Two San Luis Obispo based tech companies have officially joined forces, to the surprise of no one who has seen the teams working together over the last two decades.
Digital West Networks Inc. acquired Norcast Telecom Networks in November 2016 but made the official announcement in late January. The companies are merging offices in the first week of February.
The acquisition forms what Digital West’s staff are calling, “the Central Coast’s single largest business infrastructure provider.” Each company had roughly 30 employees and a range of local commercial customers of all sizes as well as some foreign data service clients.
Tim Williams remains CEO of the newly integrated company with Jeff Buckingham becoming the president and Chief Client Officer. The pair split private ownership in the firm with Buckingham as the minority partner.
Michael Gayaldo former CEO and majority shareholder of Norcast sold his interest and will look for, “other challenges.”
It’s the second time in as many years that Buckingham has been part of such a merger. In 2015 his company Blue Rooster merged into Norcast creating a combined force. Each time, he said, the logic of adopting the larger or more prominent company’s name for the new entity seemed clear. Aside from owners choosing to depart the company no job losses or layoffs occurred with either transition.
“Things are very different here in SLO,” said Buckingham. “…compared to Silicon Valley. Those are takeovers; people come into work and everything’s up in the air and they wait for it to settle down before they find out if they have a job.”
“For us,” he added, “coming together is always about doing what makes the most sense. Norcast was larger and had more customers as a known entity than Blue Rooster. Digital West has it’s own name recognition and a reputation that will allow us to expand and grow in new directions.”
Williams added that his role as CEO would be to focus on development of new products for Digital West as well ass implementing their combined vision. Expanding their fiber optic network is a big part of that, he said.
“What it means to be an IT company has been radically redefined since the old days,” Williams said. “In the 1980s a CEO with a laptop might have had three people on staff just to fix it. Now those types of issues are solved. Smaller companies no longer need a Chief Technology Officer necessarily, but the security of information, business intelligence is what is needed.”
Williams founded Digital West 19 years ago as an ISP in the days of dial-up Internet. They still provide Internet hook up at speeds unimaginable back then, also maintaining a 2,000 sq. ft. data center in SLO maintaining a private “cloud” for clients. However, that center is operating pretty much at capacity, Williams said.
Digital West owns a parcel near the corner of Tank Farm Road and Broad Street where they still plan to build a much larger and more advanced facility, although a clear timeline is not known.
“We’re really excited about the new synergies that we can create,” Williams said, later adding. “We often called each other the ‘co-opatition’ before…Jeff [Buckingham] was always a mentor so to be working together again, this is terrific.”
– Camas Frank