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Skyler Named “Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs of 2019” by Insights Success

Skyler Named Most Inspiring Entrepreneur of 2019 by Insights Success

Skyler Ditchfield: Exemplifying Resilience and Dedication

In an interview with Insights Success, Skyler Ditchfield, the CEO and Co-founder of GeoLinksshares key insights derived from his entrepreneurial journey, and discusses how his company has effectively disrupted the billion dollar industry of telecom. Insights Success recognizes Skyler as one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs.

Give a brief overview of your background and your role in GeoLinks. 

My “entrepreneurial roots” began at the age of six, selling food, video games, lemonade, and basically anything else I thought people might buy, going door-to-door, or on the side of the road. I dove into the world of technology at the age of 13 when I set up a bulletin board system (BBS) to service 200 members of my local community with dial-up Internet.

This entrepreneurial spirit followed me into high school where I bought laptops off of AOL classifieds and resold them in my local newspaper classifieds for a 50% profit.

Fast forward, and I took my first real corporate job as Network Engineer II at the Private Network Management Center (PNMC) of MCI Worldcom in Silicon Valley servicing high-level clients such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Quotron, Reuters, and more. Although I was the youngest technician in the office, I was quickly promoted to Network Engineer III after exceeding the entire staff in router reprogramming. When the company relocated to the East Coast, I was one of two employees offered a transfer. Ultimately, I declined the offer and returned to my home town of Ojai, California where I proceeded to build a network business from scratch with only $500 in startup capital. I grew the company to nearly $3M within four years (in a town of only 8,000 people) and then sold my shares. Following this venture, however, things plummeted.

Over the next few years, I experienced multiple business failures that left me facing massive debt and ruined credit. Simultaneously, my health took a severe turn for the worse, placing me in multiple month-long stays in the hospital. Then came what I call my restart button. I found out I was going to be a dad. With replenished motivation, I found a whole new lease on life. I regained my health, and aggressively got back in the I.T. space allowing me to climb out of debt.

Fast forward a few unsuccessful startups later, and I co-founded California Internet, now GeoLinks, with my cousin Ryan Hauf. We are now the fastest growing fixed wireless provider in the country, and the fifth fastest growing overall telecom.

As the acting CEO of an 8-figure company, and growing significantly, I focus on fundraising, M&A work, organic growth strategies, and big picture initiatives.

How do you diversify your solutions that appeal to your target audience? 

We sell Internet so our target audience is nearly everyone – businesses, anchor institutions, and rural consumers. We reverse engineer every circuit to fit a business’ specific needs. From different speed tiers, to VoIP, to SD-WAN, we offer solutions for businesses of all sizes, across all categories.

Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. 

Resilience. Being an entrepreneur requires having the energy to work long hours, putting yourself on the line, and accepting little to no pay for extended periods of time. You will fail 15 times more than you will win. That being said, never take no for an answer; find another way. Never get upset as losing your cool never helps a situation. Always actively monitor your finances and cash flow (running out of cash is one of the top killers for all businesses.) Finally, you have to be able to sell. As an entrepreneur if you can’t sell your own product it will be near impossible to get things off the ground.

What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey? 

I was an entrepreneur from a young age, as previously mentioned. I always had the desire to sell and create. I sold on street corners, door to door, in classified ads, at school–you name it. I built a $3M computer networking repair and sales business in my small home town of Ojai (which has a population of 8,000) at the age of 19 with only $500 of personal startup capital. From there, I failed in 3 different businesses for multiple reasons – bad partners, theft, and an investor with a “risk-it-all” attitude. Every one of them taught me something different but significant.

Simultaneously, I was also struggling battling an autoimmune disease, Crohn’s, which consistently knocked down my health. After multiple blood transfusions, and a major over haul surgery on my kidneys, bladder, and intestines, in 2007 I was told I had just a few weeks to live. Unaccepting, I used the Internet to discover a new experimental treatment that ultimately saved my life. Nonetheless, I exited with my credit ruined, all my money gone, and not a single possession left to my name. I struggled with how to start a business again but eventually I found a way to build myself back up while continuing to focus on repairing my health. People have told me for 19 years that they feel sorry for me because of my health issues. However, I am grateful for all I have been through because they have taught me appreciation, strength, and resiliency.

Where does GeoLinks see itself in the near future and how will you catalyze the change? 

I currently have 3 initiatives in the works that have the ability to increase the size of the business 550% in the next 18 months. While all may not come to fruition, I am confident at least 1 or 2 will. I see GeoLinks growing to a $1b+ enterprise value by 2023.

What is your advice for emerging entrepreneurs? 

I would answer similarly to my outlined vital attributes. Furthermore, plan to make NO money for at least three years. DO NOT count on a paycheck. Once you start making money, don’t pay yourself all of it. Reinvest and keep your lifestyle as simple as possible. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs in years 4-5, when they start making good money, take it all home. They then adjust their lifestyle accordingly, and ultimately have no excess capital to continue to grow their business – they become stuck.

GeoLinks Earns Spot on Inc. 5000 List Third Year Running

GeoLinks Earns Its Place on the 2019 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America List for the Third Year in a Row

August 16, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time | Original release published on BusinessWire.com

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On Wednesday, August 13th, 2019, Inc. Magazine revealed that GeoLinks earned a place on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, for the third year in a row. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Achieving a three-year growth rate of 256%, GeoLinks represents the one in eight companies that have made this list three times.

“With the incredible team we have in place here at GeoLinks, I have no doubt that we will make next year’s list and beyond,” commented GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We have the best team there is in telecom, and I am both humbled and proud to lead such a dynamic group of hard-working and innovative individuals. Our mission at GeoLinks is to one day close the digital divide—this makes keeping motivated really easy for each and every one of us. Truly, the best is yet to come!”

Not only have the companies on the 2019 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 20) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2019 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding median growth rate of 157 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years.

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” said Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

With the release of this year’s ranking, GeoLinks remains the fastest growing Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) in the state of California, and the second fastest growing ISP in America.

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development, at [email protected].

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 Digital Voice solutions. Ranked three-years running on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade InternetDigital VoiceSD-WAN, Cloud 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 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 2019 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2015 and 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2018. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2015 is $100,000; the minimum for 2018 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 20,000,000 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/.

GeoLinks Formally Approved by USAC to Begin CAF Build Out

The Universal Service Administrative Company has officially cleared GeoLinks to begin CAF II build outs in California and Nevada

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) formally approved GeoLinks to start receiving funding for the Company’s Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) buildout in California and Nevada. Announced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August of 2018 as the largest CAF II winner in the state of California, and 5th largest winner in the nation overall, with GeoLinks’ deployment plans and Letters of Credit officially approved, the innovative telecom will officially begin broadband deployment this summer.

Awarded a total of $87.8M in the auction, GeoLinks will provide more than 11,000 rural locations across California and Nevada with Internet at 100 megabits per second. The Company is also confident that this new infrastructure will simultaneously reduce the cost of bringing high speed broadband access to anchor institutions, such as Schools, Libraries, Hospitals, and Community Colleges, throughout both states.

“We are thrilled to have officially cleared both the FCC and USAC’s approval process for CAF II,” stated GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “While the announcement back in August was undoubtedly exciting, we are now officially in the position to begin deployment throughout both states.”

With the GeoLinks’ team fully prepared to break ground, the Company is now looking forward to participating in the FCC’s LIFT America Act, which will support another $40B worth of broadband infrastructure deployment in aims of closing the digital divide.

For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact Lexie Smith at [email protected]

GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield Appointed to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

The Federal Communications Commission announces Skyler Ditchfield as a member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 16, 2019, Chairman Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced his appointment of Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO of GeoLinks, to serve as an official member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). Of the 39 listed appointees, Skyler Ditchfield serves as the only Southern California representative.

According to the FCC’s official release, “In its second term, the BDAC will continue its work to craft recommendations for the Commission on ways to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or ‘broadband,’ by reducing and/or removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and strengthening existing broadband networks in communities across the country.” The release continues by outlining the BDAC as an opportunity for interested stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop recommendations to the Commission on broadband deployment, to enhance the Commission’s ability to deploy broadband to all Americans.

Previously appointed to the Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in 2017, and the Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group in 2018 (both BDAC sub groups), Ditchfield’s elevated appointment will enable him to provide strategic recommendations and influence action to close the digital divide on a national scale.

“I have been continually impressed by Chairman Pai, his administration, and all the work that they have done thus far,” stated Ditchfield. “They’ve truly worked hard to level the playing field for all sized ISPs. They’ve put forward significant new dollars towards broadband investment and are staying true to their promise of closing the digital divide. With GeoLinks’ founding mission being to close the digital divide, we have a multitude of case studies that have proven capable of closing the gap in California. Being that all of these projects demonstrate proven and transferrable methods, I am very excited to get to work with both the BDAC and my two designated working groups to cultivate the most realistic and feasible path forward nationally.”

The renewed BDAC will hold its first meeting on Thursday, June 13, 2019, in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters, located in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public. The FCC will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. The Commission will also provide audio and/or video coverage of the meeting over the Internet from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live.

The FCC’s official Public Notice can be accessed online via the following link: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-re-chartered-bdac-membership-and-first-meeting

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development, at [email protected].

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 Digital Voice solutions. Ranked first in category on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America in both 2017 and 2018, 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.

Contacts

Media Inquiries:
GeoLinks
Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development
[email protected]

A BORDERLESS WORLD: THE FUTURE OF FIBER OPTICS AND 5G

Read entire original article on JuicedSystems

There’s no doubt that the world has become increasingly smaller and smaller. The physical distance among different countries and continents seems to matter less as one can communicate and even engage in commerce, wherever we are, all with just a click of a few buttons. The development of the internet is already a feat in itself, but humanity’s insatiable quest for better and more efficient ways of conducting life activities has led us to another accomplishment: the discovery of fiber optics.

Fiber-optic technology uses light pulses to transmit digital data through thin long glass fibers that are bundled as cables and usually installed underground. This method of transmission promises high-speed data transfer that is less likely to suffer from electrometric interference or long periods of latency. Using fiber optics also reduces the occurrence of electrocution, fire, and other hazards that copper and similar cables are vulnerable to.

Those reasons alone provide enough impetus for certain industries, states, and countries to gradually integrate fiber optics into their ICT systems. However, the cost and the expansiveness of the project of rewiring the entire digital world pose a challenge in achieving such a lofty ambition.

What will be the impact of using fiber optics and 5G networks on the internet of things and on businesses everywhere around the world? Twelve IT experts share their thoughts on this important question, and their responses are sure to ignite an interesting discussion. Use these quick links to go directly to your favorite experts, or you can get comfortable and start scrolling (since they’re all epic responses anyway)….

Lexie Smith, GeoLinks

“While different technologies, I do believe fiber and 5G share a commonality when we look towards the future. Neither technology is a “one size fits all solution.”

Fiber is great—but it’s incredibly expensive and slow to deploy, making it an unrealistic solution for much of rural America. 5G’s promise to deliver higher bandwidth, lower latency, reduced packet loss, and overall increased system capacity than its 4G and 3G predecessors, is still generating both high expectations and severe skepticism. There are still countless issues with the technology, such as your hand or body blocking the signal.

Ultimately, when we look towards the future of broadband and IoT, all existing technologies—from fixed wireless, to satellite, to fiber, etc.—have advantages and disadvantages. However, they all solve a need and, when used together, can eventually close the digital divide.”  

About Lexie Smith:
Lexie Smith serves as the VP of business development, leading public relations, marketing, and business development at GeoLinks, California’s fastest-growing Telecom, and Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing WISP in America.

Read: “Is 5G Worth All the Hype? Industry experts weigh in on the global telecom debate”

Crowd Sourcing Wildfire Detection | Graham Kent | TEDx

Dr. Graham Kent, Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, gave a TEDx talk in March discussing fire cameras, crowd sourcing wildfire detection, and the significant state-wide accomplishments that have derived from GeoLinks and ALERTWildfire’s ongoing collaboration.

Local internet service provider wins $87.8 million in government funding

 Local internet service provider wins $87.8 million in government funding - GeoLinks - Ryan Hauf

Photo taken by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf

 

A local internet service provider is going regional, thanks to $87.8 million in funding from the federal government.

GeoLinks, an 8-year-old Camarillo-based ISP that primarily serves businesses and rural areas, is among several companies that will receive funding from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund Phase II Auction. The company plans on using the capital to bring high-speed internet to rural communities previously lacking connectivity.

The first phase of the fund was held around five years ago and catered to larger, national ISPs.

Money from the fund’s second phase, which totals around $1.5 billion, will be paid out in monthly installments over a 10-year period. GeoLinks will receive $731,000 monthly starting in May, according to CEO Skyler Ditchfield. The company is primarily focused on providing internet service to rural regions and businesses that may be overlooked by the nation’s larger ISPs.

Ditchfield said money from the Connect America fund would allow GeoLinks to create a residential division but said the focus would still be on primarily rural areas.

“It enables connectivity in rural parts of California,” Ditchfield said. “People that live in those locations can try new business ventures, educate themselves better and enable a lot of new internet services like video.”

GeoLinks currently provides internet service to various parts of Ventura County and most other Southern California counties. Local areas serviced by the company include rural parts of Ojai and Thousand Oaks. The company also services entities such as schools, libraries and hospitals in rural areas across the state.

The company plans on using the bulk of the money for new equipment and infrastructure, such as towers, wireless links and distribution. GeoLinks also plans on using around $5.5 million of the funding it will receive to service areas on the California-Nevada border. While GeoLinks will use some of the funding to begin servicing parts of Camarillo and Oxnard, it will also allow the company to make a larger regional push into the Central Valley and around northeastern parts of the state.

The company is allowed up to six years to use the funds to build out its network, although Ditchfield said GeoLinks aims to complete work within four years. As payments will be doled out throughout the next decade, funds received after the network is built will be used for operating costs, such as rent and maintenance.

Applications for the third phase of the fund will likely open in late 2019.

Tyler Hersko covers business news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at [email protected] or 805-437-0312.

MORE: Camarillo-based GeoLinks joins universities on wildfire project

Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit

Lessons Learned in San Diego – Panel at California’s First Ever Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit

Moderator:

Jessica Block, Assistant Director of WIFIRE Lab, Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego

Panelists:

1. Skyler Ditchfield, CEO, GeoLinks

2. Tony Mecham, San Diego Unit Chief, CAL FIRE

3. Brian D’Agostino, Director of Fire Science & Climate Adaptation, SDG&E

4. Graham Kent, Director, Nevada Seismological Lab, University of Nevada-Reno

Connect America Fund Making Federal Dollars Work for California

Presented at CENIC’s 2019 Annual Conference.

SPEAKER:

Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO, GeoLinks

ABOUT:

The Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II) was created by the Federal Communications Commission to distribute federal grant dollars to enable broadband infrastructure buildout to rural areas of the country that lack basic broadband services. In August 2018, GeoLinks was awarded approx. $88 Million to deploy high-speed broadband network facilities to eligible areas in California and Nevada (to be distributed over 10 years). In this discussion, GeoLinks’ CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, will discuss the CAF II application process, awarded areas, and opportunities for creating synergies between CAF II and other broadband grant programs. He will also discuss possible pain points and policy changes needed to streamline deployment and ensure CAF II funding is used as efficiently as possible to connect unserved Americans.

Invisible Infrastructure Connecting Rural and Unserved Areas via Spectrum

Presented at CENIC’s 2019 Annual Conference.

SPEAKERS:

Melissa Slawson, General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education, GeoLinks | Louis Fox, President and CEO, CENIC | Rachelle Chong, Attorney/Lobbyist, Law Office of Rachelle Chong | Luis Wong, CEO, K-12 High Speed Network

ABOUT:

Millions of Americans still lack access to high-speed broadband service, especially in rural areas. According to data collected by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as of the end of 2016, more than 500,000 households were without access to internet service of at least 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, the minimum threshold for high-speed service in California. This is due largely to the costs associated with building fiber networks to these unserved areas. Wireless services may provide cost-effective solutions and bring much-needed high-speed access to these communities and the anchor institutions that serve them. This panel will explore the role of spectrum-based wireless technologies (i.e. fixed wireless) in closing the digital divide; the benefits to various industry segments and success stories using this technology; and what spectrum policy changes are needed to promote this kind of connectivity at both the federal and state levels.