Monday, October 19, 2020

YOUR ESSENTIAL FIBER TOOLS FOR THE MOST ESSENTIAL WORK OF THE PANDEMIC

 

With the current climate of densifying fiber networks, the amount of technicians that need to be equipped and trained comes with a price tag. Comstar Supply can help manage the impact of the Capex that you’ll need to invest as well as coordinating the right amount of training to get them out on the job.

Comstar is pleased to announce a partnership with Technity Solutions and their line of Canyon Fiber Optic Test and Deployment Solutions. Where speed to market and costs need to be limited, Comstar and Technity can supply technicians with fast delivery and high-quality gear with prices that will fit into even the most stringent budgets.

Technity Solutions is a multinational technology company supplying products that innovate and optimize communication networks through solutions ranging from access system solutions, customer premise equipment, OEM/ODM arrangements, and active/passive commu-
nication components. We also provide high caliber installation materials for access networks, wireless networks, optical networks, corporate and private networks, data center and cloud environments, physical plant, and MDU solutions.

Viavi Solutions also stepped up with significant cost reductions on the most essential gear for deploying fiber rich mobile networks and residential services fast enough to keep up with the Zoom video conference onslaught during this pandemic. Up to 57% off MSRP of select OTDRs, Power Meters, Scopes and other essential equipment that should be in every technician’s toolbox. 
These savings are available for a limited time, so be sure to stock up and take advantage of the Section179.org tax relief for 2020.

Jonard has kept busy during the pandemic with several exciting new tool releases for fiber optic technicians. The CableSaberTM AST-200 tool for mid-spanning armored cable has an improved design for greater handling and leverage compares to previous armored cable shealth slitters. It also has a wide range for cable capacity from 0.157" to 1.125".

If you haven’t started using rollable ribbon cable yet, it may be in your near future. The new RFS-100 tool assists with safely and quickly separating the intermittently bonded ribbons for greater speed when mid-spanning and conducting single fusion operation with rollable ribbon.

Contact a Comstar Supply Sales Representative today for more information on all of these great cost saving options.

MANUFACTURER HIGHLIGHT - TECHNITY

 

Technity Solutions, a premier communications network solution supplier, is pleased to announce that Comstar Supply has been added as an authorized value-added distributor for the United States.

"Signing on as a Techity Solutions value-added distributor, Comstar has the opportunity to enhance our product portfolio to include extensive Fiber Optic Deployment/Installations solutions that will benefit the many customers we serve now and well into the future, said Comstar Product Manager Matt Brice. "Now, more than ever, we're seeing the need for a second wave of product innovations to support the broadband expansion efforts that are occurring across the country."

“We look forward to working with Comstar Supply to sell and distribute Technity Solutions products in the United States,” said Jeff Mulqueen, VP of Sales and Business Development, Technity Solutions. “With terrific sales, service, and logistical capabilities focused on markets and applications that our products are made for, Comstar Supply has the experience and expertise to provide customers with that one stop shop approach for all their broadband project supply needs.”

About Comstar Supply

Comstar Supply, Inc., was founded in 1994 with the goal of providing the communications industry with the necessary materials and tools to successfully complete projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. Through its Collegeville, PA, and Raleigh, NC, facilities, the company serves a diverse customer base that includes telephone and electric utilities, CATV companies, CLEC local/long haul fiber-optic companies providing combined internet, telephone, and CATV services. Further information about the company can be found at www.comstarsupply.com.

About Technity Solutions Inc

Technity Solutions is a multinational technology company supplying products that innovate and optimize communication networks through solutions ranging from access system solutions, customer premise equipment, OEM/ODM arrangements, and active/passive communication components. We also provide high caliber installation materials for access networks, wireless networks, optical networks, corporate and private networks, data center and cloud environments, physical plant, and MDU solutions.

MEET COMSTAR’S CANDES SPENCER


Candes Spencer joined Comstar earlier this year as an Outside Sales Manager to help grow our business in the Southeast. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting or talking with Candes, we sat down with Candes for a quick Q&A.

Q: How did you get into telecom or outside plant distribution?


A: My husband worked at Prysmian Group (formerly Alcatel) and I worked at Frye Hospital. He said come to work with me in the Fiber plant on your days off. So, I started working at Alcatel in the fiber plant running. I was splicing fiber daily. Then eventually I found a passion for fiber optics and I went on to an Inside Sales position and eventually Outside Sales.

Q: How and when did you join Comstar?  

A: I joined Comstar January 1, 2020. Yes, I said it 2020. And what a year it has been! Comstar and their love for family gave me the chance to move back to North Carolina to be closer to family.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the best thing about working at Comstar?

A: By far the people! Chad Punchard and his mentality that we are one big family, has rubbed off on every single individual here. When you are in the trenches, there is nobody I would rather be there with than this Comstar family. We look out for each other and listen to each other’s voices. I have learned that every person here has a unique story. And our uniqueness is what brings us together. And at the heart of the company is a passion for goodness that I have never witnessed before.

Q: What would you say about your customers?

A: I have some of the best and brightest customers in the industry! They work hard both at work, and home to take care of their families.  My customers enjoy working with people they feel are going to take care of them when they need it.  They advocate for their companies and their customers. They want the best possible experience they can have to be able to get services rendered for their company. They are efficient and savvy to the processes that make this happen.

Q: What would your customers say about you?

A: She values honesty and Integrity. Her family is very important to her. And she may not always know the answer but is willing to go the extra mile, to use internal or external resources to get an answer and keep them happy.

Q: You’re very involved within the industry. If I were building out your business card it would include things like panel moderator, virtual trade show participant, podcast guest, tradeshow panelist – and I haven’t even mentioned sales yet! How did you become so involved in the industry?

A: I have always been truly passionate in advocating broadband to every community!  But even more as I watched my son grow older and I saw many of his friends graduating college and moving off because they could go to bigger cities which had greater advancements in broadband and getting higher-paying wages. I feel that in today’s society, broadband is essential to all people in their everyday walk of life! And sadly, most people don’t even fully understand the actual definition of broadband. 

I have always felt the more I can educate people on broadband's benefits to their community the more likely they are to vote and push lawmakers to help fund new initiatives. In my heart, I believe that unless some of the rural areas get access to the Internet in their communities they will never grow. Also, I started at a time in the industry when there weren’t very many women advocates for broadband and so I think it is important to use my platform any way I can to further the fiber-optic broadband story.

 

Q: I know one of your passions is being an active parent and role model for your daughter and son. I hear your son was a pretty impressive baseball player. And your daughter is a pretty impressive Volleyball player. Care to mom-brag and give me a baseball and volleyball story?

A: My son is now 27 and a graduate from Appalachian State University. He was recently married to his long-time girlfriend. But my favorite thing of being his mom was watching his love for the sport of baseball - and now he is coaching at our local High School. His love for the game is contagious.  My daughter on the other hand is my mini me. She is the Libro on her team and she says her favorite thing in volleyball is when the hitter goes up to hit a hard spike at her.  She said she watches which way they are going to move their shoulders, and then gages where the ball is going. Her favorite comment is, “the harder they hit the more fun it is to see their face when I dig it up.”

Q: I also know you recently moved from Tennessee back to your original hometown in North Carolina. So, do you bleed Carolina blue or Tennessee orange?

A: I have and will always bleed Carolina Tarheel Blue inside and out when it comes to college basketball. But after living in the land of SEC college football it was definitely an experience I grew to love. So, Good Old Rocky Top Orange has become ingrained in my heart. I pull for them in everything including Basketball, as long as they aren’t playing Carolina!

Combat Heat Stress with Sword Performance


Heat stress is a silent killer prevalent in many settings and can take its toll on workers in the blink of an eye.

The key is to remember that there are easy ways to combat heat stress and to ensure workers safety from the inside out.  We are taught to wear hard hats for head protection, steel toe shoes for foot protection, and safety glasses for eye protection, but what about our internal systems?  Workers can combat heat stress before their shift ever begins by following a few easy steps.

What is Heat Stress or Heat Fatigue?

Heat stress is a form of thermic/thermal stress that occurs when a person is exposed to high temperatures, usually from environmental sources. Common causes include hot weather, high humidity, living or working in proximity to heat sources, strenuous physical activities performed in a hot environment, whether indoors or outdoors. Symptoms of heat stress include profuse sweating, thirst as a first sign of dehydration followed by difficulty focusing or performing various tasks, fatigue, muscle cramps, overheating sensation, increased heart rate and ultimately loss of consciousness/fainting.

Mental fatigue can be a result of heat stress and can lead to workers becoming complacent or disoriented.  Workers who are mentally fatigued have a hard time focusing on tasks which could lead to accidents and injuries in the workplace. 

Finding a solution that is right for the employees should be started by writing a solid heat stress plan.  Understanding the working conditions, ambient temperatures, and stress on the body are all factors that should be explored.  Also, providing the workforce with a product that protects from the inside out can help tremendously. 

We have found that many products offered in the industrial market currently are loaded with artificial chemicals and sugar that the body has a hard time filtering.  This can complicate the issues with heat stress rather than offering a solution.

Sword Performance has come into the industrial market with a new and innovative product.  Sword has zero artificial sweeteners and is all natural which allow the workers a healthy solution for hydration.  Companies can feel confident when they offer this type of product that their worker will be well protected.

For more information about Sword Performance, please contact your OSR or email Joe Rooney, National Account Manager – Sword Performance for Comstar at [email protected]. 

Comstar Supply Focuses on Giving Back

 


“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
~ Arthur Ashe

Over the last eight years, Comstar Supply, as well as the entire Punchard family, have placed an importance on giving back to the community.

Each year, the company participates in a number of annual programs such as a Thanksgiving appeal for our local Collegeville, PA, community, and the Salvation Army Give-A-Gift Angel Tag Program, to name a few. We’ve also run two incredibly successful golf tournaments in honor of our founder, Earl Punchard, with all proceeds directed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

This year our commitment to giving seems even more important given the uncertainty we are all facing due to the pandemic. Over the past three months, the entire Comstar family has come together to support organizations focused on assisting families.

In August, Comstar delivered food, cleaning supplies, self-care, and infant items to the Daily Bread (PA) FoodPantry. It was the culmination of a weeks-long, internal team building event where we donated more than 520 pounds of goods to area families in need.

Last month, the company participating in the CHOP Parkway Virtual Run fundraiser. Throughout September, employees gathered donations to help support the hospital in their effort to better understand childhood cancer and develop new treatments – all with the goal of finding a cure.

And in October, the company made a corporate donation to A Better Chance, an organization whose goal is to change the life trajectory of academically talented youth of color in grades 6-12 through access to rigorous and prestigious educational opportunities.

“I’m incredibly proud of not only the business we continue to build, but also our philanthropic work that helps benefit others,” commented Comstar President Chad Punchard.

OFF THE TOP

 

Well, it’s been 8 months, 8 long months of mask-wearing and practicing social distancing. I can tell you what we miss most is the normalcy of having a travel schedule and visiting with customers.

Although the work and orders continue, and quite frankly the broadband industry adapted quickly to this “new normal,” there is something to be said about having that personal connection.

I hope you agree that we’re doing the best we can to continue to foster those connections despite the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 in our lives. In my opinion, the Comstar Supply team has been able to translate our customer first, service at all cost mentality to the virtual world – and I hope you’ve experienced that in your dealings with us. 

However, we still can’t be there in person today but are always at the ready to support our customers. In fact, what we’re focusing on now is making sure everyone is prepared for the next 6-9 months of network builds because we’re hearing from manufacturers is that demand for all OSP product is increasing.

That’s an easy concept to understand when you think about carriers continuing to densify their networks and build more miles with higher fiber counts to accommodate small cell and IoT. Wireless carriers expanding 5G rollouts in earnest. And fiber-to-the-home providers experiencing tremendous network growth as more community’s grapple with the digital divide.

On top of that, outside forces such as the unrelenting storms in the Southeast and Southwest that took a toll. The impact in Texas was significant, which negatively affects the production of resin, and in turn products like fiber optic cable and innerduct. Fortunately, we’ve ramped up stock levels of popular products like strand, fiber, conduit, and boxes, for our customers.

Like most of you, throughout the turmoil of Covid-19, we’ve worked long, hard hours, undermanned in the office, and navigated it all with the same Comstar attitude of caring for our customers.  It has been an amazing thing to watch, but at some point, I hope our schedules become more than just Zoom meetings.

This crazy, unimaginable year 2020, I am extremely grateful for everything that we’ve accomplished together over the last 8 months, and I look forward to the wonderful things yet unaccomplished.

Thank you for your continued business and trust.

Stay safe.

 

Chad

Thursday, May 28, 2020

OFF THE TOP



Like most of you, during the past 9 weeks while social distancing to combat COVID-19, I now stand back (from 6 ft or more) and marvel at how the entire telecommunications industry was able to quickly and seamlessly adapt to a rapidly changing work environment.

As many of you have seen from my messages over the last couple of months, here at Comstar Supply our first priority is the protection and health of our employees and customers. During this time, we created a dedicated COVID-19 team that meets nearly daily as we continue to implement new precautions into our work life. Hopefully, by the time you read this, we’ll have some of the limitations lifted by local government and pivot to allowing more employees back into the office with strict guidelines so that all of us remain safe and healthy.

While it’s still too early to tell if all of these safety measures become the norm, I know for us here at Comstar Supply, we're making permanent changes in how we build our operations. My team is now more focused than ever on modeling customer demand, production, supply chain and logistics, to better serve our customers. We are fully committed to information sharing and keeping vendors, partners and customers updated on market trends and conditions. And we’ve increased our stock levels and feel no other distribution partner can match our one-day delivery of essential outside plant material.

As our industry begins to ramp up build projects, Comstar Supply is there for our customers at a moment’s notice. We understand you are looking for increased support in this time of change and uncertainty. Our goal is to provide that by providing a customer experience unlike any other, focusing on the tenants of product fulfillment, on-time logistics, 100% order accuracy, and a laser-focused approach to information sharing and service.

With that, this quarter’s theme for our digital newsletter is safety and personal protection equipment (PPE). We’ve certainly experienced an increase in demand for products like signage, masks, sanitizer, and wearable PPE, and so we’re highlighting a few of those products in this newsletter. You can also read more about our exclusive partnership with Sword Performance, which is a specially-formulated, drinkable PPE for workers with high stress or high heat jobs.

A lot of exciting news continues to pour out of Comstar Supply. However, we miss the face-to-face engagement with you, our customers. We miss the personal interaction. We miss the laughs and good times. We miss the bad golf shots and long for the good ones. It is my sincere hope that some time this summer there is a return to a sense of normalcy that will allow for us to spend valuable time together.

Until then, stay connected with us. Reach out to your sales manager, or inside sales rep, or even myself, with comments, questions, concerns – or even just to say hi. It’s these personal connections that will carry us through the difficult times.

Thank you for your continued business and trust.

Stay safe.


Chad