: Several departments had purchased their own phones to be used as the primary phones for that office. In doing so, these users were unable to transfer calls

between offices, place interoffice/intercom calls to other employees, receive voicemail notifications via email, etc. Utilization of these independent phone systems was inefficient and frustrating, not to mention expensive.


• The solution: Applied Connective sat down with each county government office to assess what they had, what they liked, and what they wished could happen with their phone systems. Then they provided a centralized modern phone system that was the best option to support their needs.


• The result: There were significant cost savings on the phone bills, but more importantly, they were upgraded to a much more efficient, intuitive, and modern system. Applied Connective sat with each department to ensure they understood the new equipment and how to use it to its fullest potential.

Employees were utilizing unsecure email accounts, which left their accounts vulnerable.


• The issue: Several county employees were utilizing email accounts that offered minimal security, leaving important data susceptible to security breaches, such as credential compromise and phishing.


• The solution: County governments are eligible to utilize .gov email addresses that are more secure. Applied Connective migrated all emails and set up systems in Microsoft 365 to ensure better collaboration and email security. They then trained staff to use the systems and enabled MFA (multi-factor authentication).


• The result: Far more secure systems that allow for peace of mind and compliance with the State of Nebraska and cyber insurance requirements.


Many county governments across the state of Nebraska operate on clunky, outdated systems that leave vulnerable the data of their residents, people, and employees. Often, they don’t realize how vulnerable they are until it’s too late, and breaches can be devastating. Understandably, many offices find state and federal government compliance measures to be overwhelming to navigate. Partnering with nearly 40 Nebraska county governments now, Applied Connective understands what a county government needs to be secure and efficient, operating seamlessly and cost-effectively together.

Applied Connective goes the extra mile to build a custom solution that meets county governments where they’re at and develops a plan to help them move in a better direction with state-of-the-art but simple-to-use solutions.

Knowledge is power. If you’re unsure where to start, Applied Connective offers a free, no-obligation technology consultation and would be happy to attend your next county board meeting to discuss and share recommendations. The majority of our county government clients invite us to their board meetings to ensure they are up to date on state and federal regulations and to develop plans for integrating changes locally.

Kory Bourek

IT Support Specialist

Kyle Oldenkamp

Relationship Manager

Shelby James

IT Support Specialist in the Panhandle

Mandy Luettel

Director of Growth & Development

Noah Burwell

IT Support Specialist

Chase Gragg

IT Support Specialist

Vaughn Finkral

IT Support Specialist

Ron Leimser

IT Support Specialist

Jill Petsche

IT Support Specialist

Nevan Hoffman

IT Support Specialist

Lacey Henn

Administrative Assistant

Andrew Grupp

IT Support Specialist

Heath Murray

IT Support Specialist

Will Frey

AVS Technician

Konnor Gibson

IT Systems Specialist

  • Peanut butter
  • Canned soup
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned stew
  • Canned fish
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned beans
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Powdered milk
  • Boxed meals
  • Cooking oils
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Detergent
  • Hand soap
  • And any other food, hygiene, or household product that is unused, unopened, and unexpired.

Kenley Silhacek

Senior IT Systems Engineer

Mason Uhing

IT Support Specialist

Faith Nunn

IT Support Specialist

Kara Frey

Administrative Assistant

Brandi Lueninghoener

IT Support Specialist

“Lakeview Community Schools has enjoyed our partnership with Applied Connective. They have been incredibly responsive, knowledgeable, and cooperative as we have worked together. Applied Connective has provided a team-like atmosphere in their service!”

Aaron Plas, Superintendent

Lakeview Community Schools

“We have been very pleased with their communication, efficiency, and customer service over the course of the last few years. We would highly recommend ACT to any other schools out there looking for a reliable partner for your technology needs.”

Brandon Detlefsen, Technology Director

Central City Public Schools

“Their service is always reliable and timely, and the staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. Our needs are their #1 priority! Boone Central is beyond grateful to have top-of-the line technology services and customer support.”

Nicole Hardwick, Superintendent

Boone Central Public Schools

“They’ve been with us every step of the way as we implemented phone systems, security cameras, and keypad doors. Their customer service is second to none, and their business knowledge is outstanding.”

Ronda Weber, Technology Coordinator

Burwell Public School

Applied Connective did an amazing job with our school security cameras. They were very professional and easy to work with. [They’re] patient with our questions and quickly respond when we need some direction. The cameras work great and are very easy to access. Thank you for a job well done!”

Amy Sokol, Principal

St. Anthony's School

Lance Bain

Voice Technician

Brigitte Burbach

HR Manager

Clay Anderson

IT Support Specialist

Brandon Petersen

Relationship Manager & IT Engineer

Relationship Manager/IT Engineer – I work side by side with our clients to ensure they are receiving the best value from our products and services, offer insights to improve their workflows, and resolve any issues that may arise as fast as possible.

Logan Niewohner

IT Systems Specialist

Justin Borgmann

Level 1 IT Technician

As a level 1 IT Technician, I assist customers in their daily IT needs, and respond to any issues that may arise.

Bryce Molt

Level 1 IT Technician

As a Level 1 IT Technician, I provide general help desk support for clients.

Weston Ray


Casey Schalk

AVS Technician

My role as a general technician at Applied Connective is primarily to work with the AVS crew to install and configure surveillance, internet, security, and voice technologies.

Grady Higgins

IT Support Specialist

Eric Beckman

AVS Project Foreman

Kris Wright

General Technician

My role as General Technician includes installation and troubleshooting of door access and camera security systems.

Mikki Mangus

General Accountant

Some of my duties as General Accountant include payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable and reconciliation. I am happy that I am part of the Applied Connective Team.

Heidi Kahlo

IT Technician

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Eric Petsche

General Technician

My role as a general technician at Applied Connective is primarily to work with the AVS crew to install and configure surveillance, security, Internet, and voice technologies.

Kelsi Funk

IT Systems Specialist

Chase Thieman

AVS Technician

My role as an AVS technician at Applied Connective is to work with the AVS team to install and configure surveillance, security, internet, and voice technologies.

Cody Banzhaf

IT Manager

Eric Henn

Voice Technician

My job is to do whatever Ed tells me to. Just kidding…sort of. I am part of the voice group.

Alex Herstedt

Telecom / IT Technician

As a Telecom/IT Technician, I work with traditional and hosted phone systems.

Scott Whaley

Level 2 IT Technician

I’m part of the IT team at Applied Connective, so my days are spent setting up new PCs for customers; troubleshooting broken PCs, printers, etc., and installing new hardware.  

Jessi Larson

Creative & Marketing

I’m in charge of creative content development and marketing here at Applied Connective—advertising, design, copywriting, website management, PR, and social media as well as coordinating philanthropy efforts.

Matt Childress

Relationship Manager

Sara Rasmussen

IT Service Manager

Nathan Niewohner

IT Project Manager

Justin Niewohner

AVS Project Manager

I install surveillance, security, Internet, phone, and audio systems to fit our customers’ needs.

Ryan Robinson

AVS Service Technician

I provide and coordinate technical services and support for infrastructure, access control, surveillance, and audio/video solutions.

Jarod Dendinger

Business Development

My role here at Applied Connective centers on business development, so that involves assisting our team in focusing on value-added processes as well as leveraging technology to provide solutions for our business partners that support them in continued success and growth.

Will Zoucha

Operations Manager

Ed Knott


As President at Applied Connective, I am responsible for organizational direction and general oversight of all product/service areas.