Communication Consulting Inc. Working through Growing Pains
Caruthers, Chrystal, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Chrystal Caruthers Daily Herald Business Writer
Name: John Meyer
Business: Communication Consulting Services Inc.
Revenue: $3.3 million
Philosophy: "If you're on your own, you can only make as much as you can build."
The world of consulting seems like the most lucrative next step for an experienced engineer seeking release from corporate confines. But it's not that easy.
Communication Consulting Services Inc. of Lombard is a prime example.
It was started by a former Motorola electrical engineer, John Meyer, who spent 10 years toiling for corporate fortunes, then left the comforts of big business to stake his own claim.
Meyer founded Communication Consulting Services in 1995 with $50,000 and dreams of exploiting the radio engineering market.
His plan was to help large telecommunications companies find sites for transmitters and also design network connectors. In the first year, business took off.
He hired six people within a few months and garnered more than $300,000 in the first partial year of business.
But the easy growth didn't last.
Though the company now has more than 25 employees, and has been profitable every year it's been in business, Meyer said his company is suffering through a "mini-recession" while the economy at large continues to prosper.
"This lull has forced us to get work in South America and Asia when we never really intended to," he said.
According to Meyer, the radio communications industry became stagnant when the Federal Communication Commission held up licensing agreements for a new band width. The government auctioned the rights to a new frequency, but companies seeking to use it are still litigating for that right, he said.
In the meantime, Meyer found work in Indonesia, where the economy has collapsed, causing riots. "We never got paid for that work, and probably never will," he said.
The failed overseas attempt and the lack of opportunity in radio engineering has led Meyer to find a new direction for the company. This year, the focus is on the Internet.
ADSL is the latest buzzword in the telecommunications industry. ADSL allows people to use their local telephone service for high speed data transmission over the Internet. With ADSL, the possibilities, Meyer said, are unlimited. People have the option of not just sending data, but also voice messages over the Internet.
"A couple of companies came up with faxing over the Internet with ADSL. I can't believe I didn't think of that," he said. …