JAMESTOWN - Digitell Inc. is proof that businesses can thrive in Chautauqua County.
Monday afternoon, County Executive Greg Edwards, as well as Richard Dixon, chief financial officer for the CCIDA, and Bill Daly, director of the Chau-tauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development, visited Digi-tell. There, they discussed the growth of the company over the 26 years since James Parker, president, started the company.
"It is this sort of stuff that is a real thrill for me, to get inside some of these organizations and find out ways to bring government in my role in Chautauqua County as a partner to their growth," Edwards said. "When I come out and spend half a day with Bill and Rich and our team, talking to partners like Jim, I'm pumped up and realize why it is that we are successful here in Chautauqua County, because of the bright people. Government has to play a positive role in that, and that's what we do in conversations like we did today."
Digitell, Inc. provides a variety of Web-based services, including live broadcasting, webinar services, conference services and 3D virtual services. Currently, the company services 110 customers.
"Jim has found a way to take one of the most cutting-edge technology movements that we have had here, and made a goal of it here in Chautauqua County," Edwards said. "You're able to do things here on a cost structure that you're not able to do in L.A."
Parker now has 30 employees, working out of the Furniture Mart building on East Second Street in Jamestown. Additionally, he has employees in London, Las Vegas, New Jersey and Boston, Mass. His goal is to add 20 more employees to the Jamestown office within the next 18 months.
Keeping up with demand also has Parker working with the county, which in turn has invested in his business several times.
"Since we've had this relationship over the last seven years, the county has invested directly in Jim and his firms. He says, 'With your help, I think I can achieve x.' And, we review that, we make sure it fits with the perimeters and that it is a good, solid investment for us," Edwards said. "Jim Parker and Digitell is like a poster child for entrepreneurial types of approach to business development and growth that we have nurtured and encouraged."
The county, Edwards explained, does not compete with local commercial lenders or compete with other local businesses. Instead, it works to supplement businesses.
Typically, a bank will loan part of the money a business needs. Then, the county can make the decision to loan money as well and the business owner can look to another source for the rest of the funding.
"Each has its own separate terms associated with the lending. It's that layering. We're not looking to put banks out of business, that's the last thing we want. We just want to help people get out there," Edwards said.
Parker, on the other hand, credits his 26 years of success to being innovative. Many of his competitors, he said, have gone out of business because they aren't looking toward the future.
"I would say, the reason I have been successful is because I've always looked at what the next solution is that the client is going to need," Parker said. "What's next is really, I'd say, is really a broadcast channel. I'd see us becoming a CNN for professional education. I think what's next is bringing professionals and students together, that's my personal goal."