Archive for category: Awards and Recognition

Camarilo-based GeoLinks wins $87.8 million to expand rural service

Camarilo-based GeoLinks wins $87.8 million to expand rural service

The Federal Communications Commission recently released the results of its Connect America Fund Phase II auction, and Camarillo-based telecom GeoLinks says it received a total of $87.8 million to expand rural internet service in California and Nevada.

The company says it was the largest auction winner in California and fifth-largest winner in the nation overall.

“GeoLinks’ founding mission is to close the U.S. digital divide,” company co-founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield said in a news release. “With this promise of capital from the FCC, GeoLinks will be able to further expand our network into rural areas of both California and Nevada, ultimately providing more than 11,000 rural locations with Internet at 100 megabits per second. We are excited that this new infrastructure will also reduce the cost of bringing high speed broadband access to anchor institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals and community colleges.”

According to GeoLinks, a total of 103 providers ultimately won support in the auction to expand broadband across 45 states. The funding, which will be distributed over the next 10 years, is intended to connect 53 percent of rural homes and businesses with broadband download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second. Nineteen percent are intended to have gigabit service available. And 711,389 locations — all but 0.25% — will have at least 25 Mbps service available.

Melissa Slawson, GeoLinks’ general counsel and vice president of government affairs and education, said: “As part of its efforts to promote ubiquitous broadband access for all Americans, the FCC created the CAF II auction to enable Internet service providers to build and maintain infrastructure in unserved areas throughout the U.S. I am elated to see that a capable company of our size was granted substantial funding to further propel our mission connect rural California, Nevada, and beyond.”

Ranked in 2017 and 2018 as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing companies in America on the Inc. 5000, GeoLinks says it delivers enterprise-grade internet, digital voice, SD-WAN, cloud on-ramping, Layer 2 transport, and both public and private turnkey network construction.

GeoLinks Earns its place on Inc. Magazine’s 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

GeoLinks Earns its place on Inc. Magazine’s 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Inc. magazine today revealed that GeoLinks is No. 786 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

GeoLinks Earns its place on Inc. Magazine’s 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

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“According to Inc. Media Editor in Chief, James Ledbetter, of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to Inc. 5000 over the years, only a fraction have made the list more than once,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “A mere one-in-three have made the list two times, and I am both proud and humbled that GeoLinks can officially claim the honor of once again being the largest fastest-growing ISP on the Inc. 5000. This is all further motivation to continue large scale growth to support our mission of closing the US digital divide. Looking forward, we plan to continue to focus on hypergrowth to close this gap, thus, everyone can expect to see GeoLinks here for many years to come.”

Not only have the companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 (which are listed online at Inc.com, with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 15) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2 percent and a median rate of 171.8 percent; GeoLinks smashed the average at 635 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“If your company is on the Inc. 5000, it’s unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn’t change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held October 17 to 19, 2018, at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort, in San Antonio, Texas. As always, speakers include some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our generation.

For media inquiries or to schedule an interview with GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield, please contact Lexie Olson at lolson(at)geolinks.com.

GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Digital Voice solutions. Ranked No. 5 by category on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Digital Voice, SD-WANCloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology”in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4-to-7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000

Methodology

The 2018 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2014 and 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2014. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2017. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2014 is $100,000; the minimum for 2017 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Inc. took home the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. The total monthly audience reach for the brand has been growing significantly, from 2,000,000 in 2010 to more than 18,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the remarkable achievements of these companies. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions.

For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/.

Contacts

Inc. Media
Drew Kerr, 212-849-8250
[email protected]
or
GeoLinks
Lexie Olson
lolson(at)geolinks.com

CENIC 2018 Internet for All in California — Featuring GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield

“Internet for All in California” session at CENIC‘s 2018 Annual Conference.

Featured Speakers:
Skyler Ditchfield, Rachelle Chong, Dane Jasper, Kim Lewis, Sunne Wright McPeak

Moderator:
Louis Fox

Session Description:

Advanced information, communication, computation and collaboration technologies, built upon broadband networks, have become essential elements for life in the 21st century. A major challenge confronting California today is how to ensure that all communities and Californians have access to broadband technologies, particularly those communities that have not traditionally benefited from leading-edge infrastructure. In a “big data” world, unprecedented volumes of data impact many facets of life from health care and public policy to national security, scientific discovery, education, and economic competitiveness. If California is to continue its leadership in these arenas, all Californians need access to these broadband technologies — in their homes, businesses, schools, libraries, hospitals and clinics, and government offices. Moreover, equity of access alone is not sufficient. Affordability is essential for many, as is the ability for some to adopt these technologies in meaningful ways. California is fortunate to have broad and effective partnerships among public, private, and governmental sectors working to address the digital divide, and the panelists will address how their organizations are involved, individually and collectively, to ensure that “Internet for All” is not just a vision but a reality in California.

CENIC Recognizes Corporate Partner GeoLinks for Serving the Research and Education Community in California

LA MIRADA, Calif. & BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CENIC is recognizing GeoLinks, headed by CEO Skyler Ditchfield, with the CENIC 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Corporate Partnership.

Thanks to the commitment of Ditchfield’s team and their understanding of the importance of high-speed broadband for California research and education communities, and their strategy for reaching those with limited or no broadband access due to remote locations and challenging terrain, CENIC and GeoLinks have been able to move forward on numerous initiatives in support of these underserved communities.

Dozens of projects have been completed, are in progress, or are anticipated that will serve K-12 schools, the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) research sites, and public libraries throughout the state. Previously, a number of these sites were served at speeds of 1.5 Mbps or less. Most now have 50 to 100 times greater speeds as a result of these efforts.

CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox stated, “GeoLinks has become an important ally in our efforts to address broadband-access inequities in California. Together we are hard at work on public policy initiatives that, we hope, will bring more resources to California, and thereby bring the benefits of advanced networking to all Californians at their community anchor institutions – schools, libraries, health care, and research sites. CENIC looks forward to a long collaboration with Skyler and his team to ensure that California remains at the global forefront of innovation in research and education networking.”

Fox added, “As CENIC has historically focused on fiber-network deployments, I was skeptical at first about using fixed wireless, but GeoLinks has demonstrated that they can deliver gigabit speeds with symmetrical services to remote sites that have no access to fiber-optic networks. Even with the significant special construction necessary, they have delivered these services within 9 to 12 months, which is remarkable.”

GeoLinks’ fixed wireless network, ClearFiber™, uses carrier-grade equipment and provides telecom-grade broadband service with the same latency and jitter as fiber. GeoLinks is able to build solar- and wind-powered telecommunications facilities off the grid, resulting in rapid network deployment in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of fiber. ClearFiber uses FCC-licensed spectrum with redundancy at every level of hardware deployment.

“We analyze 50 years of regional weather patterns to determine the proper type of antenna, radio frequency output, and broadcast distance to ensure we receive 99.999% uptime on all of our links,” further explained GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We also use this data to determine how much solar energy is needed for each individual site. As a standard, we engineer our sites to run for 25 days without sunlight to safeguard against extreme weather events. Furthermore, we also build in redundancy at every level, from our power equipment, to our routers, switches, and radios. We are also currently in the early stages of experimenting with wind energy. While solar power is typically low during storms, wind is high on mountain tops and can thus reduce the need for solar panel and battery load, ultimately reducing overall deployment costs.”

Recognized as thought-leaders in closing the digital divide, the GeoLinks leadership team proudly serves on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

The CENIC Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year at CENIC’s annual conference to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage ultra-high bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to transform how education and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas. The CENIC conference will be held March 5 – 7, 2018, in Monterey, California.

About CENIC • www.cenic.org

CENIC connects California to the world — advancing education and research statewide by providing the world-class network essential for innovation, collaboration, and economic growth. This nonprofit organization operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity network designed to meet the unique requirements of over 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers, and individuals at other vital public-serving institutions. CENIC’s Charter Associates are part of the world’s largest education system; they include the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California’s public libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, the Naval Postgraduate School, and USC. CENIC also provides connectivity to leading-edge institutions and industry research organizations around the world, serving the public as a catalyst for a vibrant California.

 

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ Network Named Most Disruptive Technology

Innovative Fixed Wireless Telecom, GeoLinks’, awarded “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards

The Pacific Coast Business Times (PCBT), in partnership with the Office of Technology and Industry Alliances at UC Santa Barbara, officially published the winners of its 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards this past Friday, February 23rd. Established to ‘recognize a breakthrough that has the potential to disrupt a major industry or aspect of technology’, the regions’ ‘Most Disruptive Technology’ was awarded to GeoLinks for its innovative Fixed Wireless Network, ClearFiber™.

“The Pacific Coast Business Times is pleased to honor GeoLinks with the ‘Most Disruptive Technology’ award at the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards,” said PCBT Special Reports and Research Editor Chris Officer. “GeoLinks was awarded for standing toe-to-toe with big name wireless providers and causing disruption within the telecom industry.”

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is an innovative technology that brings cost effective symmetrical Internet access to anchor institutions and businesses across the state of California and beyond. Created by GeoLinks’ CTO Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, ClearFiber™ is the first fixed wireless solution to utilize renewable energy to generate telecom-grade broadband. By building state-of-the-art solar and wind powered telecommunications facilities, GeoLinks is able to build off the grid in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of fiber.

“Because we’re able to bypass lengthy permitting processes and infrastructure build-outs, we originally established the technology as a fast, green, and economical way to connect underserved rural communities,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “And while GeoLinks continues to aggressively work towards our founding mission of closing the U.S. digital divide, shortly after Ryan and I founded the company, we realized that ClearFiber™ truly had the potential to disrupt the telecom industry as we know it. Thus, over the past seven years, we have obsessively improved and advanced the technology enabling us to rapidly expand into urban markets. Delivering up to 10 Gbps of dedicated enterprise-grade Internet with identical latency and jitter as fiber, ClearFiber™ now competes head-to-head in the B2B marketplace with the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world.”

With demand in its business, education, and government sectors rapidly increasing, GeoLinks’ executives don’t see an end in sight to the company’s growth.

“ClearFiber™ is actively redefining the way the industry looks at microwave technology,” said GeoLinks’ President Ryan Adams. “While we still have a way to go in completely eliminating what we call ‘fixed wireless anxiety’, GeoLinks is consistently proving that fixed wireless is a viable solution not only in closing the digital divide, but also in providing a truly reliable business-class alternative to fiber. Endorsed by prominent local, state, and federal officials and municipalities, we’re confident that ClearFiber™, in conjunction with our dedication to providing exceptional in-house customer service, will soon make GeoLinks a household name nationwide.”

GeoLinks, alongside fellow Central Coast Innovation Award winners, will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 15 at Hotel California in Santa Barbara, California from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at Eventbrite.

“The Central Coast has become nationally recognized for the quality and diversity of the innovative technologies and startup companies it has spawned,” said Sherylle Mills Englander, Director of the Office of Technology and Industry Alliances at UCSB. “UCSB looks forward to working with the Business Times to honor and celebrate the breadth of Central Coast innovation and, through the Startup Village, give investors a sneak peek at the best and brightest technology companies emerging from our region.”

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Lexie Olson at lolson(at)geolinks.com.

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About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Ranked No. 5 by category on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. From land procurement, construction, permitting, and more, GeoLinks does everything in-house, expediting installation periods nationwide. Boasting ultra-low latency, up to 99.999% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on delivering the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by 24/7 in-house customer support.

Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

GeoLinks Recognized Globally as a Great Workplace

Innovative telecom company, GeoLinks, receives official great workplace certification from Great Place to Work®, the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. 

“Our founding mission is to offer the best company culture around—one that combines respect, collaboration and a ‘best idea wins mantra,’” said GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We recognize that curating a productive and positive company culture starts from the top. We are thrilled that our employee survey results came back so positive. It reaffirms that our daily efforts and commitment to culture is meaningful both to our team members’ livelihood and to our bottom line as a company. Myself, and the entire leadership team, are 100% committed to further developing state-of-the-art advancements in the IT marketplace so the GeoLinks’ culture may one day be available to everyone.”

“We applaud GeoLinks for seeking certification and releasing its employees’ feedback,” said Kim Peters, Executive Vice President of Great Place to Work’s Certification Program. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with GeoLinks should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

“According to our study, 91 percent of GeoLinks employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Great Place to Work Certification & List Production.

GeoLinks employees completed 58 surveys, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.41.

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About GeoLinks 

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Ranked No. 5 by category on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. From land procurement, construction, permitting, and more, GeoLinks does everything in-house, expediting installation periods nationwide. Boasting ultra-low latency, up to 99.999% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on delivering the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by 24/7 in-house customer support.

Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list and a series of Great Place to Work® Best Workplaces lists including lists for Millennials, Women, Diversity, Small and Medium Companies and over a half dozen different industry lists.

Follow Great Place to Work online at http://www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US.

Best Businessmen of 2017: Featuring Skyler Ditchfield

Original Article

Who is the best businessman of 2017? Here’s a round-up of well known business leaders, as well as some you’ve never heard of, to mark 2017 as a year to remember among an elite circle of entrepreneurs and visionaries who are out there doing things right (and different)!

Originally Written by Leon Vogel – Independent Writer – Dec 29

Jeff Bezos

The 53-year-old founder and CEO of Amazon became the world’s richest man this year. His fortune increased by about $34 Billion in 2017 to take his net worth close to $100 Billion; which can be largely attributed to wise investment choices he’s made over the years: getting into ecommerce when an average retailer made $3000 in sales each year, AWS which now runs the likes of Netflix and Airbnb, his real estate insvestments in Washington and Texas which make him the 25th largest land owner in the US according to Land Report, his investments in Uber and Google, products like Kindle and Echo … the list is long.

His recent acquisition of whole Foods sent ripples across the retail sector and the company announced a $4.5 Billion content budget for Amazon prime video- the only company that spends more is Netflix. Apart from Amazon, of which he owns 16%; he also owns Blue Origins, a space exploration company and The Washington Post. Bezos is a visionary not only because he launched one of the most successful companies of this century but also because even after more than 20 years in business Amazon still functions like a startup- almost every month it gets into a new category in which it has no expertise.

The willingness to try triumphs over the fear of failure. In an age when authenticity is in short supply, Bezos has stuck to his vision of putting the customer first. The journey from a garage operation in 1994 to a wall street darling has been a spectacle to watch. According to professor Scott Galloway of NYU Stern, Amazon Echo will revolutionalize branding. With voice search technology present in millions of homes, Amazon aims to be your only retailer; and with billions of dollars in cash, it seems inevitable.

Submitted by — Abhishek Kumar

Danni Lin (B.S., M..S.)

Lin is the CEO of GREAT WINE Inc.. GREAT WINE, Inc., is a company which produces wine to start a new conversation about wine — what is your wine character or “vinotype?” Dani was a former Data Scientist at Microsoft.

Under Lin’s leadership, GREAT WINE now collaborates with Tim Hanni, MW (the first American who became Master of Wine), and myVinotype — a smart wine recommendation platform for wine-related businesses and connoisseurs to learn more about clients’ wine personalities. Launched in 2011, myVinotype first started as a website widget and a consumer survey. By 2016, the platform has launched an iOS app, and has become available in eight languages worldwide. All these features are supported by data analytics in order to be more client-oriented.

Like many, Danni Lin (B.S., M.S.) had experiences of going into a supermarket, and got lost in massive product lists and ads. She thought how knowledgeable she was in wine affected her likes and dislikes — until she had a conversation with Tim Hanni, MW. Hanni is one of the first Americans to become Master of Wine, and introduced Lin to the scientific concept of “vinotype,” i.e. wine preferences and sensory abilities of people.

Lin then transformed from a wine novice to a wine educator who encouraged consumers to speak their mind — what they really enjoy drinking and experiencing. Lin quitted her stable job at Microsoft. But with a strong financial background, analytical expertise, knowledge of advanced technology, and professional knowledge of wine, Lin is taking her business to the next level of growth and expansion worldwide through her extensive international experiences and connections.

It is Lin’s hope to introduce the traditions and innovations of Californian winemaking to more clients around the world. Here is a piece of advice from Danni: “Be ready to change for the market.” She said, “I think success lies in the willingness to change, both as a person or as a business. The market will tell you what it needs, and the key to success is to be ready to change — after all, taste does change over time! For example, when GREAT WINE is founded in 2015 in both the USA and China, it was one of the few companies in the industry that successfully caught the changing tides of the Chinese market. Chinese young professionals now prefer affordable wines with traceable origins, and stop chasing after high price tags. By introducing the possibility of comparing tea flavors of pu-erh and jasmine to wines, GREAT WINE carries the mission of introducing the traditions and innovations behind Californian labels to the global market.” GREAT WINE, Inc. is recognized as Best Wine Tasting Experience by Qminder. The company’s CEO, Danni Lin, is honored in 425 Business Magazine 30 under 30.

— submitted by Michella Chiu

Steve Casto

Casto is the founder of Omaha Financial Planners: In 2017, Steve Casto of Omaha Financial Planners created theSMART retirement system. SMART stands for the Strategic Machine Allowing Retirement Tranquility.Why is SMART so important today? It helps retirees maximize the value of their retirement income they receive from the money they’ve saved.Think of saving money for the future like climbing a mountain. Imagine being that poor misguided mountain climber who doesn’t pack the right stuff and doesn’t possess the skills to both climb to the top of the mountain and more importantly get back down safely.

Planning for retirement is a lot like that mountain climb. Before you retire you saved your money and that is called the accumulation phase. During retirement you climb down the mountain by taking money out of your retirement account and that’s called the distribution phase. It sounds simple enough but it’s not and that’s because the math changes dramatically at the top of the mountain.When it comes to managing your money during retirement, SmartMoney Magazine said the following: “The distribution phase of retirement, the time when you withdraw funds from savings, makesthe accumulation part look like child’s play.”

— Submitted by Bob Smith

Craig Wolfe

Wolfe is president of CelebriDucks. “I decided to start a whole new division of my company to make rubber ducks in America again. It was one of the most difficult things I ever attempted….like a brand new company. The rubber duck was invented in America and then the whole industry went overseas. I tried to get factories to do it right here and it was a disaster….but I persisted…..I even had to send the whole operation from Ohio to New York to try and make it work….Bottom line…finally, and it’s quite a story,…made it work! You can even watch them making rubber ducks at our factory in the Bronx that HGTV’s Home Factory shot there in the Made in America section on our website. How I survived all this is a miracle…But I did not stop there….I had the crazy idea to make rubber ducks that were also PVC free that would be the safest rubber ducks in the world for babies to teethe on…..oh wow….was that an ordeal….it had never been done with food and medical grade materials…..end result….it worked and not even China can do what we are doing in the USA! In the Made in America section on our website, you can see all the babies loving them!”

Phillip Cohen

Phil is the CEO and Founder of Cohen Architectural Woodworking in St. James, MO (not far from St. Louis). Phil is an amazing individual and worthy of a best businessmen of 2017 recognition.

What makes Phil special? Phil comes from hard beginnings. He was a drug addict and suffered from depression. His father committed suicide. Failing at many things Phil found himself on a small farm. He began making birdhouses and toy trucks out of wood as a means of rehabilitation. People liked them and started buying them. He got a business license and eventually started his own firm.

He transferred his skills into commercial work. Cohen Architectural Woodworking was born. Phil then started supplying many national companies such as Walmart with millwork and custom wood cabinetry. Today the company has a newly expanded facility that includes 54,000 square feet and some 80 employees. Cohen has clients in all 50 states.

Phil is also special with the hiring practices of the company. He believes in giving people a second chance, no matter their background, if they are willing to do the work. Cohen hires a lot of ex-felons and others who would not receive job offers from most corporations. Many of these ex-felons have turned into excellent employees. Some are now in management and executives with the firm.

Phil believes he got a second chance at life and is willing to help others turn their lives around. He maintains an open door policy and is always accessible to help any team member.

In addition to hiring practices, Cohen is involved in many charitable and social causes. From working with local schools, to establishing optional classes at no charge for employees and their spouses on a variety of topics, to offering an employee a $1,000 bonus when they buy their first home, Phil goes above and beyond to help the communities he serves.

For his contributions Phil was recently named the 2017 Business Person of the Year for the State of Missouri by the Small Business Administration. He also works hard to provide a safe workplace and recently won two safety awards for 100,000 work hours without an accident from a national trade association. In addition the company has won multiple awards for woodworking design.

— Submitted by Steve Turner

Skyler Ditchfield

Ditchfield is co-founder and CEO of Geolinks.com. Skyler Ditchfield currently serves as the CEO of GeoLinks, the fastest growing fixed wireless ISP in the country, and Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 NO. 5 Fastest Growing Telecommunications Company in America. Under his leadership, Ditchfield has led the company to record more than 100% growth for six years straight, and is on track for a seventh. In 2017, Ditchfield spearheaded GeoLinks’ efforts in obtaining its status as a California Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) public utility, allowing the company to expand into the national marketplace. Furthermore, Ditchfield successfully completed the company’s first ever acquisition allowing GeoLinks to expand its service offerings. While not yet publicly announced, Ditchfield will close out 2017 with another massive acquisition under his belt, officially making GeoLinks the market leader in its’ space.

Aside from making what began as a two-person operation in 2011, into what is now a 65 employee (and growing) 8-figure company, Ditchfield is passionate about cultivating the best company culture around — one that combines respect, collaboration and a “best idea wins mantra.”

— Submitted by Lexie Olson

Sheldon Smith

Smith is the Founder and Executive Director of the Dovetail Project. He has developed an organization that works to give young African-American fathers — ages 17 to 24 — the skills and support they need to be better fathers for their children and better men in the Chicago community.

Smith designed the program based on his own experiences, which included being incarcerated as a teenager, furthering his education, finding employment, and becoming a father at age 20. Now at the age of 28, Smith has been named 2016 Top 10 CNN Hero and most recently a Steve Harvey Hero, Civic Leader for The Obama Foundation and named 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30.

The Dovetail Project’s 12-week curriculum includes workshops focused on teaching vital parenting skills and life skills. Over the course of the program, students receive training to finish their education and seek employment. Workshop facilitators also educate students on felony street laws — introducing life-saving methods to help them avoid conflict and incarceration.

To date, 337 young men in Chicago have graduated from the program since its founding in 2009.

— Submitted by LaQuita Washington

Rob Kosberg

Rob is the founder of Best Seller Publishing, the definitive leader in authority marketing and business growth strategies using a best selling book. Rob is recognized for his expertise in helping coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs to Publish. Promote. Profit. (TM) with their own Best Selling books.

His Company has consistently yielded tremendous results for our clients, usually with immediate new opportunities for speaking engagements, free publicity and leads and sales.

Best Seller Publishing works with clients to:

• Write and Publish the ideal book that positions them as a thought leader in their field. We help to dial in the right audience, create the hook, title and table of contents before working with our award winning ghostwriting team.
• Then we create the cover, design the interior and exterior, format for digital and soft cover version and get ready for the promotion phase.
• Our next step is to promote our authors new book via press releases, paid advertising and massive social media exposure to create our next best selling author — GUARANTEED.
• We don’t stop there though. We now begin to book our new best selling author on TV, radio, blogs, podcasts and speaking engagements. All this is DONE FOR YOU service and it is all guaranteed.

BSP has published best selling books for former U.S. Ambassadors, Fortune 500 C — Suite executives, financial advisors, attorneys, dentists, doctors, chiropractors, hollywood stuntmen, environmental scientists, coaches, consultants, professional speakers and a dozen other industries.

— Submitted by Bianca Ramirez

Alex Doubet

Doubet (pronounced Doo-Bay), founder of Door, a tech-enabled flat fee brokerage that is disrupting the real estate industry.

Door charges homeowners a flat rate of $5,000, compared to the traditional 6 percent commission fee, for its brokerage services. Last year, home sellers saved an average of $15,000 under Door’s model.

Alex explained to The Dallas Morning News that the “idea came to him after his mother sold her two-story converted duplex… for $857,000 in the conventional commission way. She didn’t get so much as a thank-you note, much less a bottle of wine, from the two Realtors who pocketed a combined $51,400. “It was a bigger commission than the average household income in Dallas. It was nuts,” says Doubet, who has already been involved in several successful early ventures and a couple of real estate flips. “It was a presumptuous transaction. And that ticked me off.

Door’s commission on a $400,000 house would be $10,000 if it represents both the seller and buyer vs. $24,000 in traditional Realtor commissions. The more expensive the home, the greater the savings. The tipping point is a $168,000 sales price.”

Alex would be happy to discuss the flat fee brokerage model — and how Door is expanding into new markets, including Austin and Houston.

We have enjoyed amazing growth. We sold more homes last quarter than we did in the entirety of 2016. Our customer satisfaction is industry-leading with an NPS near 80. These are proof points that the market is beyond ready for a better way in real estate. The recognition that the rules are now different for sellers, and that buyers expect an altogether different experience really play in Door’s favor.

This was never about being a discount brokerage. This is about aligning the customer experience with the value delivered. Our innovation is in both process and technology. There just is not a way to improve customer experience with flat fees unless you look at it differently. We look at the world through the Seller’s and Buyer’s eyes, not as a traditional Realtor.

As a result, many of the industry’s leaders hate Alex for preaching the advantages of flat fee brokerage. Here’s the account from the San Francisco Business Times on his recent appearance at The Inman Connect real estate technology conference:

“Doubet’s comments drew harsh words from an audience member who questioned the legality of publicly discussing commissions.”

Alex began his career at US Road Sports (USRS), an endurance event company that owned over two dozen events with over 120,000 participants across the country. USRS was sold to Life Time Fitness in the beginning of 2014. At USRS, Alex was the Director of Finance.

Subsequent to USRS, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Junior Partner of Advantix Marketing, a search engine marketing and optimization agency and a member of the 2015 Inc. 5000 list.

— Submitted by Tim Livingston

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

50 Fastest Growing Private Companies 2017: Geolinks Building Broadband Access for Rural America

Original article by Helen Floersh

No. 2: GEOLINKS
Camarillo

CEO: Skyler Ditchfield

Growth Rate: 335%

It has been a big year for GeoLinks, the No. 2 firm on the Business Journal’s 2017 list of the Valley area’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Besides updating its moniker to reflect its long-term ambitions – the business-to-business internet service provider changed its name in June from California Internet to GeoLinks, which it described as being better aligned with its goal of expanding its services nationwide – the company also settled into its new, 38,000 square-foot Camarillo headquarters and hired its 50th employee. Finally, GeoLinks made the 2017 Inc. 5000, ranking No. 5 in the telecommunications category and coming in No. 604 overall.

“For a lot of people, what sets us apart is how we’re different from the big guys,” Ryan Adams, GeoLinks president, said. “We decided that we’re going to do what we thought was in the best interest of our clients, first and foremost.”

So far, that mindset appears to be working. Geolinks has managed to more than double its revenue year over year since 2014, when it saw $2.2 million in revenue. It generated $8.8 million last year, according to the firm, and is on track to outperform itself yet again in 2017.

“Telecommunications doesn’t necessarily have to be an ugly word,” Adams said. “For us, it’s really about enhancing the customer experience and evolving with our clients as well. That’s where the big guys have a hard time.”

GeoLinks envisions itself as one day being the premiere provider of high-speed internet to rural communities throughout California and beyond. While just 10 percent of all U.S. citizens lacked access to high-speed internet in 2016, the figure climbed to roughly 40 percent for those living in rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

“It’s not just a buzz-term that we use, it’s our passion: Bridging the digital divide, which means bringing high-speed internet to everybody no matter what geography,” Adams said. “Studies have shown that people who have access to high-speed internet are more inclined to make more money and better education. These things are very important to us.”

Rural boom

New state legislation that establishes funds for the deployment of broadband projects in rural areas puts GeoLinks on track to expand its California business substantially. Chief Executive Skyler Ditchfield, who founded GeoLinks in 2011 with his cousin and Chief Techonology Officer Ryan Hauf, was one of the lobbyists behind the September passage of AB1665, or the “Internet for All Act.” Ditchfield has been working with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives and other organizations to establish contracts with public institutions.

The company was awarded more construction grants than any other internet service provider for California public schools and libraries for 2016 and 2017. Earlier this year, it received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the California Public Utilities Commission, enabling it to form strategic partnerships with federal agencies such the Department of Education.

“Right now we’re working with all different types of organizations – private and public – to spread the GeoLinks name,” Adams said.

GeoLinks’ rapid growth is linked to three components, Adams added: an exceptional primary product, strong customer relations and a knack for recruiting and retaining top talent. From land procurement to equipment installation, GeoLinks performs every step of the process behind setting up a broadband network in-house, affording finer control over timetables as well as its relationships with clients. The company is able to send workers to sites more quickly than companies that contract with third-party suppliers for equipment-related services.

“People are used to a certain kind of relationship with their internet or telecommunications provider,” Adams said. “Whatever the big guys were doing, we were going to do the exact opposite, starting with our speed of deployment.”

To catch and keep exceptional employees who are fully invested in the company’s progress, GeoLinks has outfitted its headquarters with Silicon Valley-style amenities, such as an in-house gym, basketball court and full-service kitchen. Workers also have access to a personal chef and a wellness expert, he added.

“There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not absolutely delighted with the workforce we have here at GeoLinks,” he said. “We are all about not only the client experience, but also the employee experience.”

But material benefits are only one part of the firm’s strategy for building a standout team. GeoLinks’ managers take a “hands off” approach to employee oversight, minimizing micromanagement so that workers have the intellectual freedom to come up with new ideas that can move the company forward, Adams explained.

“We went out of our way to make sure this is a company that creates a culture of respect, without the ego,” Adams said. “We want all of our employees to feel like they have just as much of a stake in the company as anybody else.”

Uncovering Little Gems Among Us — Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Original post By Charles Crumpley – Monday, November 13, 2017

One of my favorite Special Reports of the year is in this issue. It’s the Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Why is it a favorite? For one thing, fast-growing private companies tend to be new and, in a way, undiscovered. If you go down our list of Valley area fast-growing businesses that begins on page 18, you’ll see many names that are probably unfamiliar to you.

Even the top three companies on the list – USA Link System, GeoLinks and Payscout Inc. – are probably new to most Valley area folks, including those who follow local business news.

It’s not simply that we’re uncovering little-known names. That wouldn’t be difficult; there are thousands of small, private companies all around us. But the companies on our list also are growing quickly. The three companies mentioned above had two-year growth rates of 425 percent, 335 percent and 329 percent, respectively.

In short, these are little gems that hold big promise. And it’s exciting to bring those high-performing but little-known companies to the surface. Today’s GeoLinks may be tomorrow’s BlackLine Inc. or Avery Dennison – or even Amgen Inc. And you saw it here first.

Most business news outlets focus not on small private companies but on big public companies. That makes sense because public companies generally are bigger, and since they attract investment from the public, they should get scrutiny and coverage.

But public companies tend to be bigger and slower growing. A 10 percent growth in revenue is considered breakneck speed. So an article about how a company is coping with triple-digit growth – such as some in the Special Report in this issue – is fresh and interesting.

I’m always somewhat amused by the hand-wringing that occurs whenever a big local public company gets bought out. When that happens, civic leaders invariably ask what they believe is an important question: What can we do to stop losing “our headquarters”?

Nobody enjoys losing big public companies, to be sure. But in a philosophical sense, the loss of a big public company is simply part of the life cycle. Companies are born, they grow, they get old and they go off, perhaps in a merger. A community has no more right to keep any company in town than it has a right to retain individual residents.

A more important question is this: Are we replacing them? Do we have a bounty of thriving small private companies coming up to replace the big businesses that leave us? Do we have the next BlackLine and Avery Dennison and, yes, Amgen coming up?

If the answer is yes, that means a pillar of the local economy is sturdy. If the answer is yes, than at least some of the fastest-growing and most successful of the smaller private companies will become our next generation of big public companies. If the answer is yes, then the civic minded can get back to fretting about high taxes and slow traffic.

If you look over this special section, you can’t help but see the mounting strength of our fast-growing private companies. And I’m confident you’ll see that the answer to that more important question is yes.

Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at [email protected]

Three impressive start-ups that presented at TC3

Original Article

1. In a session titled “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap,” Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, provided an overview of his company’s success in providing high-speed broadband to schools and libraries using fixed wireless technologies, specifically microwave radio operating in several frequency bands. The company’s flagship service is ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless broadband service on the most resilient and scalable networkSkyler described the advantages of their 100% in house approach to engineering, design, land procurement, construction and data connectivity. GeoLinks approach offers gigabit plus speeds at a fraction of the cost of fiber with lower latency and rapid deployment across the country.

A broadband fixed wireless installation on Santa Catalina island was particularly impressive. Speeds on the island (which GeoLinks says is 41 miles offshore) are typically 300 Mbps, and the ultra-fast broadband connection provides support for essential communications services, tourism services, and commerce. GeoLinks successfully deployed Mimosa Network´s fiber-fast broadband solutions to bring high-speed Internet access to the island community for the first time in its history. Connecting the island to the mainland at high speeds was very challenging. GeoLinks ultimately selected Mimosa for the last mile of the installation, deploying Mimosa A5 access and C5 client devices throughout the harbor town of Avalon.

Another ClearFiber™ successful deployment was at Robbins Elementary school in California. It involved 19 miles of fixed broadband wireless transport to provide the school with broadband Internet access.

Skyler said that next year, GeoLinks planned to deliver fixed wireless transport at 10G b/sec over 6 to 8 miles in the 5Ghz unlicensed band- either point to point OR point to multi-point. The company is considering 6GHz, 11GHz, 18Ghz and 20Ghz FCC licensed bands. He said it would be important for GeoLinks to get licensed spectrum for point to multi-point transmission.

More on GeoLinks value proposition here and here. And a recent blog post about Skyler Ditchfield who told the TC3 audience he grew up fascinated by communications technologies. This author was very impressed with Skyler and GeoLinks!

2. In a panel on “Startup Success Stories,” Nitin Motgi, founder and CEO of Cask (a “big data” software company) talked about how long it took to seal a deal with telcos. It’s longer than you might think! In one case, Nitin said it was 18 months from the time an unnamed telco agreed to purchase Cask’s solution (based on a proof of concept demo) till the contract was actually signed and sealed. Nitin referred to the process of selling to telcos as “whale hunting.” However, he said that if you succeed it’s worth it because of the telco’s scale of business.

3. Tracknet Co-Founder and CEO Hardy Schmidbauer presented a 5 minute “fast pitch” to the Telecom Council Service Provider Forum. He talked about his company’s highly scalable LPWAN/ IoT network solutions: “TrackNet provides LoRaWAN IoT solutions for consumers and industry, focusing on ease of use and scalability to enable a “new era” of exponentially growing LPWAN deployments.” The company is a contributing member of the LoRa Alliance and the TrackNet team has been instrumental in specifying, building, and establishing LoRaWAN and the LoRa Alliance for more than five years. The founding Tracknet team includes veterans from IBM and Semtech who were instrumental in the development of LoRa and LoRaWAN.

With “Tabs,” Tracknet combines a WiFi connected IoT home and tracker system with LoRaWAN network coverage built from indoor Tabs hubs.