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Six At 702 Celebrate 20 Years

702 Communications began providing internet and phone services to the Fargo Moorhead area back in 1991. Needless to say, technology has changed quite a lot since those days, but some of the faces providing to the community have not. Fargo INC! took a few moments to talk to six of the earliest 702 Communications employees to get their take on some career accomplishments as the biggest leaps they’ve seen the industry make over the past 20 years.

Jeff Abele, Hosted VoIP Installer

Jeff joined 702 Communications just shy of 20 years ago, but we think it’s close enough to count. Specializing in phone technology, he notes the accelerated evolution. When asked what he felt to be his greatest accomplishment, Jeff replied, “Just trying to keep up with the technology in the last 20 years. (It) seems like it is always changing.” As an example, phone communication used to involve sound waves creating an electrical current sent along copper wires. Today, sound waves convert into 1s and 0s and travel near light speed along the thin glass of fiber optics. “I like what I do,” Jeff added, “(It’s) something different all the time.” No kidding.

Rachel Weber, Customer Relations Manager

Rachel sums it up best when reflecting on her career with 702 Communications. “My first job was porting telephone numbers for residential customers from other carriers over to 702. The promotional offer at the time was, ‘switch your local service and long distance to 702 and we will double the long-distance minutes.’ It’s funny to think back on it now. At that time, too, we were really excited about offering our customers 256K speed for DSL (internet) service. Keep in mind that this was a significant upgrade for customers that had dial-up service. Today, we can offer our customers Gig service! Evolving with our customers is fastpaced and exciting. I really enjoy the people I work with here at 702. There is a strong sense of team and it shows up in so many positive ways.”

Randy Farwell, Senior Sales Consultant

The longest-tenured employee, Randy, started at 702 Communications on November 29, 1999. More than 20 years later, he continues to do direct sales. As he puts it, “From business band radio, pagers and cell phones, this gig brings it all together. When I first started, we had no real products —no sales process or price plans. We developed all of them and most are still in use today. Dial-up internet was the only option then, and now we sell Gigabit. The telephone line and phone book were all-important. Now, it’s the cloud. It never gets boring. We represent a fantastic product and company, and
some very good people to work with.”

Brian Crommett, CEO

When Brian first walked in the door at 702 in 2000 as a temp, something clicked.
“Getting in on the ground floor of a new company was exciting. We were building
something from the ground-up. I really felt the sky was the limit.” As it turned out, he
was right. As the company grew, so did Brian, moving from that temp position through
customer service, helpdesk, sales and management, finally taking his place as CEO.
“I’m lucky,” Crommett says. “There are a lot of talented people here. A lot of strong
friendships, a lot of commitment.” Having hired more than a third of all employees
in 702 Communications’ history, he continues to maintain the original values and
entrepreneurial spirit as the company looks towards the future.

Mike Day, Operations Manager

Mike started as an Outside Plant Technician and cites his biggest accomplishment as being able to move indoors in his current role as Operations Manager. Changing jobs to climb the ladder, so to speak, has become increasingly more common in r recent years. We wanted to know why Mike went the traditional route and stayed loyal to a single company. “I have remained at 702 for numerous reasons. The biggest of them is that employees of this company are more than employees, they are more like family. The gentleman that started this company had family values and those values are still with us even though he has retired.

Mark Olgard, Special Access Coordinator

Back in February of 2000, as the world was still coming off the Y2K scare, Mark joined 702 Communications as a Customer Service Supervisor. Flash forward 20 years and Mark continues to provide customer support but in a new way. Moving into his current role, Mark works with wholesale customers; that is, helping other telecommunications companies across the country provide internet to their communities just like 702 Communications serves the Fargo-Moorhead region. “(It’s) just a great environment to work in. (702 Communications) has always been a forward-thinking company and also provides new
opportunities and great benefits.”

What do the next 20 years bring? Considering the rate of innovation, it’s hard to far in advance. But in the last year alone, 702 Communications proved it’s thinking ahead. Opening a Data Center last summer gives customers a secure way to connect, backup and store data. In January, 702 Communications acquired Computer Wrench to expand its managed services offering. This services-as-a-subscription model can help any business in the Fargo-Moorhead region bundle a wide variety of IT services from security to automation into a predictable monthly fee. Ask Randy about it or any 702 Communications employees who are on their own way to 20 years of service.

702 Main Ave Moorhead | 218.284.5702 | 702com.net

Written by Brady Drake

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