Making the connection

Ware Communications taps telecom growth with push toward interactive Website

In 1993, Ware Communications Inc. was founded with $500 and a dream, a dream the company’s founder, Shawn Ware, had had for many years-to be in business for himself. Making the dream a reality took courage, skill and luck.

Ware had been gainfully employed since graduating from Pittsburgh’s Job Core vocational school with a certification in telecommunications wiring. He spent three years with a telecom company installing corporate phone lines and four years with a data communications company, where he acquired new skills in installing computer network lines. Ware made steady gains in his performance and expertise.

A self-proclaimed go-getter and visionary, he says, “I was never satisfied just being one of the pack. I like to really jump into things.”

A friend who knew of Ware’s growing data com skills and his interest in spreading his wings, tipped him to a law firm in downtown Pittsburgh, Pietragallo Bostick & Gordon, that was looking for help installing its computer network.

Ware wasted no time following up on the lead. Initially, the law firm had him repair one of its computers.

Two weeks later, he was handed full responsibility for setting up the telephone and data com lines in its three-floor office. The project took many months and earned him an average of $6,000 in revenue per month.

Naturally, taking on a project of that size required Ware to staff up. In time, finding qualified people would become, and remain one of his biggest obstacles. Ware admits,”I didn’t come into this with a background in business so [human resources and recruitment] was new to me.” Ware makes a concerted effort to ensure that the company is a good place to work. Among the benefits he offers: flex hours for salespeople, medical benefits and an incentive program, with a 401(k) plan in the works.

The company’s turnover is about 20%, which is low for many industries but high for Ware, who has only nine employees. He hopes to trim turnover and improve the firm’s ability to find new talent with a new technical training facility that should provide a new source of talent and enable the company to grow.

“Things just fell in place for me,” Ware says of his company’s formation. I knew I wanted to be a businessman, but I never knew it would come together this way.” Ware’s growth has been slow but steady. In 1994, his revenues were about $40,000. Last year, they were $435,000. This year, Ware plans to increase his staff, break in a new interactive Website for clients and add Web hosting and Web design as client services. “We expect to break the million-dollar mark this year.”

Ware Communications Inc., 400 N. Lexington St., Pittsburgh, PA
15208; 412-241-7370; www.warecommunications.com; e-mail: shawn@warecommunica tions.com

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