When I visited downtown Tacoma around 2000 I was looking to create a hosted application location for a company called Lariat Software. I was hoping to establish it here so that I could eventually transition to running it, allowing me to work near where I lived. There were a number of software and technology companies downtown at the time, so I felt that it wasn't out of the question to establish a business in the technology sector that could succeed. Not only that, but with a huge investment by the city in building out the infrastructure, Tacoma was being touted as America's most wired city. We ended up hosting a server for the media reporting solution at ATG and began testing the waters as to whether a hosted application would work in the emerging opportunities provided by the World Wide Web.
And then in 2001 and particularly after September 11th, the dot.com boom collapsed and the dot.com fever of that had produced so many companies broke, taking down with it companies that never should have existed, as well as many that were solid and held real promise. ATG closed it's Tacoma location, though it was profitable.
Downtown Tacoma appeared to be a ghost town as far as tech companies were concerned.
Yet it was in 2000 when Tacoma native Rick Shanaman founded Optic Fusion with the goal of providing carrier-class colocation and network connectivity to the Tacoma market. Currently the company's President and CEO, and along with John C. Kois (Director of Business Operations), Eric Stockwell (Director of Products and Technology) and Randy Stockwell (Director of Facilities and Construction) they provide a state-of-the art, carrier neutral colocation facilities located in downtown Tacoma at the Perkins Building, and in Seattle at the Westin Building.
There promise as a host and colocation facility is to guarantee 100% uptime to every customer in all of our locations.
As described by their website
Optic Fusion provides solutions for every business with IT infrastructure. From Design to Connectivity, Optic Fusion is the one-stop local solution. Our Design and Build division provides high quality network infrastructure and wiring throughout the region, as well as large project fiber splicing. Our Consulting services leverage the resource of our 24x7 NOC to provide everything from network design, installation, and troubleshooting, to outsourced Help Desk services.
Initially, Optic Fusion also provided web design and development as part of its services in a subsidiary of the company called Dynamics in Design. I imagine that diversification of service provide flexibility during the early 2000's when business was very tough. In early 2006 Dynamics in Design was merged into another standout Tacoma company, Sitecrafting which enabled Optic Fusion to focus on its core customers and business. Companies in the South Sound leveraging each others strengths is a good thing. As evidenced in the example of these two companies again in 2008 when Optic Fusion helped SiteCrafting implement a data center expansion mentioned in this Aug 2009 press release:
SiteCrafting partnered with Tacoma-based Optic Fusion to design the scalable and robust system. The new data center is load balanced with clusters of highly available web and database servers, similar in structure to what Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Google and Amazon use.
When I began working at the Institute of Technology and taught a class called Managing Technical Teams, one of the students asked me for help in finding an internship. I met with Rick and talked about the students and wondered if internship potential existed at the company. The student applied at Optic Fusion and was hired as an intern. He was hired at the end of that internship. With the establishment of the ITS program at the Institute, I imagine there is a possibility for many more over time.
Since the companies inception, it has expanded the data center to twice its size, featuring humidity and temperature controls, back up power and HVAC systems, video surveillance, fire-threat detection and suppression, and secured access. They have expanded into the Westin building in Seattle and continue to man there operations 24 hours a day with Optic Fusion's Technicians.
They also provide consulting and IT outsourcing services for small to medium sized businesses, including help desk services, network design and installation and network troubleshooting.
Optic Fusion's consultants all have the necessary training, certifications, and experience to provide any IT support service. From Microsoft Windows environments, to Unix/Linux/BSD and OSS, to Cisco and HP network devices, we can support any project and problem on any platform.
You can follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/OpticFusion
According to their web site, Optic Fusion is always looking Support Technicians.
During the course of the year I hope to provide a short profile of an average of one Pierce County technology company per week. By years end there should be an ample supply of names and data to help folks who are looking for partners, jobs, internships or the products and services they supply.