The Welsh Wire: Stacey Hamlin of CTS Telecom
Millions of years ago, nimble mammals managed to survive beneath the feet of mighty dinosaurs. There are some parallels with today’s Michigan telecom industry, where family-owned CTS Telecom has thrived amidst big company behemoths. How did they do it? By taking calculated risks and not being afraid to fail.
“Of course, that’s a big deal, because we’re dealing in technology,” says Stacey Hamlin, CTS Telecom president and CEO. “And a lot of it is getting on the right horse, and making sure that you’re choosing the right path.”
“You cross your fingers sometimes, but you do try to do a lot of due diligence and research and see what the industry is doing. And you have good people on your team that can weed through all that stuff and help you choose. That’s why it’s calculated, I guess,” Hamlin says.
CTS Telecom, which serves west Michigan with Internet, voice, data transport and IT solutions, has been operating since 1911. Hamlin’s grandfather bought the company in 1949. “My whole family worked there. My mom worked there. And my brothers and I would work there in the summers. So it was kind of a family affair. But to be honest, I didn’t really think that I was going to work there as an adult. It really wasn’t in my plans.”
After college and a career out-of-state, a professional opportunity brought her and her husband back to Kalamazoo. She engaged with the family company, worked her way up through the ranks and became President and CEO in 2014. “It was one of those things where I was trying to fight it, I think a little, but then as I was learning more about the business, I thought this could be interesting, right?”
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