DONCO, LLC RECEIVES TWO BEST PLACES TO WORK RECOGNITIONS

Two major St. Louis publications recently recognized Edwardsville-based Donco, LLC on their lists of Top Places to Work. The St. Louis Business Journal released their Best Places to Work list earlier this year and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s list of 2019 Top Workplaces was released this week.

Donco, LLC Chairwoman and CEO, Candice Fowler, said the award highlights the company’s focus on community and employee engagement. “We’ve always strived to make our employees feel valued and like they are part of a cohesive team,” said Fowler. “We’re fortunate that quite a few of our members have been with us for decades. For a large company, maintaining that sense of family and a comfortable working environment was important to us, especially as we’ve continued to grow.”

Over 250 nominations were submitted for the St. Louis Business Journal’s Best Places to Work Awards and 150 companies made the cut as finalists. To enter, participating companies and their employees completed surveys which measured communication, management structure, benefits, teamwork and several other factors. Grouped by size, the companies were then ranked based on being employee-friendly workplaces.

Donco, LLC ranked No. 13 out of 55 finalists in the midsize employer category on The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Top Workplaces 2019 list, which is based on the survey responses of more than 44,000 people. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture including alignment, execution and connection.

 

DONCO, LLC RECEIVES BEST PLACES TO WORK RECOGNITION

DONCO, LLC RECEIVES BEST PLACES TO WORK RECOGNITION
Company Makes St. Louis Business Journal’s List of Best Places to Work.

(EDWARDSVILLE- Ill., March 8) Donco, LLC was recently selected for the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2019 Best Places to Work list.

Over 250 nominations were submitted for the Best Places to Work Awards, and 85 companies made the cut as finalists. To enter, participating companies and their employees completed surveys which measured communication, management structure, benefits, teamwork, and several other factors. Grouped by size, the companies were then ranked based on being employee-friendly workplaces.

Donco, LLC Chairwoman and CEO, Candice Fowler, said the award highlights the company’s focus on community and employee engagement. “We’ve always strived to make our employees feel valued and like they are part of a cohesive team. We’re fortunate that quite a few of our members have been with us for decades. For a fairly large company, maintaining that sense of family and a comfortable working environment was important to us, especially as we’ve continued to grow,” said Fowler.

Donco, LLC is a woman-owned firm serving Illinois and the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. It also recently received a world-class certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and ranks No. 26 on the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of 50 fastest-growing private companies and 17 on the publication’s list of largest woman-owned businesses.

Donco LLC launches new gas construction services division focused on service and safety

EDWARDSVILLE – Metro East utility design, information technology and meter services company, Donco LLC, is broadening its services to include gas construction.

The new division will focus on services such as gas pipeline construction, gas leak repair, design services and employee training. Donco LLC, Chairwoman and CEO, Candice Fowler, said the company decided to start the new division after realizing it was an area where local options and expertise were in short supply. They plan to provide more jobs for local contract workers and help keep construction dollars in the Metro East and St. Louis.

“We recognized that there are hardly any contractors in our immediate region offering gas construction services,” said Fowler. “We brought in a gas industry expert, Ed Scott, who worked to develop qualifications, best practices and training videos used by the American Gas Association (AGA) and Midwest Energy Association (MEA) today. Expanding our services to fill that gap made sense to us. Not only are we going to help businesses get more jobs done locally, our experts will also be able to ensure that best practices and safety standards are being met.”

Gas Operations Superintendent Ed Scott has spent 45 years working in the gas construction industry. Over that time, he has worked in every position from an entry level service laborer, journeyman, foreman and eventually administrator who trains others on gas construction safety practices. Scott will lead a team of other highly trained gas construction services professionals with a wide range of expertise.

“What makes our gas division so unique is that we offer turnkey solutions for large construction projects. Not only will we design and electronically map the project through Donco’s Utility Design Services company, we will also build it with well trained, local workers,” said Scott. “Companies will not only be able to spend less money transporting equipment and workers in from out of state, they’ll have the benefit of dealing with just one company for projects, rather than several.”

Donco Receives Distinguished Certification as Woman-Owned Business

Donco, LLC recently received a world-class certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. WBENC is the largest national certifier of women-owned businesses in the United States and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. The organization’s goal is to fuel economic growth globally by identifying, certifying and facilitating the development of women-owned businesses.WBENC certification validates that the business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. Donco, LLC is a 100 percent woman-owned company.

To achieve WBENC certification, woman-owned businesses must complete a stringent documentation and site visit process. Out of the more than 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, only 15 thousand are able to achieve WBENC certification. WBENC certification gives women-owned businesses the ability to compete for real-time business opportunities provided by WBENC corporate members and government agencies.

“This certification will give us a competitive advantage in developing new business opportunities throughout the country,” said Donco Chairwoman and CEO Candice Fowler. “Not only is our company woman-owned, three of our top executive leaders are also women. As a company that specializes in information technology, meter services, gas distribution construction and electrical design services, we are proud to excel in an industry typically dominated by men. We’re honored to receive this certification and are confident that it will help set our company apart in the future.”

Donco, LLC is a woman-owned firm serving Illinois and the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. It was recently ranked No. 26 on the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of 50 fastest-growing private companies and 17th on the publication’s list of largest woman-owned businesses.

Donco has over 300 employees in four divisions: metering services and gas distribution construction (https://donco.co/), information technology (Fowler Technology Services), electrical design (Utility Design Services), and management services (Fowler Management Services).

For more information about Donco, LLC go to https://donco.co/ or call Brett Angelico at 618-797-5299.

Donco Ranked as one of St. Louis Area’s Fastest Growing Companies

Donco Electrical Construction, LLC has ranked #26 on the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of 50 fastest-growing private companies. Donco, a woman-owned NWBOC certified company, has seen tremendous revenue growth attributed to additional services the company offers. Donco’s diverse services include IT support, utility engineering, automated meter installation, fleet services, and specialized construction accounting.

The company added 100 new employees and increased revenue 126% from 2017 to 2018, giving Donco its most successful and profitable year. Candice Fowler, Chairman and CEO stated, “I am very proud to lead our growing, diverse organization. Our growth has been possible because of the hardworking, dedicated, and dynamic employees we have on our team. I also sincerely appreciate every relationship that we have built with customers old and new. I look forward to continued success for years to come.”Donco, the only Edwardsville-based company to make the list, has over 300 employees in four divisions: Metering Services, Fowler Technology Services, Utility Design Services, and Fowler Management Services.

Hyperconverged Architecture for Small and Medium Business

We meet with customers faced with server refresh projects or the need to add storage on a daily basis. Few customers have missed the increasing prevalence of hyperconvergence (HC) in the marketplace. Major players in the HC infrastructure market include HPE SimpliVity, Dell/EMC XC Series and VxRail, Cisco HyperFlex, and Nutanix, among others. The idea behind HC is that today’s servers can be equipped to function not just as “computers,” but also as other traditional datacenter components, such as the enterprise storage and datacenter networking subsystems sold separately in traditional systems. There are huge potential benefits to be had for many customers.

  1. All the components of a HC system are designed, tested and supported together. Most are packaged with software that dramatically simplifies the management and monitoring of servers and storage. As a result of this integration and simplification, HC systems may not require a storage administrator or network specialist to perform day-to-day activities and maintenance. The increased simplicity and manageability can result in a tremendous reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
  2. As the datacenter begins to scale, HC systems easily grow by adding additional units almost like “building blocks.” Each node contains all the processing power, memory, storage, and network capacity that is required to expand the overall system by a specified amount. Not only are these building blocks quick and relatively simple to install and integrate, but they offer business a great deal of agility in budgeting for and executing upgrades and expansion.

Are there disadvantages? There may be.

  1. Hyperconverged systems emphasize stability, which is a very good thing for business. But the need to test, integrate, and develop management tools for all components at once means that sometimes systems may not be based on the fastest components or the absolute latest hypervisor versions currently available.
  1. The major performance challenge is I/O throughput. Because of the high level of integration, internal bandwidth that once was dedicated strictly to virtual machine workloads is shared with storage and networking tasks. Server and storage workloads, in particular, must be planned and carefully balanced.
  1. Vendor lock-in is inevitable for the life of a hyperconverged system. Growing businesses who want to leverage their investment will want to continue adding nodes, and that can mean long-lasting ties to one particular manufacturer for expansion and technical support.
  1. HC systems don’t allow the granularity of hardware upgrades found in traditional systems. For instance, expanding storage (or any component) in a HC system can require the installation of an entire computing building block, with processors, memory, networking and disk. This can be costly in situations with very particular needs (for instance, a business that needs a high level of compute and memory, but very little storage). HC is often best utilized for applications where the demand growth is more or less linear across all datacenter components.

The majority of potential disadvantages to hyperconvergence are easily addressed during the planning and design stages of a datacenter refresh. Fowler Technology Services takes a business-first, customer-focused approach to datacenter engineering. We work with clients to understand their business, their existing workloads, their IT competencies, and plans for future growth. We then engineer a bespoke vendor-agnostic solution for the customer, whether it be an HC solution from one of our hyperconverged partners, or a traditional datacenter design with discrete servers, storage, and other components. Both HC and traditional solutions can be turnkey, paired with our best-of-breed managed services for customers who value the ultimate in support and security; we are also glad to work on a project basis with customers for assessments, engineering, procurement and/or deployment services. Nothing gives Fowler Technology Services more satisfaction than delivering solutions that not just meet, but greatly exceed, customers’ expected return on investment.

—Jared A. Faulkner, Director of Information Technology

Fowler Technology Services, a Donco company

Business Wins with IT Best Practice

One reason many IT companies have low customer satisfaction and high churn rates is that they do not embrace sound service management practices, particularly ITIL® processes and best practices. ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. It is a framework that technology organizations can use to help customers realize transformation and growth. Fowler Technology Services trains employees using ITIL principles, and has a senior manager with the coveted ITIL Expert certification. This gives us a unique perspective on the relationship between business and IT service provider. Take these examples:

  1. Quality IT services must focus on delivering value to the customer. The alignment of our services with the customer’s business strategy is the key to our success.
  2. A customer-centric strategy doesn’t need to cost more than run-of-the-mill service, but a high degree of business knowledge and proven best practices must be woven into the service provider’s DNA.
  3. One size does not fit all with respect to technology services. Services should be designed and tailored to the customer’s needs.
  4. Customers have a right to total clarity in service delivery, including a well-defined scope of work, clear service and process roles, and open communication.
  5. Both the costs and benefits of technology should be plainly visible to the customer through regular service level reviews and outcome assessments.
  6. Business risks inherent in technology are immense, and the stakes are high. The service provider must be prepared—both trained and equipped—to bear and/or mitigate risks for customers to reduce expense and exposure.
  7. The key to successful service delivery is the management of change. Careful design, planning, testing, management and documentation of change throughout the service lifecycle is critical to achieving technology objectives.
  8. Automation of routine background processes creates rapid return. Small and large businesses alike benefit from automation, freeing the most valuable resources—people—to focus on “big picture” organizational goals.
  9. By combining IT services (such as managed service for workstations and servers, firewall maintenance, security cameras, and telephone service and support) under one IT service agreement, the entire organization can benefit from tighter integration of services, end-to-end change management and quality control, and a single point of contact dedicated to the customer’s technical success.
  10. Good enough is not good enough. Continual service improvement based on specific metrics and key performance indicators adds value, improves stability, and builds increased satisfaction year after year, leading to lasting bonds with customers.

As we begin our work with clients moving from less customer-focused service providers, we repeatedly find that by aligning with the business—partnering with customers to accomplish their goals—we can optimize performance and provision of technology resources, give greater visibility to IT costs (revealing and eliminating waste), introduce stability into fragile environments, and consistently exceed customer expectations. That is why we do not ask customers “What can we sell you?” Instead we ask, “Where are you now and where do you want to be?” Our cooperative and collaborative approach let us put our knowledge and experience to work to accomplish customer goals, wherever and whenever we’re needed.

—Jared A. Faulkner, Director of Information Technology

Fowler Technology Services, a Donco company