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Wendy Reuer, Published September 21 2012

Fargo IT company prides itself on low employee turnover, meeting customer needs

FARGO - The technology industry changes quickly with upgrades and new models arriving at lightning speeds.

The go-go world of innovation means there’s also frequent employee turnover at technology companies.

But Fargo-based Network Center Inc. has not only retained the core mission it began with 26 years ago, its core employees have remained nearly as long.

Of the current 50 employees, 10 percent have been with the company for more than 15 years, 24 percent have been with Network Center more than 10 years and 52 percent have been with the company more than five years, said Angie Ryan, marketing director.

“People move faster than companies do, is usually what happens,” said Brad Maczkowicz, director of business development for the company at 3487 S. University Drive.

The average tenure of employees who stick with the same employer in the technical services industry is just a little more than four years, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Network Center touts the experience of its long-term employees and the variety of services it offers.

It provides IT support, service and consulting to about 600 businesses, most in the tri-state area but also in 10 other states.

“Really, we solve technology problems,” said Brett Anderson, senior consultant and solution architect. “We help companies enable themselves to work with their customers.”

Clients range from small startup companies to the largest in the Red River Valley, Maczkowicz said. Services depend on a client’s needs, such as helping set up servers or creating applications that allow companies to work better with their customers.

“Technology solutions are all encompassing,” sales manager Steve Stenerson said. “Advisement is the critical role that we play from how to use the traditional network to integrating an iPad or other applications.”

Maczkowicz said as the new generation of employees enters the workforce well-versed in smartphones or tablets such as the iPad, Network Center must be prepared with the knowledge and expertise to deal with them.

“Ten people at the business get a new iPad or phone and the employers are saying, ‘How do I make them more productive with that?’ ” Maczkowicz said.

While upgrades and new technology are welcome, one of the challenges is separating the fluff in the widgets and gadgets from what can be used in the business.

“We have to be experts in that,” Anderson said.

Network Center offers the only Apple-certified network consultants in the region. Stenerson said providing guidance and expertise are priorities.

Shane Underdahl, IT manager for Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, has worked with Network Center for about seven years. He has been at Bethany for four years and worked with the company while in a former position.

He relies heavily on Network Center at Bethany for network support and phone support.

“I have the vision of what I want to do here, and I contact them and put the project plan in place and go forward with it,” Underdahl said.

He said not only is it important to him to have a local company to rely on, but employees who he can build a relationship with over time.

“It’s extremely important, if someone knows my network or knows what I want over years and that person leaves, it becomes very difficult to get that person up to speed,” Underdahl said. “It’s probably the most important thing that there’s not a lot of turn over.”

Network Center continues to expand, adding 10 employees this year with a plan to likely add five more before the end of 2012, Ryan said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530