Comporium is special for many reasons. Many of those reasons began in the early days of the primary telephone companies that are now a part of Comporium. The families that founded and nourished the early growth of the telephone companies are still involved so, yes, family values are a core part of the culture at Comporium. The value of community service also began in the early days. Local people in local companies were providing telephone services to their family, friends and neighbors. The towns served were all relatively small and helping neighbors was an inherent part of the small town culture. Beginning in the early years and continuing today what was good for the community, was good for the telephone company. That’s certainly apparent today as Comporium as a company and, its employees as individuals, contribute to and provide many volunteer services to their respective communities.
Over the years I’ve worked for different companies that are now a part of Comporium. My first job was with Lancaster Telephone during summers in the mid-1960s. I worked in installation and repair along with a full-time employee. I got the choice jobs like putting on coveralls and crawling under houses to run inside wire; climbing through the rafters on a HOT summer day at the new Springs mill being built in Fort Lawn, helping to install a telephone system. One time I had to check the phones inside a house after we completed a repair and service was good as far as the connecting block on the side of the house. I went in and was told that the phone I needed to check was in their daughter’s bedroom! Well it was mid-morning, but the daughter was still sleeping. Her mother told me to go ahead. I did, quickly and quietly checked the phone and fled without waking the daughter! Telephone repairmen were quite ubiquitous and without wearing any photo ID badge were welcome anywhere. Everyone recognized the olive green trucks. Repairmen could be recognized by their tool belt and test set.
After the mid-1960s, and after college, graduate school, and military service I worked for some large companies in their computer and communications departments. I returned to Comporium in the mid-1990s and worked for Associated Data Services. ADS developed and supported software that supported telephone company billing and related services. The software systems were licensed and installed at a number of telephone companies. The software was designed and ran on IBM midrange computer systems. ADS became an IBM business partner so it could also sell to the telephone company the computer system on which the software operated. In order to make those sales ADS had to have employees with IBM certifications. I went to classes and took exams for the first time in 30 years! I did get and maintained IBM certification. My role at the user meeting for ADS customers was to explain the new technical features of the current IBM systems in words they could understand. Yeah, that was going to be easy! But I did, and ADS sold and upgraded a number of systems. When ADS was combined into Rock Hill Telephone’s Computer Systems area the selling and support of the software and computer systems was phased out. When I retired in 2010 I was in charge of Operations and Systems for Comporium Information Technology.