Success Comes Quickly for Connected Technologies
NEW WATERFORD, Ohio – To say business is growing at a rapid pace is an understatement for Shawn Campbell, co-owner and project estimator at Connected Technologies.
The company started in March 2021, and the number of completed jobs has more than doubled since then.
Connected Technologies is a low-voltage contractor dealing with the installation of data cables/towers, fiber optics, access control panels and security cameras.
“This is my passion. Professionally, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s the same work, but it’s different every day,” Campbell said.
There are currently five employees, including Campbell’s son, Tyler. He’s been working with his dad since he was 16.
Where the Connection Was Made
They each got exposure to the industry at a young age. Shawn was introduced during his high school years in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I worked as an outside plant engineer helper for South Central Bell. I took measurements along roads for cable.”
After graduating, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and became a telephone technician. He served for six and a half years and left to work at another company for a year.
“Following that job, I ended up at Datacom. I was there for 23 years – with 17 of those years managing the company.”
Shawn admits it was his wife who talked him into starting his own business.
“She told me, ‘You need to do this.’ So here I am.”
Reliability Lies in Certifications
This line of work can require a host of certifications from the Building Industry Consulting Services International. There are several levels that can be completed.
“That’s my hope in the next few years. I want my employees to get more certifications,” Shawn said.
He says Tyler has certifications for access control and does about 90 percent of that type of work for the company. He also stresses the importance of properly certifying jobs for clients when they’re done.
“When contractors don’t certify their work, the client can’t fully understand what they’re getting. It’s not the same quality,” Shawn said. “If things aren’t installed correctly, the problems can compound over time. Certifications allow employees to understand what they’re doing and why.”
He compares it to a weak link in a chain. If you can’t prove the strength of the chain, the weakest link will come back later to bite you.
Having What It Takes
The types of skills needed for this work include being detail oriented, hand-eye coordination, and interpreting/understanding directions and applying information to a particular job.
“Most importantly, you need to differentiate between colors of wire in cables. They have to be matched up properly, and you see those colors over and over. Sometimes most of a day might be matching up wires,” Shawn said.
Like other industries, training and keeping good employees is challenging. However, it can be rewarding.
“You can make a decent wage once you keep progressing. Plus, you can work year-round in this type of career.”
Tyler appreciates the variety of jobs he encounters. Some days, it’s a lot of bouncing around to different places.
“As long as I’m not at a desk all day, I’m good. There’s the physical part of the job, but then there’s the mental part – constantly using your brain to figure out problems,” he said.
Finding Balance Amid Growth
Some projects Connected Technologies was hired to do include the Ravenna Arsenal, Armed Forces expansion in Boardman, work at several area school buildings, fire departments, medical facilities, courthouses and car dealerships. Some jobs stretch to West Virginia and Erie, Pa.
“In 2023, there were about 170 jobs on the books,” Shawn said.
He’s preparing for a little more growth over the next couple years but doesn’t want to be too overwhelmed. To help balance the additional workload, Shawn plans to bring on two more employees.
“I like the interaction, but I also need to be able to trust the team. They sell what we do by having a good work ethic and talking with customers. I have to rely on that,” he said.
Connected Technologies is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 in Warren and signatory electrical contractors throughout the Mahoning Valley.
Pictured at top: Shawn Campbell, right, and his son, Tyler.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.