50 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year 2018

An Interview with Holley Masch, 49er Communications, Inc. CEO: ‘I Have a Keen Sense of Vision, which Helps us Prepare for the Future’

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“We have gained a reputation for superior customer service, leading-edge product offerings and extensive knowledge to assist our customers.”

There is a wide range of commercial and recreational activities that depend on accurate, timely communication among individuals who can’t always remain in close proximity to one another.

Demands on cities, towns, provinces, and businesses such as manufacturing plants facilities, schools, hotels, golf courses and federal government agencies are always increasing. Critical two-way radio communications help coordinate staff and keep them safe.

49er Communications, Inc. is one of the largest single-site dealers of Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Equipment in the US. The company’s prime focus is the provision of portable and mobile radios to agencies of the Federal, state and local government, together with business and industry accounts across the United States and Canada.

The company specializes in Mission Critical response to public agency needs and is capable of fulfilling urgent requirements for communication equipment and accessories at much faster response times than typical of manufacturers.

49er Communications was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Nevada City, California.

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Holley Masch, 49er Communications, Inc.CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up?

I started the company out of necessity; I needed a job. When I first moved up to the foothills, I imagined finding employment in the Sacramento area. It was a tough job market in 1995 and after much effort, I found employment with a company selling two-way radios. The daily commute was more wearing than I had anticipated. At the time, I had two small children in daycare. Eventually, the company changed their compensation to commission only, which resulted in a pay decrease. I was six months pregnant with my third child; therefore it was not an ideal time to look for a new job. 49er Communications was conceived as a result.

Gold was discovered in 1849 in the foothills of Northern California. In 1997, 49er Communications was also conceived in the foothills of Northern California. The name was in part a reference and a tribute to the historic relevance of the 1849 Gold Rush.

Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

With all the professionalism of a desk in my bedroom, the first task was to establish 49er Communications as a dealer for some product lines. I was successful at becoming a Kenwood LMR and Nextel dealer. The next challenge was to put my sales skills to the test and find customers. I knocked on the doors of fire departments, farmers and businesses all throughout the valley. Additionally, I secured a web presence and built a website using Microsoft Publisher.

Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Based on prior work experience,I saw opportunities in the LMR (Land Mobile Radio) industry. I noticed a significant lack of customer service or genuine care for the end user. Most LMR shops were established by people with a technical electronics background. I approached it from a sales background with zero electronics or technical experience. My customer service approach was completely different and the response from consumers was extremely encouraging. Led by my intuition, I continued to note customer feedback and enhance their experience with 49er Communications. Over time we’ve developed our own quality product lines, Miner Mics, BigBoost Antennas and additional 49er Communications branded merchandise. A patent is pending on our latest product offering.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?

I was 29 when 49er Communications was established and wet behind the ears. My mother, who is a CPA, was very helpful. She taught me how to use QuickBooks, which was an important element in running my business. Not knowing anything but sales, there was much trial and error. I had to figure out how to be successful at getting orders, retaining customers for repeat business and there was no one way to do it. A desperation to succeed, willingness to fail, intention to learn and fortitude to never give up is my best advice.

Q. Building a culture of sustainability inside an organization is very important to maintain a reputation in the global market. How is it true for your company?

As the company expanded beyond just me, I was passionate about teaching employees the importance of customer care and responsiveness. Our company motto is NiTRiTS; it stands for Not Today, Right This Second. That is simply how we operate and customers are never taken for granted. Each customer is special to us, and we understand they are the essence of our survival and our sustainability.

Q. Is your company a leader or a follower?

49er Communications is an industry leader. We listen to our customers and pivot as required. Innovation and creativity are two of our greatest assets. Reinvesting in the business to keep pace with the market and staying one step ahead is a priority.

Q. Is it true that striving for both ethics and success in a business is a tough feat?

If you are not bound by morals, this could be challenging. My character has always been important to me. I believe in doing what you say you are going to do. That flows through my company. If we fall short, then we communicate. Our proactive approach to communication with customers relays our sincerity.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

I expect to see continued growth via venturing into additional vertical markets with our product offering. Moreover, I plan to expand our current product offering in each of our branded lines.

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Holley Masch, a Splendid Character: In Her Own Words

I am originally from Hayward, California. I received an Associate’s Degree from Chabot College and attended California State University Hayward. By the time I was 21, I was married and had my first child. Looking back, I was always an entrepreneur at heart. My endeavors included a lemonade and snow cone stand, a backyard carnival for the neighborhood kids, and a high school party with paid admission. My first job was at McDonalds. I held a variety of other jobs, including selling perfume and luggage in parking lots, to selling vinyl siding and windows and even working at Costco. Eventually, I obtained a sales position with Crystal Geyser Water Company as a Sales Representative. From there, I moved to a riskier proposition with a start-up company in San Francisco, which eventually went under. When I stopped getting paid, that was the catalyst to move from the Bay Area to Nevada City, CA where 49er Communications was born.

“Our core values come from the importance of integrity. We are genuine and authentic in our desire to do what is in the best interest of our customers.”

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