We are celebrating a significant milestone in the history of WordSouth. It has been one year since we joined the Pioneer Utility Resources family. What does that mean for our clients, our team and the industries we serve?
One of the many elements that made our union a strong fit was the fact that PUR is a communications cooperative. WordSouth’s very first client, on New Year’s Day 1996, was an electric cooperative. By the end of that year, we were working alongside our first telephone cooperative.
We work with other types of businesses, but the cooperative spirit is ingrained in our DNA.
To now be owned by a cooperative feels like we’ve come home.
Not only are we aligned in our mission and focus, but we also continue to explore ways to bring WordSouth clients the benefits of cooperative ownership.
In early 2020, WordSouth was delivering quality communications programs to our clients. Likewise, Pioneer and ARC Media were providing exceptional standalone service and product offerings.
After Pioneer acquired ARC in March 2020, and then WordSouth at the end of June 2020, we began a journey of integrating three companies that, while similar, brought unique strengths, teams and geographies to the table.
In the year since, we have made tremendous progress toward identifying what makes us individually good and integrating it all so that we can be collectively great.
This means even better service for our clients — and it allows us to bring critical services to market for the industries we serve as they attempt to meet many challenges, old and new.
Evolving for A New Future
Business acquisitions take a long time. When we started the process, no one could have imagined how upside down our world would become in 2020. While the pandemic took a tremendous toll on our society, it also spotlighted challenges our country must address in order for its people to thrive (broadband being chief among these).
Unknowingly, we were building just the team that electric distributors and broadband providers need for such a time as this — a team that stretches across America and beyond, staffed with eager and talented people who are excited to help our clients help those they serve.
As these industries adapt to a new reality of market shifts and service demands, we are more ready than ever to support them.
My excitement for the future is shared by WordSouth’s team members.
Michele Smith, Design Director (25 years)
“I’ve really enjoyed working with people across all the PUR companies to unify our design efforts. Seeing design standards and workflows coordinated and adopted across the companies is personally fulfilling to me. Having worked with electrics and telcos for 25 years, I know these efforts will mean greater consistency and improved service for our clients — and the industries we serve as a whole.”
Jared Dovers, VP of Customer Experience (11 years)
“Integrating the operational aspects of three companies with different cultures, processes and procedures can be challenging. Yet, to a person, everyone has rolled up their sleeves to tackle the hard work of transforming us into a unified company meeting the critical needs of the markets we serve. As we continue to focus on the tools and workflows that make the organization function better, our clients will increasingly benefit.”
Kerry Scott, Director of Accounts (16 years)
“One of WordSouth’s strengths has always been our focus on knowing our clients and serving them at a deep level. Their mission is our mission, as we operate as an extension of their staff. At the core of that commitment is our account manager model, and I’m excited to see that model being adopted across the PUR and ARC client bases. As we become increasingly integrated, I believe our combined clients will see tremendous benefits from these efforts.”
Andy Johns, Director of Marketing (9 years)
“When we look around and think about it, we’ve really built a powerhouse here within our industry. Bringing together the skills, experience, processes and services of our teams allows us to help our friends at telcos and electric providers in ways that nobody else can. Our staff and our clients are definitely seeing some of the benefits that come from having a strong, stable and strategic combination like this.”
Serving with Passion
Besides looking forward, this milestone is a time of personal reflection for Michele and me. We started WordSouth on one contract and a prayer. We were just a few years into our marriage, with two small children depending on us. For two-and-a-half decades this was our livelihood. Being business owners was part of our identity. Our employees were like family. Many of our clients were (and are) dear friends.
The decision to become part of Pioneer was some two years in the making, and it was the hardest thing we had ever done. It was also one of the best things we have ever done. Every day we are thankful that joining the Pioneer family of companies has improved service for our clients, created new opportunities for our team and positioned us to have an impact on the industries we serve with a true passion.
It’s been one year, and the outcome is nothing short of outstanding.
I believe Michele and I speak for our entire company when we say we’re even more excited about what is yet to come.