Columbus Telegram: IT company connecting with smaller markets

Ed Knott, founder and president of Albion-based Applied Connective Technologies, is looking to boost the business’ presence in Columbus in the next 18 months. Knott, left, is pictured reviewing IT security and networking equipment with Boone County Health Center staff.

COLUMBUS — Albion-based Applied Connective Technologies is looking to make more hookups from its Columbus office in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We want to expand our presence in Columbus,” said company President Ed Knott, who co-founded the fast-growing provider of information technology (IT), communications and security services targeting businesses, schools and municipalities in the Boone County community in 2004.

The company, which has satellite offices in Columbus and Fullerton, found its niche focusing on businesses in small towns and semi-urban cities that are too often ignored by larger service providers.

“I discovered early on that many of our clients felt undervalued and underserviced by their previous IT providers, whether because of their rural location or their company size,” said the 37-year-old Knott, a 2002 graduate of Doane College.

“We’re excited to get more involved with communities that are thriving, but underserved, and introduce them to technologies that will benefit their businesses and allow them to operate more efficiently,” he said.

Knott has the background to know what he’s talking about.

Knott, who grew up on a cattle operation in the Burwell and Ord area near Calamus Lake in central Nebraska, said Applied Connective’s aim is to expand its Columbus office staff to about a half-dozen full-time representatives, doubling staffing over the next 18 months.

He went to school in Taylor, a Loup County village of fewer than 200 people.

“I’ve always had entrepreneurial inclinations, and so I became very interested in working with local business owners that I felt I could relate to, with the goal of bringing the range of service and skill you’d typically find in a large city back to business owners in and around where I grew up.”

Applied Connective has experienced a surge of growth in recent years, and though it serves a range of clients in various industries throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, the business remains devoted to focusing on smaller markets outside the Omaha and Lincoln areas.

“Larger service providers often disregard and overlook Nebraska businesses and establishments to zero in on more heavily populated areas,” said Knott, “but businesses striving to remain competitive in smaller cities have the same needs as businesses in larger cities.”

He said company officials are excited to get more involved with communities that are thriving, but underserved, and introduce them to technologies that will benefit their businesses and allow them to operate more efficiently.

Applied Connective began putting down its footprint in Columbus about two years ago.

“We’ve already got a lot of commercial customers in Columbus,” Knott said, adding that the company has technicians operating in the community on a daily basis to serve business customers.

Applied Connective initially came to town to provide services at Sidump’r Trailer Co., a manufacturer of side-dump trailers used for agriculture and construction companies.

“They’ve been a long-time client,” said Knott, noting that Applied Connective provided the trailer producer with an IT network and servicing along with a camera surveillance system for all its buildings.

Other local commercial customers have included Pillen Family Farms, Great Plains State Bank’s three locations, Big Iron Auction and Prairie Village.

Knott said Applied Connective’s products include managed IT, networking, voice, security and surveillance services, and also the physical infrastructure these systems require.

“We can also provide the laptop and desktop computers for company staffers,” he said.