Carol Underriner, E-Rate Consultant, BTU Consultants
"Networking! Networking! Networking! This concept is constantly emphasized at the STC; and with good reason.
As a result of networking with two STC consultants, I was introduced to the client, determined their needs, wrote the proposal, reviewed the proposal with them, and received three signed contracts in less than one week! The client is a school district, and the three contracts represent three school years during which the school district will receive in excess of $110,000.00
I could not have made this project happen without the networking relationships derived from participating in the STC. Thank you STC!
Chuck Ploof, Principal Consultant, Charles R. Ploof & Associates
"STC membership has become integral to the success of my telecom consulting practice. In addition to providing a credible reference to prove my independence to current and prospective clients, the opportunity to collaborate with other highly skilled telecom consultants provides a depth and synergy to my solutions and recommendations that would be difficult to duplicate. This level of peer support, which is strongly supplemented by the unique vendor access provided by members of the Vendor Advisory Council (VAC), all combine to make STC membership an incredible value!”
Charles R. Ploof & Associates
Hamid Nabavi, Principal, Optimized Communications
"I am writing this testimonial while attending the STC Fall 2008 Conference. Even though I became an STC member less than a month ago, and this is my first STC conference, I have already gained so much insight and knowledge from conversations with other members (present at the conference), and from the conference speakers. This will surely help me to expand my horizons and depth of knowledge to better serve my current clients and grow my client base.”
John McKiernan, President, TelData Consultants, Inc.
"Throughout my organization's 25 years as consultants, our client base has been an invaluable asset for obtaining new business. I would like to credit my membership in the STC as another reason that new clients have sought out our services.
Recently, we had the opportunity to bid on a consulting assignment, and went through the usual proposal and vetting process. The prospective client noted my membership in the STC, and inquired about its members, mission, etc. Our competition was not a member. The client (now) remarked on the impressive scope and talent base of the STC organization, and appreciated how a small consulting firm, such as ours, can have resources and a support "bench” normally not available to a small firm.
Clients certainly regard references in their choice of consultants, but also appreciate the endorsement and membership of a peer group. Thank you STC!”
TelData Consultants, Inc.
Chris Vitek, VCTI, Inc.
"I joined STC in late 2006 with a simple thought in mind...If I can make good connections with people that understand what I do, then I can expand my business. By late 2007 I was contacted by several firms as a direct result of STC referrals. These contacts turned into $150K in revenue. Not bad for a year of getting to know good people who understand what you go through every day."
Melissa Swartz, Swartz Consulting, LLC
"Three different clients contacted me after seeing my listing on the STC web site; these jobs have totaled over $30,000 in revenues so far. But the value of the STC goes far beyond this; the information that has been shared by other consultants is invaluable. I was negotiating a very large deal and wanted to know if the vendor was giving me their maximum discounts. Other consultants shared their experiences, and I was able to save my client over $300,000 by knowing that there was still room for negotiating. There is no other organization I know of that gives consultants that kind of support and knowledge.”
Swartz Consulting, LLC
Robert Callahan, Jr., RCDD, Callahan & Associates
"I sit on the board of education in Baldwin County Alabama, a 27,000 student system with 46 schools. The need for a telecom consultant arose as the system was faced with bids and negotiations for access services and toll services. As a board member, I could not/should not compete for the work. I was able to convince our purchasing group that a significant consideration as they sought professional services should be membership in the STC. The brochures and code of ethics were useful in that presentation.
I was pleased that Tim Proctor [STC member] received the assignment and was pleased with the work his firm performed. In fact – they did almost as good a job as I would have done - (Note that this is said with good humor)”
Robert Callahan, Jr., RCDD
Callahan & Associates
Michael J. Thurston, Vice President, North American Communications INC
"I can say my experience with the STC has been very rewarding. I enjoy the STC Conferences. It is always rewarding to talk with people that see the Telecommunication Industry (after deregulation) the way I do.
A while back, I worked with another STC consultant on a project. The experience was rewarding to my company financially and technically. While on the job, my onsite manager was tasked with finding out why calls were apparently getting lost. We analyzed the call routing tables and found the problem. We left the customer with a written assessment of the problem and how to correct to it.
I just received a hit off the STC Web site as I was writing this testimonial. I can not say much about the client other than she says she needs help like yesterday. This should be interesting.”
Michael J Thurston
North American Communications, INC
Barb Grothe, Telecom Resources, Inc.
"I have really enjoyed getting the 'listserve'. It has helped my practice tremendously. Just yesterday, there was a post on how to prevent scams from being sent to a new blackberry phone. That same exact situation had happened with one of our clients, and I quickly sent them an email with some suggestions of what to do. Awesome service! "
Barbara Grothe, CPT
Telecom Resources, Inc.
Marty Parker, UniComm Consulting
"In less than one year as an STC member on the List Serv, ["List Serv” is a benefit to STC members only that allows for technical and business interaction via email.], I have experienced the following benefits:
- Ability to get a sense of the "hot questions” that all of us face; i.e. one person's challenge today may be my challenge tomorrow, so I become a better STC Consultant as a result. So, it is a knowledge sharing tool and an educational tool.
- Ability to find help and advice for selected problems (and to provide the same in return when I can). I have used the tool to:
- Find experienced peers on new problems that I face.
- Find expertise on product lines that I don't know well
- Ask for advice about how to resolve, overcome or work-around specific types of problems or vendor approaches, terms or conditions
- Ability to share and develop thinking on new concepts."
Byron Battles, The Battles Group, LLC
"As the economy turns sluggish and work allegedly becomes scarcer, my STC membership becomes all the more valuable. Over the last 30 days I have received two "hits” off the STC website for potential projects I would have never heard about. I have submitted proposals for both and am hoping for positive results, but at least I had the opportunity…thanks to being on the STC web site. Additionally, an STC colleague, whom I have met at a couple of conferences, referred me to a potential client project not in his skill set. Talk about the benefit of networking and conference attendance! I have contacted several STC colleagues that might supplement and complement my bandwidth for this. Again, I would not have had the opportunity, if not for my STC involvement."
The Battles Group, LLC
Richard Shoemaker, R M Shoemaker & Associates, Inc.
"The STC Web Site lists 5 very good reasons why an independent consulting firm should join the STC. Well, I can add another.
Recently, the IT department of a major university made the determination that they needed to migrate from TDM to IPT. To accomplish this, they also understood that they first needed to develop a Strategic Technology Plan. This Plan, and the actual Migration process, includes their Main Campus (over 90 buildings) and 9 Regional Campuses.
Knowing that this Plan and the Migration process would be a major undertaking, both in time and expertise, they realized that they needed the services of an independent voice/data consulting firm who has this expertise and was located in the general Ohio area. What they did next is testament to the purpose of the STC and the quality of the STC web site.
Not knowing where to search, or who to ask, they began "Googling” around on the Web and quickly came across the STC. After reviewing the various tabs on the site and discovering the values of a STC Consultant, they then clicked on "Find a Consultant” for their area and our name came up with a few others. After reviewing the bios and doing some checking in the local industry they gave us a call. A few weeks later we were retained for these projects.
Bottom line, I think our membership fees and STC conference travel expenses are paid in full until I retire, and then some."
R M Shoemaker & Associates, Inc.
Thomas Brannen, Wassaw Consulting
"My partnerships in the STC have resulted in significant opportunities and have really made a difference in the success of my firm. In particular, my work with another [STC member] firm, serving the needs of a large pharmaceutical company, resulted in a highly successful project. It has been a large source of my annual revenue for the last two years.”
Agustin Argelich, Argelich Ingenieros
"More or less 10 years ago while browsing the Internet, for what I don't remember, I found the STC web site. I quickly syntonized (syntonize means a mental connection, deeply agree with) with STC principles and spirit. So, I made the proposal to attend a conference and made a soft contact. Unfortunately, it was not possible for me to travel from Barcelona to USA until April 2007 to Atlanta spring conference. There, I had the opportunity to know real colleagues and to share those experiences that only other colleagues can understand. Joining STC I know that I will always find the personal and professional support that we all need sometimes to solve strategic or technical issues. I know that while remaining independent, I am not alone in my consultant practice. It is also opening to me new business opportunities in a globalized world.”
Stephen Leaden, Leaden Associates
" I have been a long time member of the STC and its benefits cannot be overstated. A few examples:
- I received an opportunity to guest speak on VOIP a few years ago at a national user conference through an STC referral; that turned into several national publishing opportunities and Internet exposure, which led to an opportunity to provide independent consulting to a national client, facilitating revenues in excess of $400K.
- Through an introduction by a VAC member, we have been engaged by a client for several years, starting with a $20K project, expanding to other voice and data projects – revenues have paid for our affiliation with STC and VAC members time and again.
- Through networking and affiliation with other STC consultant members, we are currently teaming with another member on a large 200+ site customer VOIP rollout over a 24 month period.
- Through our continued networking with other STC members, we were able to facilitate a "local presence” for a customer in 5 cities (including Toronto), thus showing the client our ability to network with other local experts and provide resources nationally wherever a client may need it.
This is a huge testimonial for an STC member when asked about the extent of our geographic "reach."
Diane Brown, Comlink Consulting
"Answer the telephone on a Saturday and it could be an STC member asking if you could be in San Francisco the following week to help out on a project. Attend an STC conference and a fellow consultant could share and idea and his contract sample that turns into an ongoing maintenance customer. Work on a committee and develop a working relationship with yet another member and it could turn into a three year subcontract opportunity. Participate in a telephone interview with a reporter that got your contact information from the STC website and a prospect with multiple locations, who read the article may hire you. In the ten plus years I have been an STC member all of this has happened to me. Dollar value, over one hundred thousand dollars, friendship, trust and educational value. Priceless!. Join the STC, it's a good thing.”
Kris Macurdy, Three Rivers Telecom Consulting
"The STC has been an excellent organization to become affiliated with. It has helped my consulting practice in at least four different ways. First, it has delivered new business by directing clients to me from the STC Consultant Member website. One client alone resulted in over $20,000 in revenue. Secondly, it has helped me engage prospective clients by giving them the credentials and security of hiring an independent and trustworthy advisor. Thirdly, the networking support within the STC has helped me with implementation of projects across wide geographic regions. On one project, the call to STC members for a CLEC in Houston resulted in three referrals within 15 minutes and reduced my client's costs by 48%! Finally, the breadth and depth of expert knowledge across the organization (which is generously shared) has strengthened my business by sharpening technical skills, understanding industry trends, and being kept abreast of regulatory updates.”
Three Rivers Telecom Consulting
Garrett Myers, Gateway Group
"Child and Family Services in Buffalo (CFS), with dozens of sub-organizations, and four or more phone systems, decided to contract with a consultant to help them clarify needs, design a system, select a vendor, oversee implementation and help the organization assimilate and apply the new systems features. They went to the STC web site and selected 30 STC consultants based how well the information on the consultant's sites lined up with CFS's needs. They then did an RFP process. STC's membership criteria and ethics pledge were important to CFS. I am very pleased that they chose us and of course very glad that I became an STC member, since CFS might never have found us otherwise.”
John H. Purnell, Inspired Data Solutions, LLC
"After fifteen years of employment, I left a big aviation company to join the telecommunications consulting world. The STC quickly surfaced during my Internet searches and I read the web site thoroughly. The Code of Ethics fit my intentions and the upcoming conference in Denver seemed professionally valuable.
The decision was not an easy one. This would be the first time I used my own money for an industry membership, business travel and conference fees. Previously I justified these kinds of expenses to others and now had to make the call myself. It was amazing how much care and scrutiny I gave that choice.
I signed the Code of Ethics, applied to become a member of the STC and went to Denver (as cheaply as I could).
I haven't missed an STC conference since I joined in 2004. Many of my friends are STC members and much of what I learn through the STC gets applied in my practice. Each successive year has been increasingly rewarding both professionally and financially; more so than any of the previous fifteen.”
Inspired Data Solutions, LLC
Denise M. Munro, GRG Telecom
"My biggest success due to membership consisted of my being contacted by a local consulting firm looking for someone in the area with my specialty. By virtue of simply having my name on the STC Consultant website membership directory, I was contacted for a meeting. Within two weeks they handed me a project for one of their clients that had 1000 locations and resulted in an almost $600,000.00 fee. It REALLY pays to be a member of the STC!”
CRG Telecom, Inc. (dba Cost Reduction Group)
Chris Beck, Ben Sanford & Associates, Inc.
"The help I have received from fellow STC members by asking for advice and answers to questions I have had over the last 15 years cannot be put into dollars, but it certainly has helped me accomplish my projects and meet my clients needs and that has earned me a living I am well pleased with. Along with that has been the close affiliation I have with many consultant liaisons through the STC. It has definitely been easier to get help from those liaisons I know personally through the STC conferences versus those I only know through email or from telephone calls. I know I will get a quicker and more complete response from those liaisons I know personally. The conferences themselves have continued my education without having to go through all the sales hype I seem to get from most every manufacturer or vendor event I attend.”
Ben Sanford & Associates, Inc.
"In June, 2004, my firm was awarded a large hospital contract in Indianapolis. The hospital has over 4,000 phones, a main hospital and 14 surrounding clinics. Although I have been consulting since 1984 (20 years) this was my first large hospital client. I called STC member Rick Hathaway, recalling at a previous STC Conference that he was working with a very large hospital in the Miami, FL area. We talked on the phone a while and before I knew it, I was on an airplane to Miami to meet with Rick at this hospital. He showed me the switch room, we went to where the live operators answer all the calls, he showed me several applications that applied to this unique industry, the wireless phones, the large generator, the nurse call stations, etc. etc."
"It was amazing how much I learned from him in the short 3 or 4 hours that we were at the hospital. I can't thank him enough for spending the time with me and most importantly sharing his knowledge in the medical field with me to take back to my hospital client. Without the STC, this would have never been possible. That is why each year when it is time to pay my annual dues to the STC there is never a hesitation. The bonds that are formed here are very special. I have been an STC member since 1985.”
Barbara Grothe, CPT
Bruce H. Burgess, Burgess Communications Solutions, Inc
"Unlike other members of the STC, I have never derived revenue by teaming on a project. Yet, I value my membership because of my association with so many telecommunications professionals who are members. STC members are willing to share knowledge and relationships. They are willing to guide other members and promote their practices. They inspire me. Some of the members are internationally recognized; others are just getting started; but all are willing to help each other. That is a rare value.”
Burgess Communications Solutions
"During my 11 years as an STC member, I have worked on four major multi-state projects with other STC members. It was only because of my STC membership and association with other members that these opportunities were available. I have also had many leads and many projects that were the direct result of membership in the STC. Over the past year (2006), I have had six referrals or leads from other STC consultants. One of these resulted in three projects.”
Eisenhut & Associates
Julie Drake, Jewel Technology Services, Inc.
"I had two reasons for joining the STC in 2003. The first was to keep in touch with the manufacturers and the second was to meet people I could build a network with. It was not long after I joined that I realized that I had definitely made the correct choice. Having finished a new system installation project with a client I was forced with the realization that nobody was taking a look at their ever-growing telecommunications budget. They asked to me look into their monthly expenses for all local and long distance services. I had largely come from an equipment background and had not done an in-depth audit before. Through the assistance of two fellow STC members I was able to build a profile for this customer and begin my analysis. From that project I have learned the skills necessary to help other clients, have added a new dimension to my practice and am able to share what I have learned with other members. Due to overwhelming requests this type of work accounted for 40% of my business revenue in 2006. If I had not had willing colleagues able to teach me a few of the pieces I was missing I would not have been able to assist those clients."
"Another situation involved a client who had an installed system. The current local vendor was not servicing that client well. By using my relationship with the STC VAC representative I was able to locate another vendor for the client. That vendor came in and serviced the existing system in 2005. Then in 2006 the client upgraded their system with the existing phones they already owned. If it had not been for the STC VAC member assisting in finding a quality vendor to service the client the customer would have done a forklift purchase with another manufacturer costing then thousands of needless dollars. It helped solidify my relationship with the client, showing that connections mean a lot in this business."
"Those are just a couple of many stories I have about collaboration turning into hard dollar results for Jewel Technology Services, Inc. and I owe that entirely to the consultants and VAC that make up the STC. Thank you to you all!"
Jewel Technology Services, Inc.
Byron Battles, The Battles Group, LLC
"During 2006 I received six inquiries from prospective clients via the STC web site. From those inquiries I had a 50% "win” rate, which I will take anytime. The projects ranged from just under $15,000 to will over $50,000. The smallest job takes care of my next ten STC conference registrations and expenses. The rest is "gravy.”
"In 2006 I subbed to an STC colleague with whom I have teamed on multiple projects. Our independence via STC was a differentiator during the sales process, and together we have the bandwidth to complete the project while working on other engagements. This has been worth over $11,000 so far, which takes care of my STC annual dues for the next ten years. I call that a good return."
"My STC network has enabled me to team with trusted colleagues on more than ten different projects, which I could not have completed alone. The billable revenue totals nearly half a million dollars."
The Battles Group, LLC
Janet Smith, Janet L.F. Smith & Associates, LLC
"I could never afford to hire the expertise I get instantly from my fellow STC consultants. My business is a virtual one, my 'associates' are affectionately referred to as my imaginary friends, my expertise is in strategic planning. But when I've needed help with everything from municipal wireless, to E911 systems to cabling advice to a sanity check on the evaluation of a complex, 30,000 line multi-hospital system, all I've needed to do is make a couple phone calls and send a note on the listserv -- instant associates! STC allows me to be as broad and as deep as I need to be without having the burden of a large staff.”
"Since joining STC, I have been invited to join two large bids with other consultants. These are opportunities that I would not have had without this organization.”
Janet L.F. Smith Associates, LLC
Robert Harris, Communications Advantage
"I was familiar with the STC for at least three years before I joined. My overall perception was that the STC was an organization of experts. I had met several members who were authors, trainers, and very good consultants! I had learned about the STC's business inquiries and lead referrals, but I had established my practice as an unbiased consultant and wondered if the STC could really benefit me since I already had a fair amount of business."
"Just a few months after I joined, I received a call from a prospective customer who had found me through the STC directory. I met with the CFO, and one of his first questions was, "I understand that as an STC member, you are unbiased, right?” I have heard this echoed so many times since becoming a consultant and the STC's code of ethics assures clients that I truly am a vendor-independent consultant."
"This first STC lead brought me $25,000 contract, I had already made up my membership dues forty-fold! It was only then that I decided to attend a conference. Remembering all of the experts I had met in the past who were STC members, I was actually a little nervous about attending. When I got there I found a very creative and friendly group of people. Yes, they were experts, but they were also independent consultants and a lot more like me than I would have imagined. The conference was full of information rich sessions that easily rivaled any conference three times the cost."
"The STC continued to bring me more leads, and more business. Just recently, I have begun teaming with other STC members, and have been awarded projects that I would not have dared to bid on without the resources that are available to me through other STC members. Now, because of the STC, and the STC conferences, many of these experts are good friends and colleagues, who share the same code of ethics that I do."
Paul Tatge, American Communication Services, Inc.
"My first exposure to the STC occurred back in October of 1996 when the STC held their Fall Conference in Chicago. I attended to determine whether or not there might be some opportunities to work with the membership of the STC in the offering of videoconferencing services to the end user. At that time, I found the STC to be very heavily focused on telephone systems and the offering of consulting services in conjunction with these systems. I was disappointed to find that none of the sessions focused on video."
"I continued to offer consulting services to the end user building satellite television networks for corporations such as Philip Morris, Sun Microsystems, and others. I also consulted with a lot of the Fortune 100 Corporations located in the Chicago Area. I consulted with companies such as WW Grainger, McDonalds, Wickes Furniture, Ameritech and others. Business was great, then came September 11, 2001. The aftermath for telecommunications and videoconferencing was disastrous."
"In 2002, I began to look outside the box in an effort to continue the work that I have such a passion for; the offering of consulting services to the end user while keeping the vendor honest. In December of 2002, I joined the STC and attended my first conference in the Fall of 2003. The membership was still very focused on telephone systems, but I saw more of a collaboration occurring with voice and video. "
"Since my first conference, I've been a guest speaker at two additional conferences and in October of 2006 I joined the Board. While I can't begin to attest to the successes of many of my esteemed colleagues, I do know that my time will come as I continue to meet more of the membership and become more familiar with the services that they offer as well as being able to make them aware of the services that I offer. I am optimistic that the collaboration of voice and video is on the horizon. "
"I like what I see in the membership and am excited to be on the board. I am honored to be a part of such a professional and ethical organization."
American Communication Services, Inc.
David Grill, The Marlboro Park Consulting Group
" I joined the STC in 2000. As a consultant running a small (very small) practice it was the most important and cost effective marketing decision I could have made. Over the past years more than 75% of my revenue has been due to my association with the STC. Prospective clients have found me through the STC website, attracted by the fact that all STC members offer independent, unbiased counsel on telecommunications issues."
"The relationships I've formed in the STC by attending conferences and participating in committee and leadership roles have also been vital in growing my business. Those relationships have led to partnerships and joint project work with other STC consultants and have presented the opportunity to provide a range of skills and experience to my clients that I can't provide on my own."
"The cost of my membership and participation in the STC is a few thousand dollars. The revenue generated this activity is in the tens of thousands of dollars. I can't think of a better ROI."
The Marlboro Park Consulting Group
Richard Hathaway, RLH Telecom Solutions, LLC
"Being "independent” doesn't necessarily have to mean being "alone”. I have tried the independent consulting venture twice. The first time I was really independent, on my own in all facets of the business. After very limited successes and a strong desire to continue eating I joined the staff of a larger consulting firm. Some of those staff members were also STC members. After joining the STC and attending a few conferences the measurable results of my second journey into independent consulting has been quite a different picture."
"The technical, marketing and practice management educational opportunities offered by the STC (especially those that choose to attend conferences) are simply not available anywhere else. The opportunity to meet with and develop working relationships with a large, incredibly talented peer group (and more than a few nationally recognized leaders in the field) expands business opportunities, professional growth and greatly relives the stain of being "independent”. The cooperative spirit and willingness to share experiences is incredible. You're never really alone as an STC member."
"For you hard core number types that only measure success in $$ consider this. Since joining the STC I have teamed with other members on projects too large for them to bid and handle alone. My records show over the years a low of $3,300 to a high of $42,350 annual billing to other STC member projects. The "instant recognition as "truly independent consultant " is a real differentiator that is becoming more evident by the fact that potential clients are now contacting me after searching the STC web site. I have received seven contacts from prospective clients directly through STC web site referral. Of those seven I've won three engagements ranging from $32,000 to $68,000 each. Not too bad for leads that I never would have seen. Some of these were too large for me to bid and work alone, which has also allowed me the opportunity to return the favor by using other STC consultants on those projects."
"Would I have enjoyed the same level of success in this second venture into independent consulting had I NOT joined the STC…? Maybe…maybe not….! As an active member of the STC it's a gamble I don't have to take….after all, I'm not alone anymore…!"
RLH Telecom Solutions, LLC
Rick Doughty, Communication Consulting
[commenting on a recent outreach to the membership for some information]: "...my expectation was that I might get a response with general information. That, however, was not the case. It appears that the STC membership is a little like Google in that you can get information on any subject you can think of! I got responses back, the same evening!!, from some members who have in-depth experience with the (information) I am researching."
James O'Gorman, Communications Engineering, Inc.
"I realized the benefits of an STC membership at my first conference. We were having a lunch presentation and the speaker was holding a forum on ethical decisions in business practices. To do so, he gave a couple of examples of sticky situations and asked the audience to comment. One of the situations had a ‘morality' edge to it, since it involved an XXX rated distributor of ‘toys'. After blushing profusely, a consultant from the Midwest at the table stated that she, under no circumstances, would ever work for a client like that. Of course, my side of the table was from NYC and, after containing our laughter, said that we'd be happy to work with the client, as long as he (or she) wasn't breaking the law.”
"A week later, my phone rang….it was the consultant from the Midwest…she exclaimed….'Jim…Lightening has Struck!” She had just gotten a call to provide consulting services to a 900 Phone line service! She asked if we'd do it….of course, we had to say yes as a matter of pride and honor. But the real kicker was that after we agreed to take on the client….the STC member proceeded to tell us exactly what the tasks should be and that she'd charge at least $10,000. We bid that amount, and got the job."
"That was our first STC referral and "that's the truth!””
Communications Engineering, Inc.