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Secret to PAETEC's success: RIT connection

Some of the RIT grads who work at PAETEC gathered for this photo at company headquarters. Tim Bancroft, executive vice president and treasurer, is fourth from the left. Robert Moore, senior vice president, information technology, is center front (hands in pockets).

During a difficult period for the tele-communications industry, PAETEC Communications Inc. has been doing extremely well.

Founded in 1998, the Perinton, N.Y., based company was second in Deloitte’s 2003 Technology Fast 500 ranking of the top public and private technology firms in North America. PAETEC, which had revenues of $360 million-plus in 2003, was ranked second in Forbes magazine’s 2004 “Midas List” of fast-growing privately held technology firms (Google took first place).

RIT plays an important part in PAETEC’s success. About 15 percent of the company’s 450 Rochester-area employees are RIT alumni, working in jobs including software and network engineering, graphic design, finance and sales. In the company’s key information technology department, the majority of the 120 workers are RIT grads, says Robert Moore ’91 (computer science), senior vice president, information technology. The company also has eight to 10 co-op students at any given time.
“The RIT grads and co-ops raise the bar in our department,” says Moore. “We don’t have to teach them the technical skills. We don’t have to teach them how to be productive.”

Tim Bancroft ’71 (business administration), executive vice president and treasurer for PAETEC, concurs. “RIT does a great job of helping students develop the skills they need to succeed. Significant portions of faculty have business experience, so they are able to relate course content to business practices. What we learned there was not out of context.”
Moore and Bancroft were among PAETEC’s first employees, recruited by Chairman and CEO Arunas A. Chesonis.

From the beginning, PAETEC went after medium-sized to large business and institutional customers.Today, the company serves more than 11,000 businesses, colleges, hospitals and government organizations from offices in 27 markets and regional headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., Irvine, Calif., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The company provides a range of broadband communications services including advanced voice and video, high-end data networks, virtual private network services, Internet access and customer equipment. Moore believes that PAETEC’s strong IT department gives the company an advantage. The ongoing challenge is to keep current with technological developments – and ahead of the competition.

To that end, PAETEC partners with RIT’s Center for Advancing the Study of Cyberinfrastructure on research projects with practical, commercial applications. And for the past four years, PAETEC has tapped into RIT students’ talents by sponsoring senior design projects in the software engineering department of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The students have produced valuable work for the company, and many have become PAETEC employees, says Moore.
The most recent facet of the mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the university is a scholarship program announced in September. Through the PAETEC Scholarship Program, the company will award a total of $50,000 over five years to students in the Golisano College. Besides funding, PAETEC will provide a summer work program and establish a mentoring program.

“We look forward to helping RIT students interested in computing careers,” says Moore. “At the same time, PAETEC stands to benefit. We want to keep the best and the brightest as close as we can.”

RIT Works! focuses on the contributions of RIT graduates in the workplace.