When Tom Azelby and his business partner George Allgair met as students at Gettysburg College in the mid-1980s, the Internet was still a few years in the distance. More than 20 years later, the business world has seen telecommunications—specifically Internet use—explode. Azelby and Allgair are now owners of Bandwave Systems, a technology firm they opened in 2000 in Philadelphia. They have watched their venture expand from a few customers in the region to more than 500 nationwide. “We’re in the pipe business, I like to say,” said Azelby, who has a bachelor’s in political science. “We can put a pipe anywhere.” That “pipe” refers to Internet access, which has become increasingly essential to businesses of all sizes.
Now located in a historic building on High Street in Burlington City, Bandwave employs eight. It provides and services Internet connections to companies, such as Philadelphia based United Refrigeration, a distributor of HVAC, refrigeration, and air conditioning equipment. Five Below, the retailer known for selling everything at $5 or less, is also among the customer portfolio at Bandwave.
Azelby and Allgair both admit things were tough in the first couple of years, specifically after the dot-com meltdown in March 2000. By 2002, they said things had improved a bit. Azelby had heard about a great real-estate deal—the former residence of well-known judge Alexander Denbo—in downtown Burlington City. Azelby bought the three-story brick building in February 2003 for $120,000. Azelby has invested an additional $100,000 in renovations to transform the first floor into an office with space for the company’s workers and equipment. The second and third floors remain as apartments. It’s a great building,” he said. “I’m glad I made the move.”
Since then, business has continued to improve, with double digit increases in revenue except for last year, in the depth of the recession. Azelby said the company’s business model was effective because it was specialized. He stressed that the company handles all the client’s needs, including trouble-shooting and consultation. He said the company works only with commercial customers and does not provide residential service.
Bandwave sells data transmission systems such as Cable, DSL, and T1, and leases network space from multiple carriers, including Verizon, Covad, One Comm, Megapath, and Comcast. The partners attribute their success and growth to a personalized approach. They said the support staff is ready to help with any problem at any hour of the day. “And we’re not limited to a geographic region,” Azelby said. “We can deliver a connection to any business address in the United States.”
Others have noticed Bandwave, including the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce, which gave the business its New Voice Award in 2006. The award recognizes growing companies poised for success, strength, and leadership in the business community. Other local business owners have noticed too, including Anthony Mongeluzo, president of Pro Computer Service in Medford. Mongeluzo, whose firm was named the 88th fastest-growing information technology company in the United States last year by Inc. magazine, said he admires Bandwave.“I find them to be an organization that I have come to respect and trust,” the 29-year-old Mongeluzo said of Bandwave. He added that the technology and Internet field is growing rapidly because of the increased demand for web applications. “There’s plenty of business out there for everyone,” said Mongeluzo. Business is aplenty indeed, and at Bandwave Systems business appears to be piping hot!
Original Source: CHRIS BISHOP Burlington County Times – May 30, 2010 10:49 AM
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