President’s Piece

Firefighters Foundation

Spring 2021!

It is amazing how quickly things change, and it is truer this year more than ever!   Twelve months ago, everything was uncertain – businesses were laying off employees, restaurants were closed and those employees that could, were sent home to work.

Now, with the vaccines having been rolled out to over 60% of the adults in the U.S. we are seeing a dramatic turnaround in activity and the business outlook.

Telecom services was one industry that held its own and actually expanded a little during the pandemic.   Before 2020 about 8% of all knowledge workers worked from home.   That shot up to over 30% this past year which drove growth in our telecommunications space.  We saw increased need for higher bandwidth, video conferencing and unified communication platforms such as Zoom and Teams.  

At First American Businesses, our work-at-home policy has been in place since we opened 11 years ago.  Our suite of collaboration tools makes communicating internally and with clients relatively easy. 

We are looking forward to a full return to normal over the next few months.   We expect air travel and most businesses to open their offices mid to late summer. 

We will see what the next few months brings but we are excited about the prospects, and we are proud to have kept our entire staff this year – in fact – our business has continued to grow, and we have added new employees! 

New Customers

Over the past five months the number of quotes and contract wins has really picked up.   Within First American Business Solutions – our government led team – we have quoted 8 bids totaling over $20 million responding to RFPs released by multiple DOD facilities.     

Our Enterprise division has been just as active with quotes and wins through our valued partners. Some recent contract wins already this year include projects to upgrade Avaya CMs to current release (several with IX Messaging) ; installing and implementing firmware and patches on severs and media gateways at multiple sites: large scale site survey work, training and an agreement to provide full time Staff Augmentation. 

These are just a few examples.  The First American Business team has been working overtime to on board these new customers! 

Staff Expansion

We have hired one new member to support a staff augmentation assignment at an existing client site in NYC.    Our Navy West project and team in the Pacific Northwest continue to deliver well on that key project.

Our Lab

The Lab is up and running and fully functional.   The Lab is 2,200 square feet which provides us ample space to test and stage equipment.    

In early June we are hosting our first customer visit to the lab for testing and training.

In Closing

We are proud to have sponsored the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Golf Tournament hosted in Rochester NY. This is an important annual Firefighters fundraiser in which we have sponsored and participated over the last 4 years.

Finally, thanks to you, and our employees –are off to a great start in 2021.   We are optimistic the business climate will be back to normal in a few short months and that we can get out and see our customers face to face again!  


Owner, Managing Partner

How to Contact First American Business

Our new First American Ticketing system has been up and operational for over six months now and is working exceptionally well.

Customers can call us 7×24, email us or open a ticket on our web portal.   The following is a summary of that process:

How to Contact First American Business

Work from Home – Impact to Telecom

Work from Home - Impact to Telecom

The future of work is changing rapidly.

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted many companies away from the physical office leaving people wondering how long they’ll be working remotely and how their work will change once they return to the office.

This is the new digital telecommunication world we are in now.

Teleworking has been around since the late 1990’s.    Back then a few innovative companies including Nortel Networks decided that they could save money on corporate real estate and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.   It didn’t hurt that companies like Nortel and Cisco made network equipment that allowed for remote offices to work in the first place.   High speed bandwidth was just coming into play in the ‘90s – before that it was dial up modems which were not capable of supporting a digital workplace.

Slowly, over the years, more and more companies allowed workers to work remote and meanwhile the technology that allows for unified communication (voice, text and video) kept getting better and better.

Fast forward to 2020.  The digital office isn’t temporary. Instead, the pandemic has accelerated a shift that was already in the works for a while. Much of the abrupt transition that companies made because of the pandemic will be here to stay, and it’s up to companies to consider the unique needs of their workforces as the future continues to evolve.

The pandemic accelerated the work from home movement by at least 5 years. It was already moving in this direction before, but the pandemic actually forced companies to experiment on new ways of working.

Explosion of Zoom, Teams and other collaborating applications hit mainstream.   Zoom was there but most people hadn’t used it before March this year.   The pandemic forced people to try it (and other collaborating tools) and they found them to be easy and they liked it!   The boom for these high bandwidth applications also drive IT sales of PCs, Headsets, Laptops, soft clients, directory services, call centers and virtually every part of a company’s telecom infrastructure.   Do you want to own a data center with servers and perpetual licenses when you could get Zoom or Salesforce or G suite from the cloud and pay on a per user basis?  Many companies are taking this opportunity to move to the cloud.

This movement to home has been both good and bad for employees.   On the positive side they aren’t wasting time in the car commuting.  They’re taking advantage of the time that they have at home, which they would have normally spent on the road.  However, they’re working even more and taking more time out of their personal day, or they’re not focusing on the families. Some companies are asking their people to block their calendars for personal time, which is a new situation for sure.

From a company standpoint E-commerce was already a piece of the business. Now it’s becoming the business itself.  When talking about digital transformation, business must look at the payback. Digital transformation is the business performing and growing better.

Working from home is really about the art of bringing together — the right tools and the processes and people. It is estimated that 40-50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely and long after the pandemic is over there will be more jobs done from home than ever before.

First American Business

100% of our staff works from home.  We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues and if we need to go to a site we nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally as needed.

In short, we are fully operational, productive and supporting our customers during this time of change in the Telecom world.






David A. Colangelo, PMP – Federal Business Manager




[New Port Richey, Florida, May 3, 2020]  First American Business Solutions was awarded the Telecom support agreement (O&M) for the Dept. of the Navy – West under a one + four year arrangement due to its superior customer service.

The Department of the Navy (Navel Support FLC Puget Sound) awarded a Firm Fixed-Price contract to First American Business Solutions on April 29, 2020.   Under the award, First American Business will provide telecommunications Operations and Maintenance services under a base year plus four optional years.

The intent of the award is to provide telecommunications operations and maintenance (O&M). This includes secure and reliable, classified and unclassified, voice and data services in support of the U.S Navy and other DOD agencies under the Commander Navy Region North West Area of Responsibility.

First American Business shall provide all material, labor, supplies, vehicles, test equipment, and any other items required to maintain the Nortel telecom Private Automated Branch Exchange (PABX) systems, AVAYA Systems, Voice Mail systems, Remote Intelligent Peripheral Equipment (IPE), batteries and rectifier systems, proprietary digital telephone sets, fiber optic and copper cable plant, main frames, and operator consoles.

First American Business shall also be required to provide labor and material to maintain and install additional inside/outside cable plant and fiber optics, as well as equipment and labor to provide switch expansion capability and dot release software updates.

“We are excited to expand our presence within the Department of Defense.  This contract award from Navy West is an amazing opportunity for us leverage our Nortel and Avaya product expertise and to solidify our corporate security clearance as we expand further into the government space” says Mark Morningstar Owner and Managing Partner of First American Business.

Specific sites to be supported by First American Business Solutions under this award include:

  1. Naval Station Everett, Everett, WA
  2. Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, WA
  3. Naval Magazine, Port Hadlock WA
  4. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport, WA
  5. Pacific Beach Resort and Conference Center, Pacific Beach, WA
  6. Naval Hospital Bremerton
  7. Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, Silverdale, WA
  8. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, WA
  9. Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, WA


First American Business in Action

Coronavirus Support

When things get tough our team gets going.   The Coronavirus has impacted virtually everyone everywhere.   Last Month one our very own Resource Coordinators (affectionately known as “the Mask Lady”) proactively sprang into action and started to make protective face masks for people in need and even sending some to our own team members and technicians.   She is leading this effort for the First American Business team and has made over 500 masks so far!



These masks are making a difference at several local Houston hospitals!

Expanded Team

Business continues to grow for First American Business in both the Enterprise and the Government side.   As a result, in the first Quarter of 2020 we brought on 4 new people.

  • Engineers (Tier 3): Sean Poppell, Wayne Page
  • Solution Architects: Hugh Simpson
  • Payroll Administration: Julie Potter

This greatly enhances our support capabilities on Avaya, Nortel, Cisco and Ribbon products.

LAB Build Out

Our lab is now complete!

  • We have made significant investments obtaining and building a formal LAB. The Lab is based in Tampa and contains Avaya CM 6.3, 7.1, 8, Avaya IPO, Nortel CS1K, Cisco, and Ribbon in the near future to name a few. This will allow our engineers to fully recreate issues and test solution prior to moving them into production.
  • We have several projects where staging hardware is a component. Our new lab allows us to test designed solutions; Simulate issues while troubleshooting and provide hands-on training of new software as it becomes available

Remote Workers


Dealing with the Coronavirus

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

Some of the immediate impacts include:

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Work from Home – It is estimated that 50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely.   Of those currently 45% offer some limited form of work from home.   Many companies provide secure remote VPNs that allow employees to log in and work remote 1 day per week for example.   Some companies like First American Business allow all its employees to work remote full time.   Teleworking first started in the late 90’s and has expanded every year since.

Due to the Coronavirus, major corporations who never had a policy are now forced to shut their office buildings and quickly set up remote working.   Education facilities including grade schools have set up and are conducting remote learning.  Teachers around the country are developing lesion plans and teaching over video!   Imagine… this was not even contemplated in February of this year.

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Collaboration Tools (voice, video, chat)

Due to the C-19 virus, the major telecom companies are rolling out free or reduced collaboration and work-from-home solutions.  Examples:

  • Cisco:   Free Webex worldwide for 90 days
  • Ring Central:  Free (limited) UC collaboration
  • Avaya:   Free Spaces (collaboration) and Contact Center work from home licenses.
  • Ribbon (Kandy): Enabling customer’s workforce with Work@home.  Free and secure video conferencing and collaboration tools.

Virtually all suppliers in the Telecom space have risen to the challenge and are offering their products and services to companies and governments for free.   Now, many of these offers are limited – such as 90 days and have a cap on license volumes but they are there and available now.   The telecom industry has jumped into motion to address the collaboration needs of corporate America.

First American Response

  • We support our clients 7×24 for complete remote offers.
  • First American Business offers cloud-based voice services that we can turn up in days. For example, we now have over 60 end users (4 sites) on our cloud offer today with our customer Hello Destination.
  • We handle implementation and on-going support including working with our customer’s existing carriers and suppliers.

100% of our staff has remained in place during this global pandemic.   We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues.  We can avoid air travel because we have a nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally if needed.

In short, we are fully operational and supporting our customers every day!

President’s Piece


Spring 2020!

It was the spring of last year that our newsletter featured information about our 10 years anniversary.   It’s hard to believe we have now reached the year 1 milestone of our second decade!

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

At the family of First American Businesses, we have a high priority placed on the health and safety of our staff.   Thankfully we have had a work-at-home policy in place for years so all of our employees are equipped to log into systems, trouble shoot problems and resolve issues remotely.  We have a full suite of Microsoft collaboration tools that make communicating internally and with clients relatively easy.

We are in full operations mode and continue to work at full speed through these trying times.   Due to travel restrictions our nationwide field services team of 800 technicians is in place so our customer’s continue to support their projects without flying to a remote location.

We truly appreciate our great customers and we are here to help!

Trade Shows

Early this year we attended the Avaya Engage User Group.   Enterprise Connect unfortunately was canceled for March and has been rescheduled for August in San Francisco which conflicts with another engagement of ours so unfortunately we will not be attending this year.   We are still hopeful to be able to attend the Ribbon Sales conference later this spring,

We normally have a First American Business team retreat in Clearwater Florida each spring and bring in our entire team but have decided to delay that until the fall.

Ticketing System

The new First American Business Ticketing System Is up and fully functioning.   This system has made a big improvement in how we open tickets, dispatch remote field resources and pay vendors. This new ticking system will allow our customers to more easily open and track a ticket with us.   Internally it will allow us to update and report key metrics to allow improvements in our delivery.

This new tool is an investment in our overall team’s productivity.   Tool enhancements like the new FAB Ticking System have allowed us to grow efficiently.

Staff Expansion

At First American Business we continue to attract top talent.  We have expanded our Tier III engineering team with both Avaya Certified engineers in Contact Center and UC and have even expanded our Nortel Tier III team.   This is the largest our engineering team has been since business started 11 years ago!

Thanks to you, our customers– we look forward to supporting you in 2020 and for many years to come!


Owner, Managing Partner

President’s Piece

10 Year Company Anniversary!

I am very happy to report that this May 2019 will be our 10th year in business.   It is with tremendous pride that I can say that the great people we have at First American Business, and those within our partner network, have made it possible for us to not only grow but to prosper in the very competitive telecom landscape.   We have had year after year of increasing sales due to our teams quality and reliable service to the customers we serve.

I want to thank our customers for their dedication and for trusting us to manage and evolve their networks.   We have many small and large customers but to us they are all important and we look forward to serving them as their businesses evolve and continue to grow.

president's piece

As we embark on the start of our second decade I see huge opportunities as we expand our portfolio to Cloud and other technologies.

Trade Shows

2019 has started much like prior years with our participation in various partner trade shows.  For the first half of the year we attended, or will soon be attending, the following amazing events:

  • Avaya Engage Users Group – Jan
  • Converge1 Sales Conference – Feb
  • Enterprise Connect conference – March
  • Ribbon Sales Conference – Apr
  • Alliance-IT Sales Conference – June

We had a booth at C1 and Avaya Engage and are active participants in the others.

Ticketing System

The launch of our newly designed First American Business Ticketing System!   This new ticking system will allow our customers to more easily open and track a ticket with us.   Internally it will allow us to update and report key metrics to allow improvements in our delivery.

Staff Expansion

At First American we continue to attract top talent.  I’m proud to announce the addition of another new full time Avaya Engineer on staff.

Team Retreat

Our second team retreat will be held this year in Clearwater Florida May 7th-May 9th. With a virtual structured business model many of our team members talk daily on the phone but never have a chance to meet their colleagues face to face. Last years team retreat was a huge success, we look forward to our second team session. The team retreat consists of team introductions, success stories, new opportunities, new business strategies and the state of the business plus a little team building exercise.

Thanks to you, our customers– we look forward to supporting you in 2019 and for the next 10 years!



Owner, Managing Partner

Customer Success Story

First American Business Enterprise has just successfully completed a 100+ site and system deployment for a major Fortune 100 financial institution called “Branch Deployment” which also included a major CM7 Upgrade Project.  The project was over 2 years in total and on the very day of the final branch deployment our customer sent us this note which says it all:


Darryle, Mike, Don, Rich, Kim, and Val:

It is hard to express our appreciation for the amazing work you have done.  Thank you all for the endless hours that each of you spent/are spending working nights and weekends for the past two years – benching, data gathering, end user training, deploying phones, installing switches, installing gateways, FDOB support, adds, moves, changes, ordering, tracking and shipping hardware, etc.  Challenges have been numerus – and your ability to adapt to the constant change in procedures has been outstanding. The dedication, professionalism and team effort that each of you have shown has been immensely impressive.  Congratulations on a job well done!


Lauren and Lin:

Lauren, your diligence, dedication and ownership has been a source of inspiration for everyone on the team.  You and Lin have done an outstanding job in keeping the wheels turning and on track for two years – processing 270 Cisco orders – managing and storing HW – plus weekly deliveries; 167 Avaya orders, and 167 site travel arrangements/expenses, managing and delivering billing on time – it’s been absolutely crazy – and not once did we have a travel hiccup or major invoice delay.  Thank you all for your efforts and for an outstanding job.  

*** Mark – again – you should be so very proud of your team – First American has delivered yet another successful job! **

Wishing everyone the best for exciting times ahead.  I am looking forward to our next endeavor together. 


Project Statistics:  Branch Deployment Project:

  • # of sites deployed – 167
  • # of systems deployed per month (max) – 12
  • # of systems reverted back to the old system – zero!
  • # of people on the project – 6 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –22 months
  • # etc. etc. – 2 maternity leaves (diff people)

Project Statistics:  CM7 Upgrade:

  • # of sites upgraded –182
  • # of systems upgraded per month (max) – 45
  • # of people on the project – 4 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –7 months

Getting to Know… Joanna Hunt

You speak with them over the phone frequently, but how well do you really know our amazingly talented employees when so much of our work is completed remotely? FirstABS is on a mission to profile our employees monthly so that you, our valued customer, can get to know us all a little better!

This month, we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Hunt, one of our excellent Resource Coordinators.

Joanna has been with us for 8 years though her background includes 5 years with the Douglas County School System in Douglassville, GA, 6 years with the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta, GA, and 4 years with Prudential Real Estate in Douglasville.

She and her husband, Sony, now live and work out of Merritt Island, FL and have 2 sons, Nicholas and Patrick. The people Joanna most admires are her parents, Leroy and Margaret Lunsford.
Joanna enjoys spending time with family and friends at activities such as boating, Golfing, Bunco and watching her favorite movie, Bridgette Jones Diary. Her favorite sports teams to cheer for are Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tide!) and the Minnesota Vikings.

FirstABS would like to say a big THANKS to Joanna for all of her hard work, and for letting us spotlight her in this post, and in our most recent Newsletter!