Ashland-based telecommunications firm dials up new leadership

Ashland-based telecommunications firm dials up new leadership

BY TAMMIE SMITH Richmond Times-Dispatch Jan 20, 2019

Read the full article from here.

Datamation Inc., an Ashland-based business specializing in installing telephone systems and other communications networks, is calling up new leadership.

The founding partners have sold the business to three longtime employees — Chris Crown, Mark York and Aaron Casstevens.

“Chris over the last several years has moved into the office to mirror what I did as far as running the shop,” said Doug Sculthorpe, the last of the three founding partners to retire. He said business partner John Casstevens retired about 14 years ago, while partner Bob Carlson retired several years ago.

All three of the new owners have been with the business for more than 20 years. Crown and Aaron Casstevens came as untrained apprentices. York had some experience in the field and has been lead technician for the past 10 years.

“They were all relatively young and learned the business as field service technicians, doing whatever was required of them,” Sculthorpe said.

Sculthorpe, Carlson and John Casstevens started the company in 1991. They had met years earlier while working at the former C&P Telephone company. After watching their employer go through transitions and mergers, they decided to take fate into their own hands and start a business.

The company has 15 employees and has done work for such clients as SunTrust Bank and McGuireWoods.

Terms of the sale, which closed Jan. 4, were not disclosed.

Trade Names: Datamation provides communication technology services

Trade Names: Datamation provides communication technology services

The following article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Trade Names: Datamation provides communication technology services
Credit: Eva Russo / Times-Dispatch
By Times-Dispatch Staff JOAN TUPPONCE
Published: January 10, 2011

Loy Hughes relies on Datamation Inc. for SunTrust Bank Inc.’s voice and data cable needs.

“They are more than a vendor,” said Hughes, vice president of the infrastructure management group at SunTrust. “They are like a partner. They understand our needs and our standards. They understand and know our buildings. We rely on them to be our eyes out in the field — to tell us if something is wrong.”

Hughes appreciates Datamation’s responsive attitude. Datamation provides services to SunTrust in the mid-Atlantic region and at the bank’s mortgage sites across the country.

“We have 13 low-voltage contractors like Datamation, and I would rank Datamation at the top as far as customer service,” he said, citing a project they had Datamation take over in Illinois. “They had to step in during the middle of it and get a problem resolved that the local vendor didn’t complete. They drove up and completed the job and made sure it was up to SunTrust standards.”

Doug Sculthorpe, John Casstevens and Bob Carlson started Datamation in 1991.

The trio had worked together as data services technicians for C&P Telephone Co. before the 1984 breakup of the Bell system. After that, they worked for AT&T and Lucent Technologies.

The three decided to start their own business after being transferred several times during a seven-year span.

“We decided to control our own fate,” Sculthorpe said. “It wasn’t because we had a desire to be entrepreneurs. We needed a job.”

They started Datamation in the Hanover County Industrial Air Park with four employees. The company, now at 10392 Dow-Gil Road near Ashland, now has 15 employees.

The company expanded its territory to include all of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington. Sales have increased about 10 percent each year.

“We’ve worked all over the country for multiple customers,” Casstevens said.

The company’s first customer was what is now the McGuireWoods law firm in Richmond.

“We sold them a block of hours and service to work on their systems,” Sculthorpe said. “We grew through word-of-mouth referrals. That was our best resource.”

Datamation’s big breakthrough came in 1992 when Crestar Bank (now SunTrust) was expanding.

“At the time, we assisted with putting in modems and circuits for computer services,” Sculthorpe said. “Then we started doing project management and working with their new branches, installing teller equipment. We were like an extension of their staff.”

Datamation now installs computer and telephone systems cables and fiber optics. It also sells and installs Avaya phone systems.

Greg Burns, vice president of Gasburg-based Gaston Security, uses Datamation because the company is dependable, he said.

“They are quick and clean with their work,” he said. “They have assisted us with (installing) 60 to 70 camera systems for some of our customers.”

Jill Dunlap, property manager for Parmenter Realty Partners, a commercial real estate firm that owns office buildings in Richmond, also finds Datamation to be reliable.

“That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Datamation,” she said. “They are a small business, and that is nice. We see familiar faces every time (they come here). I know most of the crew that comes to the building.”