Company’s technologies help screen out fever, keep separated employees working together

Native West Virginian Doug Tate joined the Army straight out of high school. By the end of his second enlistment, he had worked his way up from infantry to data center engineering. After retiring from the military, Tate joined the ranks of soldiers-turned-scholars on the GI Bill. He earned master’s degrees in applied computer science and business administration. In 2000, he founded Alpha Technologies, a service disabled veteran-owned small business, in Hurricane.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Alpha Technologies had the technical equipment and skills to help companies keep working.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal business

Like many businesses across the country, Alpha Technologies redeployed many of its employees to work from home. Only those who could do their jobs alone in their private offices could return to work in the physical building. 

“We have been able to continue to conduct business the same as always, with video conferencing, phone calls, emails and the like,” said Rich O’Brien, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Because of this, we did not experience a lapse in business productivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As part of its technology arsenal, the company operates the largest commercially owned data center in the state, based in South Charleston. The multiple power/internet redundancies safeguard against business interruptions. 

For other West Virginia companies, technology presented a challenge.

Be remote, stay productive

“One of the primary obstacle’s many other businesses are facing is the inability of employees to access their employers’ servers when trying to work from home,” said Tate. “Some are not able to conduct normal business through voice and video. This can be due to inadequate office connectivity, server bandwidth, out-of-date equipment/software, or a combination of these factors.”

Alpha Technologies introduced the West Virginia Work Remote Connection Initiative to help small and mid-sized companies get the network and bandwidth needed to support remote workers.

Under the program, Alpha Technologies has hosted — either physically or virtually —   businesses’ servers at its federally secured data center in South Charleston.

“We installed any necessary software to enable the business and remote worker to connect, provided voice/video services if desired, and offered technical assistance and training to get them online,” said O’Brien. 

The initiative offered secure server and connectivity to any business that needs it at no cost for 90 days.

“As we all come to grips with the new paradigm brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining the health and productivity of West Virginia’s economy is critically important,” said Tate. “This new remote working environment has created significant challenges for employers across the state and we want to ensure businesses can continue operations effectively.” 

Get together — safely

Some businesses and institutions are reopening. Alpha Technologies is introducing a tool to help groups gather with a degree more safety.

The company is an authorized reseller of a non-contact temperature sensor manufactured by Inaxsys Security Systems. Unlike handheld temperature monitors that check one person at a time, the industrial sensor by Inaxsys can assess groups of people quickly. The Inaxsys thermal sensor can check for fever temperatures at entrances or exits to office buildings, schools, hospitals and similar locations.

Alpha Technologies partnered SVC Marketing, a company that distributes products for its technology manufacturer clients. The companies needed no face-to-face sales meetings to alert West Virginia businesses and institutions about the high-tech sensor.

“The COVID-19 pandemic alerted not only West Virginia but the world to the need for something like the temperature sensing technology,” O’Brien said. “We used a variety of methods to ‘spread the word,’ including social media, email campaigns, hosted webinars and word of mouth.”

Alpha Technologies recently hosted a free webinar with SVC Marketing to showcase the Inaxsys technology, explain how it works and how it complies with the standards required by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Paying it forward

“Our company has been able to grow and thrive due, in large part, to the assistance provided us by the State of West Virginia and our federal partners at the U.S. Small Business Administration,” Tate said. “It’s our goal in this time of crisis to pay it forward and use our resources to help West Virginia businesses struggling in this challenging environment.”