Telmar Network Technology

Telmar Network Technology (then called Telmar Distributing Company) was founded in 1986, in my back bedroom!  I had an idea for an equipment  search program, which later became Topics.  I spent many hours entering telephone company's surplus equipment lists, and developing the first program.  Chris made the first sales calls from that bedroom office, while I made typing noises in the background.

We moved to our first real office in Irvine's Sky Park Circle, with a 1,000 sq ft warehouse.  We soon expanded into next door, and then next door to that.  We also added a larger fourth warehouse a few miles away.   We moved all of this into our new home at 16781 Noyes Avenue, Irvine, where we stayed for many years.  (We did add the building next door as well, for our test labs.)

Our first group of employees included Sue Lowenthal (sales & operations), Gary McMullin (quality),  Mark Manganella (sales, starting with Lois Weyler at our brokerage company, Apics), and Becky Manganella.  Later we added Jerry Constance from Pacific Bell (testing), and Mel Santi also from Pacific Bell (contracts & sales).  Robert Arias ran the warehouse team.  We opened sales offices in Pennsylvania (Eric Masters & Chuck Hoyt) and Sacramento.  We were a small group - maybe 20 to 30 people in all, but with Topics we had sales-per-employee ten times that of our closest competitor!

We became registered for ISO-9002 and TL-9000 quality standards, a big investment in time and effort for a small company.

We developed a good relationship with Allied Communications Equipment Supply, a long-established distributor with a huge inventory.  They were a competitor, and much bigger than Telmar, but our sales were many times theirs, and we helped them sell their inventory.  We gave them the ACESHIP program, and they could ship our orders directly to our customers, with our paperwork and labels.  That cemented our relationship.

In 1997 we were short-listed for a sole supply contract with SBC, (Now AT&T)   We put together a team to bid for the contract.  This included myself (proposal writing and computer programs), Gary McMullin (business), Mel Santi (in-your-face sales), and Sandie Jarrett (PowerPoint).   We held a dress rehearsal in an off-site hotel conference room.  Bill Peck (Geneva) and Sidney Yeaman stood in as SBC executives.

We went to St Louis and gave our presentation to SBC.  They liked it so much, they called in their senior managers to listen to the good bits over again!   So we won the contract.  Telmar's sales went from $12 million to over $70 million.

In 1999 I sold Telmar to Stonebridge Partners, a New York private equity firm.  They soon bought Allied Communications Equipment Supply, our closest competitor, in a friendly merger.

Telmar Network Technology now has sales of over $300 million a year.   They purchased Comnet Supply, a leading supplier of wireless telecom equipment, and Maya Telecom, in Florida.  Stonebridge made five add-on company acquisitions.  Telmar now has facilities in Irvine California, Council Bluffs Iowa, Yuma Arizona, Darien Illinois, Sparks Maryland, Annandale New Jersey, San Angelo Texas, Plano Texas, Dallas Texas, Orlando Florida, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, The Netherlands and Hong Kong.   

In 2006, Telmar Network Technology was purchased by Warburg Pincus, a New York private equity firm. By 2010 the company had over 800 employees in 14 countries around the world.

These are the early Telmar employees:

Name Date Started Department
Granville Kirkup November 1986 President
Chris Kirkup April 1987 Sales
Sue Lowenthal June 1987 Sales
Mike Mergen (consultant) July 1987 Accounting
Loleta Witherspoon October 1988 Sales
Bill Kirsch October 1988 Warehouse
Mark Manganella October 1989 Sales
Gary McMullin April 1990 Quality
Lois Weyler April 1990 Sales
Robert Arias May 1990 Warehouse
Eric Masters November 1990 Sales
Becky Manganella January 1991 Sales
Chuck Hoyt March 1991 Sales
Jerry Constance September 1991 Testing
Rich Kirkup February 1992 Warehouse
Mel Santi February 1992 Contracts
Vi Barrett April 1992 Contracts
Don Van Epps August 1994 Warehouse
Mark Neidl September 1994 Testing
Sandie Jarrett October 1996 Documentation
Mike Cassai October 1996 Warehouse
Linda Farr October 1996 Testing
Dennis Cabrera July 1997 Warehouse
Kimberly Butcofski September 1997 Warehouse
Patty Dutchover January 1998 Warehouse
Burnis Coleman March 1998 Warehouse
Tiffanie Lu May 1998 Operations
Bill Boyer May 1998 Testing
Cindy Getz August 1998 Warehouse
Eric Rodriguez August 1998 Warehouse
Linda Schroeder October 1998 Testing

Finally, Ed Sinclair, January 1999, testing.

My dad (W.G. 'Pat' Kirkup) also came by from time to time to help with junking!   My dad didn't think that what I did in the office - programming and such - was 'real' work, so when he was there I had to work alongside him in the warehouse!

Where are they now?

(To add your name to this list, . )

Some episodes from Telmar's early history