TBL Comes Full Circle
TBL has come full circle. Yes, we have led the convergence of Cisco voice applications and virtualization with our Unified Communications and Data Center practices. Yes, we were the first to integrate Cisco TelePresence video to WebEx Meeting Center for fully integrated collaborative virtual meetings. But I am talking about really getting back to our roots, to where it all began. TBL has now installed a Cisco phone system for a client in the building where TBL was born.
In late 2006, the three soon-to-be founders of TBL realized that the others were also having entrepreneurial thoughts of breaking out on their own to create a new Cisco Value Added Reseller. Alan Sears, David Cantwell, and Patrick Tredway decided to meet over dinner to discuss the possibility of a joint partnership. As David lives in Charlottesville, the three chose The Hardware Store, a staple of the Charlottesville downtown mall area. Just off the bricks that pave the pedestrian-only Main Street, The Hardware Store was a typical American bar and grill. One of the large booths off to the side was the perfect setting for the three to map out their plans. A napkin documented the ideas brainstormed by the engineers on what would be required to start a new company from scratch. Like Jerry McGuire’s Mission Statement, the three added to the list of ideals that this new organization would stand for, covering how it would support its client base and interact with its manufacturers. The trio agreed that for this to work for each of them, they wanted to create the “perfect Cisco Partner.” A few months later on March 29, 2007 TBL Networks, Inc. was founded and opened its doors for business.
Fast forward four years later. TBL Networks has 17 employees, has been the #1 provider of Cisco voice products to the commercial market in Virginia for the last two years, was named Cisco Collaboration Partner of the Year for 2010, and has 5 of the 7 Voice CCIEs in Central Virginia on staff. And this month, TBL installed a Cisco phone system to a client who now occupies the space that The Hardware Store used to inhabit. Sadly, The Hardware Store is no longer around, but TBL is strong and flourishing. It was truly a full circle moment when I attended a planning session in the main conference room our of new client and saw this sign still hanging on the outside of the building: