ACCURATE, EFFICIENT, AND SAFE management of information—always crucial to a successful business—is more important than ever. Beginning in the 1970s, when information technology (IT) became more available and affordable, companies integrated hardware (PCs, printers, telephones) with software applications (accounting, inventory, customer records), over a network used by their employees. Move forward a couple of decades and add the internet and the world-wide web to the mix. This resulted in more power and outreach, but more complication and risk. Some businesses hired IT managers to set up, monitor, and troubleshoot their networks, install and upgrade software, add users, and protect their information from misuse or cyberattacks. At the same time, constant technology changes as well as the demands of a modern world put further demands on businesses and required constant retraining for and retooling of their important IT networks.
Understanding that not every business can afford its own IT department, and continuing its 118-year history of service and quality to its customers, Champlain Telephone Company is now offering solutions to these IT challenges through a subsidiary company. LayerEight, formerly operating as PrimeLink Managed Services, is proud to reintroduce itself to the business community. The team at LayerEight is offering its business customers all-inclusive IT services for an agreed-upon monthly fee. This means that all businesses, regardless of their size, can have a fully dedicated IT department. In addition, businesses can hire LayerEight’s specially trained construction team to build and install their infrastructure. Most importantly, since parent company Champlain Telephone Company, now being rebranded as Champlain Technology Group (CTG), has been a locally owned and trusted provider of telecommunication services since 1903, customers can rest assured they are in capable, experienced hands.
According to a recent press release, “LayerEight is staffed with IT professionals who can help a business become more efficient, more advanced, and more secure. Its strategic priorities include providing superior local customer service, partnering with clients to create customized technology plans that fit individual needs, and creating long-term client relationships based on superior performance and trust.”
The LayerEight Leadership Team
All members of the LayerEight team have years of extensive and varied experience with CTG.
Vicki Marking, Sales and Marketing Director. Marking joined PrimeLink in 2010 and was responsible for establishing the annual marketing plan and overseeing all facets of PrimeLink implementation, including advertising coordination, special event formation and logistics, creation and distribution of collateral materials, market research, and new product development.
Denise Calkins Ryder, Business Development Director. Ryder has been with PrimeLink for 21 years in the Sales department as a long-time Account Manager. She has been instrumental to PrimeLink’s long-term success, helping to build the business in its critical start-up phase and taking care of clients’ needs on a regular basis.
Bryan Brayton, Director of Managed Services. Brayton came to PrimeLink to start the Managed Services Division nearly three years ago. Brayton was the IT Director for the City of Plattsburgh for 10 years and worked in IT for Clinton Community College for 10 years prior to that. Brayton has owned and operated his own IT consulting business since 2006. His clients became customers of the Managed Services Division at PrimeLink when he was hired.
Steve MacNerland, Director of Network Operations. In charge of the telecommunications construction services side of the LayerEight business, MacNerland has been with CTG since 2005 in various positions and has moved up in the organization in the Network Operations Department.
Mike Southwick, Outside Plant Director. Also, in charge of the telecommunications construction services side of LayerEight, Southwick began in 2006, when he was 18, as a linesperson. He worked in that position for many years prior to joining the management team.
Offering a great opportunity to establish themselves and their families in the North Country, LayerEight has hired two teams of young adults to do the actual construction labor. They will work under the mentorship of seasoned professionals with many years of experience.
LayerEight remains under the ownership of the CTG investment group, with majority owner Trent Trahan as CEO. General Manager Greg MacConnell, formerly of PrimeLink, remains at the helm of the daily operations.
“An offshoot of the former PrimeLink, LayerEight is a managed services provider, a fully outsourced IT department that takes care of all the headaches normally associated with technology. From routine maintenance to automatic upgrades to proactive monitoring and instant support, our customers’ technology remains consistent. In short, it is an all-inclusive answer to our customers’ information technology needs,” explained Marking. “The greatest variable in calculating risk to a networked or telecommunications system is the human element. We mitigate risk against the human element and bridge the ‘universal divide’ between PC users and IT managers.”
The Business Model
According to Marking, LayerEight is partnered with industry leaders and positioned to offer the most efficient and cost-effective security products tailored to each businesses’ organizational needs.
LayerEight is dedicated to local people and to providing local service. Customers in the original Champlain Telephone “footprint” know that when they call for service, they talk to real people. This isn’t going to change. LayerEight will apply this philosophy to all its clients in all the expanded areas it will serve from the Canadian border to Saratoga, New York.
What sets LayerEight apart—in addition to its dedication and expertise—is its billing structure. “We come in with an all-inclusive package,” explained Marking. “This makes business goals more aligned, and makes us an extension of a customer’s IT team. They can call us at any time, and know they will not incur additional charges. We give our customers peace of mind so they can focus on what they do best: growing their business.”
THE HISTORY OF CHAMPLAIN TELEPHONE COMPANY
On September 24, 1903, Maurice Knapp, Orin Southwick, and A.B. Spellman strung their own wire on poles bought and milled in the local area. By the 1920s, party lines were in place. Direct distance dialing came in the 1960s. In the 1980s, they converted from an electricalmechanical system to one that was fully automated. At that time, they introduced speed dialing, call forwarding, and call waiting. The 1990s brought dial-up internet service with a 100% fiber optic backbone. Today, CTC remains a family business with third- and fourth-generation family members actively involved with the company.
As their services increase and evolve to meet the demands of an ever changing, post-pandemic world, the name has been changed to Champlain Technology Group (CTG).
12A Booth Drive
Plattsburgh, NY 12901