Oct 30, 2014 Emergency Relief

Emergency Relief 

When Disaster Strikes, IT Companies Call Increditek

By Mary Tilghman;

When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in October 2012, it left a U.S. Coast Guard microwave tower underwater … 17 feet underwater. All the communications equipment was ruined. So, they called Adam Pattisall, CEO of Increditek, a small Harford County company, who took a team to Sandy Hook, N.J., to bring the tower back online. When a generator wouldn’t cooperate, Pattisall called in an employee – Rick Zimmerman, a NASCAR fan familiar with cars – to keep restarting the diesel machinery until a new generator could be delivered. He was there for several hours. Before the storm hit, Increditek rushed to finish several standard interval FTTP projects, with long hours and extra shifts “literally within hours of the hurricane hitting the New Jersey coastline,” Pattisall adds. “The completion of this job was instrumental in allowing Verizon to quickly restore service to Sandy Hook after the hurricane devastated the area. “That’s when we do our best work,” says Pattisall, whose Increditek operates out of a twostory building in Belcamp. His corner office is decorated with knickknacks, antique telephones and an eagle wearing a tie. The bird wears the only tie here; the atmosphere is casual, according to Pattisall. Pattisall founded Increditek 10 years ago. After his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1992, he worked for Fijitsu, CIENA and Lucent. After years in the corporate world, he started Increditek funded by a 401(k) and a home equity loan. “We literally bet the farm,” says Pattisall, who lives with his wife Lisa and their three children on an eightacre farm in Harford County. His new company connects businesses to the cloud, installing, customizing and maintaining networks. “I’ll do anything no one else does,” he says. And from the beginning, he wanted to emphasize service: “I’ve always been that way,” he says. Pattisall thought he was setting high goals for his company: $500,000 the first year and $5 million by the third. “We just started one job at a time,” he says. Business grew and he shattered his goals: $1.2 million the first year and $32 million the third. Increditek now employs 43 people, seven of them, including the COO, newly hired. Emergencies are a specialty, Pattisall says. “When there’s an emergency, the customers think of us first,” he says. That’s when Increditek works best.” Mike Jacobs, a Verizon engineering manager who has done business with Increditek since its inception, would go along with that. “No. 1 for him, he is reliable and reactive,” Jacobs says, adding that that kind of flexibility is “amazing.” Jacobs says Increditek’s ability to respond in an emergency affects everyone who uses Verizon’s phones, cell phones, commercial voice or data transmission – all connected by fiber optics. Increditek builds equipment to Verizon’s specifications, installs it to connect Verizon’s offices and is an authorized reseller of Verizon equipment. “It’s a very important job,” Jacobs says. Chuck Dunsey, retired vice president of engineering for Verizon, remembers when Pattisall asked for advice about starting his business. “You could just see the desire in his eyes,” says Dunsey. “I knew right then and there he would succeed.” Dunsey remembers Pattisall was one of those he called when communications went down in their New York office on Sept. 11, 2001. “I only called those I knew were going to deliver,” he says. “Adam was one of them.” All of their work is with private companies. Even though bomb testing from Aberdeen Proving Ground rumbles through the offices, Increditek has had no government or military contracts, according to Pattisall. Increditek is on Fujitsu’s approved vendor list, notes Mark Allard, manager for the company’s optical technical assistance center. “That’s a very hard list to get on,” says Allard, who met Pattisall when both were stationed in Japan. “When [Fujitsu] has someone go out for them, they want them to represent them well.” Increditek, a service disabled veteranowned business, works with other such companies, according to Pattisall. He made several connections when he participated in AT&T’s Operation Hand Salute, a national education program for service disabled veteran-owned businesses. “There’s a huge network out there,” he says. The company sponsors or contributes to Court Appointed Special Advocates of Harford County, Army Alliance, the University of Maryland Medical System Foundation, Special Olympics and John Carroll School, according to COO Pam Pippin. Employees also volunteer for American Red Cross fundraisers and at Luna’s House, an animal care center, and Harford Family House, which provides transitional housing for homeless families. Increditek has also been a strong supporter of Rebuilding Together of Anne Arundel County, says Dunsey, former president of the charity that helps rehab houses for poor families. “They have gone out of their way,” he says. I95 Business