Case Studies

Network Controls & Electric Inc.

Turnkey Communication Networks and Technology Infrastructure

David Clyborne founded a small electrical contractor business in Greenville, S.C., in 1990, which has grown and diversified for more than two decades. In 1996, with the boom of voice and data technology, the company broke into information cable work, becoming Network Controls & Electric Inc. (Network Controls).

In the years since, Network Controls has evolved through several ownerships. Initially, the company maintained roughly 70 percent of its business in electrical work. A decade later, that ratio shifted, and in 2006, only an estimated 30 percent of revenue was coming from electrical contracts.

Soon thereafter, the electrical division was sold back to Clyborne. Today, Network Controls performs only structured-cabling design and installation under the ownership of Edward Niles.

Niles proudly works alongside a resilient management team, which includes Tony Troiano, sales and marketing director for Network Controls, who has been with the company since 2009 and has a background in finance. Troiano entered the voice and data industry almost by accident, taking a sales job after college. His accumulative experience, however, offers the business unique insight into the market.

Making Connections

Network Controls specializes in the education, health care, commercial and industrial sectors, providing design and installation services to help businesses and local governments connect to data systems.

“A major part of our business is structured cabling,” Troiano explains. “We install entire networking infrastructures that allow servers and computers and networks to run. Our cable work sends information back to data centers or IT closets, depending on our client’s size. We run all of the copper and fiber to get a network up to the needed standards of our customers.”

The team works in a number of markets within the commercial and industrial sectors. “We do a lot of work for health care, education and heavy industrial customers,” Troiano notes. “We also have a few retail clients, namely Verizon. We have installed some of its stores, running all the connections to all of its displays and monitors. Being a disabled veteran-owned company, we have a number of military contracts, working throughout the Carolinas and down into Georgia.”

Moreover, Network Controls works as a subcontractor less than half of the time. “A general contractor will sub out a portion of work to an electrical contractor who will sub out our portion to us,” Troiano elaborates. “Our higher end clients often want a more hands-on approach, so we work on a direct contract for them. More than 50 percent of our contracts are directly through a company’s CIO or IT department.”

A Growing Portfolio

The company’s proximity to the BMW manufacturing plant in Greer means that a large amount of the team’s work comes through related business. Network Controls recently completed a two-year design-build project for ZF Transmissions, a German manufacturer that provides automotive parts for a number of automotive partners across the world.

“We worked with them closely to determine cable specifications for bandwidth,” Troiano recounts. “Because it is a transmission plant, there are a lot of concerns about the electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference jumping to the copper. We had to eliminate that interference. We are now in the process of helping to design phase two for that facility, connecting the remainder of the 1 million-square-foot facility. That has been a particularly meaningful project for us because often, the large contractors who perform these projects bring in outside work. The general contractor on the ZF Transmission project elected to utilize local labor and that means a lot for the community.”

Troiano and his team earned an award in fall 2013 for a particular standout project. InnoVision Awards, an award program that distinguishes businesses that set new standards for innovation in business development, recognized Network Controls as the recipient of the 2013 InnoVision Community Service Award. The award was given for Network Controls’ installation of 90 percent of a single-mode fiber system for a 626-mile service area in Rural Oconee County.

“We installed this fiber ring to connect all of the county’s government buildings and bring fiber-optics to the homes in the region,” Troiano details.

Managing Market Changes

The recent economic downturn slowed the construction industry for several years. Despite a downward slope in business, Troiano and his crew have been able to endure the rough times.

“We spend a lot of time fostering personal relationships with our clients,” he explains. “Even when work is slow, we get together with many of our clients to golf, or hunt or head over to the NASCAR Experience. When they get busy, they remember us. We do not buy their business; we get to know each other. We try and keep, and develop, our relationships.”

Now that the market is gaining momentum, robust relationships have allowed Network Controls to snap back into action. The crew has a number of unique projects in the near future, including the fiber backbone for a renovation at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

Troiano credits the success of each and every project to his professional team. “Our record speaks for itself,” he says. “We have a qualified team and repeat clients.” These factors will continue to push the business through development and growth in the coming years. Troiano and Niles have plans to expand internally, increasing margins through existing service lines. As Network Controls & Electric Inc. approaches 25 years in business, the team continues to offer leading performance and innovation in the voice and data cabling industry.

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