Montana is home to some amazing people, some amazing places, and some unique technology companies. Here in Billings we have people doing great things from revamping Montana Avenue, to developing software, to opening small local businesses. In Bozeman there are even more entrepreneurs branching out to meet technology needs nationwide. With so many great people in our state, it is sometimes easy to overlook those that have worked hard to develop startup businesses right in our own backyard. Today I want to show you one of these technology companies; one that you may have seen before, but you are unaware of their story.
The Connect Group
The Connect Telephone and Computer Group has long resided on the 1300 block of Central Avenue. Chances are you have driven by and seen their signs. But without knowing more about the company, you probably did not give it a second thought. I spoke with Randy Begger, the Op Manager West, regarding the history of this local company and how they got started.
Back in 1991 the company’s founder, and current president, Matt Duray wanted to branch out. He saw a need for another tech company in Billings. But rather than just start any old computer repair business Matt was able to see the logical path of the telecom industry. He knew that voice and data would soon merge, and he successfully built his company around that niche.
Starting with structured cabling, The Connect Group would install high quality hardware into the business. They knew that the best way to keep a client’s phone and computer service running efficiently was to use the proper equipment. So rather than go the cheap route, they started with the good stuff. As time went on they added more and more services that were logically related to their original business plan.
As any business owner knows, there are challenges that come with running a start up. The biggest in this industry is staying on top of the game with cutting edge technology. We have all seen how far computers, phones, and the internet have come since 1991. The Connect Group founders had to learn all about the integration of voice and data. Then they had to teach their employees, and provide continuing education so that in the world of rapidly evolving technology, they were not left in the dust. Combine that with trying to work with existing phone and networking companies and there are many, many hurdles to jump over when starting a technology company of this caliber.
The Connect Group prides itself in retaining employees. They are a group of people who love what they do, and do what they love. Randy Begger, has been on the team for the past 18 years. He was gracious enough to let me pick his brain about the history of the company, and finished the interview by telling me, “We use what we sell.” You won’t find The Connect Group selling you one thing yet not trusting it enough in their own offices.
Connect got its start right here in Billings. Through successful management, taking advantage of what Billings has to offer, and a lot of hard work, they have been able to grow beyond the confines of the city. Now, no matter what your tech needs are, they can help you. With offices in Billings, Bozeman, and Helena, there is a good chance they are located near you in order to answer your tech related questions. Out of all the technology companies out there, this one is worth noticing.