New resident in Cass incubator

Published 6:35 am Thursday, April 8, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Working at home can have distractions, which is why the Edward Lowe Business Development Center in Cassopolis can be the perfect place for a small business to set up shop.
The latest tenant in the incubator is StrataCom, owned and operated by Steve Jones, president.
Cassopolis might be a long way from Fargo, North Dakota, but it's just seconds away with high speed internet.
Jones started his company with a partner in 1997, after seeing a special niche in the Information Technology Services Industry they could fill.
The name came from a combination of "strategic and computing," Jones said.
With the owners in Fargo, N.D., and Minnesota, they survived the downturn in the economy, after being on the "cutting edge," added Jones, with 12 employees and no layoffs. Today they are "100 percent busy."
Consultants are sent all over, when work isn't able to be done online.
They customize software for companies, especially setting up their help desks and helping track customer service. Though they work with extremely large corporations, they also assist smaller businesses and recently helped Dowsett Spring in Dowagiac.
Though many businesses are willing to spend money for software, many only use 10 to 15 percent of its features. "If you paid for a Cadillac, it should drive like a Cadillac," Jones added.
But Jones wanted his children, Nick, 8, a second grader at Squires, and Natalie, 3, to get to know his family and brothers in Edwardsburg, so back to the area they came. "It's great to be back," said Jones.
His wife Christina (Shelburg) grew up in the Niles/Brandywine area, where her father Dick worked on chimneys. They now have a new modular home on Donnell Lake, and Jones added, "a yard to build."
He and his brothers Kevin and Mike also help their mother Barb who runs Arrowhead Campground on Hutchins Lake.
He intends to get involved with the Chamber of Commerce and "see the area flourish."
The incubator offers Jones a place to work, and a place where he shares fast DSL internet.
Green, the director of the center, said "StrataCom's services focus on the use of information technology to ensure customers receive the highest benefit possible from their investment."
Anyone interested in joining the 16 other tenants in the manufacturing incubator for a start-up or emerging business, with shared services, mentoring and reasonable rates, can contact Green at 269-445-2520.