Communication Resources began in early 2004. I had about a decade of experience in the technology installation industry and I was ready to give running my own company a try. I was lucky: my father already ran a small tech install company in Northeastern Montana and I could call on him with questions that came up. But those early years were pretty typical of any small business. Lots of hours, lots of stress, lots of mistakes. I was exhausted most days. As I have often said: the Easy Life takes a lot of Hard Work! Nonetheless, here we are many years later, and we are still in business. I started with just myself and one part-time employee. Now we have dozens of us and we are growing every month. We started in Missoula, but now service all of Montana and the surrounding area. We have people in Butte, Great Falls, Plains, Helena, and more. We consistently work in Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, Hamilton, and many small towns between all those places. I am a small-town farm boy and will always be most at home in a little community.
We have worked on pretty much everything in the technology installation industry. I always tell people I am just a Cable Monkey. I was born to pull cable. Whether it is Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6A, Cat 8 (yes it exists!), fiber, or old school coax, I’ve pulled it all. We install several different manufacturers: ICC, OCC, Commscope, Panduit, Leviton, Belden, Hitachi, General Cable, Siemon, and most of the others. I’ve terminated huge 1600-pair cables, installed Single Mode and Multi-mode fiber optic cables and punched down thousands of jacks. I remember terminating fiber with epoxy-style connectors and polishing them by hand. That was more art than science! Now we just plug in our fiber optic fusion splicer and basically press a button and voila! Fiber is terminated. My fiber techs have it so easy! Kids today, riiiight?
We work on basically every phone system known to humankind. I started out working on old AT&T systems. Then they sold out to Lucent. Then they became Avaya. I remember the first Nortel Norstar system I installed. Then Avaya bought them. Sheesh. Panasonic, NEC, and tons of other traditional phone systems. But then Voice over IP (VoIP) became a thing. Early on it was a disaster. Anyone in 2001 that thought VoIP worked great should be committed to an institution. It has come a long way since then. Now we have hosted VoIP systems that work flawlessly.
In addition to phone systems, we install paging systems made by Valcom and Bogen and other systems. We install WiFi systems with manufacturers like Ubiquiti, Meraki, Netgear, and others. It is more and more common for companies to ask us to help them with their audio/video needs as well. Sometimes this is as simple as hanging a screen on the wall and other times it is setting up fully interactive systems for universities to educate remotely.
In 2017 we launched a new department in our company. We call it our Alarm Department but it does more than just alarms. One of the main areas of focus in fire alarm systems. We install Silent Knight and Siemens systems and service any and all other systems. We offer 24/7 monitoring services and perform yearly Annual Test and Inspect services for our clients. We also work on security systems. These have become much more than intrusion/burglar detection systems. They monitor conditions within the building like temperature, detect water leaks, or almost anything else. We install ELK systems and service any of the other major manufacturers. One of the common requests we get from our customers is to help them with access control. Whether it is key pads, fobs, card swipes or some other method of getting into a building or secure room, we can help. Physical keys are becoming a thing of the past! It is so much more efficient to assign a person access and have complete digital control instead of worrying about them losing their keys and trying to decide if you should re-key your building! The other area that our customers ask for help with a lot is with Security Cameras. We install several different brands: Verkada, Axis, Hikvision, and tons of others. My personal favorite is Montavue though. That may be because they are also a Montana company. Actually, their office is less than a mile from ours. Its crazy! They sell cameras all over the world and we install them all over the Inland Northwest but we are literally in the same zip code! They guys over there are super-cool and incredibly helpful.
What else do we do? Well, just ask. We can help you with your firewall, router, or network switch. While we spend more time installing network cable than anything else, we are a lot more than just a bunch of cable monkeys. But I will never be offended if you call me that!
What is next for us? I’m not sure. We work in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and other states (ask me about my 2 weeks in Denali National Park in Alaska sometime – it’s less exciting than you’d think! And then I followed that up with a week in South Dakota.)
We have had opportunities to work with some amazing companies. St Patrick’s hospital in Missoula, Blackfoot Telecommunications, Montana Tech in Butte, Washington Corporation, Anaconda Hospital, University of Montana, Lolo Schools, Missoula, Public Schools, Browning Schools, Hamilton Schools, Quinn’s Hot Springs near Plains, not to mention some amazing IT companies like Alter Enterprise, First Call Computer Solutions, and Uniprise. We have worked with some amazing electricians like Talco, DJ’s, Jacobson Electric, and many, many more. We’ve installed systems for State of Montana organizations like Bannack State Park (yes, we put a fire alarm system in a haunted ghost town) and Lewis and Clark Caverns. I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many amazing organizations in my career. If you are one of them and reading this, let me just say: thank you, it has been a pleasure. If you haven’t worked with us before, please reach out. We would love to help you too.