By Joy Jordan
Shannon Hoeg has always had a passion for business, even since she as a young child. She sold lemonade at neighborhood stands, hawked newspapers starting at age 9, and worked in restaurants as a teen. All of those jobs taught her about hard work, service, and, more importantly, how to connect with customers.
Those traits served her well years later, when she began interning at her father’s telecommunications company, and a bumpy road that led her to become the successful business owner she is today.
“I never used to share the story of JSS Communications until a mentor made me realize it was a huge part of who I was,” says Hoeg of the launch of her business. “It was not just a story of duty, but also perseverance. I came on board to my father’s telecom company while in college, around 2011/2012. He was a sole proprietor, teaching me the trade, from construction sites and hard hats, to industrial power plants. I definitely didn’t look the part, so I was faking it until I made it. I eventually transitioned into the management/operations role, and in about six months I realized there were some major structural tax issues – issues that would cause a domino of detrimental effects. One included my mom losing her house because he was still on the deed.
“I jumped into action because I had a duty to help my family, and I knew how to fix the problem,” says Hoeg. “I worked hours upon hours with new a newly hired tax attorney, CPA, bookkeeper, and business advisor to get the company out of the hole, and then I started JSS Communications in April 2014. With only $10,000 in seed money, I had to act fast. I determined where the revenue was coming from, and just hustled to increase sales, hired a new tech, and worked to learn the technology and industry trends.”
That drive to effectively solve problems not only benefitted the business itself, it also guides how she approached her work with customers.
“Although we are a technology company, I categorize us at problem solvers,” says Hoeg.
“It is so rewarding to me that we can help small businesses in many ways. Typically, we work with successful companies that are growing, but are confused about what is in their IT/network closet, and don’t know what phone system features can enhance their operations. You don’t know what you don’t know, so we help guide out clients on the best features, systems, and infrastructure to support their growth and communication goals.”
Having successfully grown JSS Communications over the past four years, the next step in Hoeg’s growth is an exciting one.
As of June 1, Hoeg is the new Vice President of Business Development for Spark Technologies, as JSS Communications has been acquired by Spark Technologies of Rockland.
“Once I met the owner of Spark, Rick Welch, I knew his company was the right fit because he, too, is a problem solver,” notes Hoeg. “I had conducted extensive research within our region, looking for an opportunity like this. As a technology company, we have seen how quickly technology changes. The telecommunications industry, like many others, is changing rapidly, and we want to be at the forefront of the changes. Each year we have had to weave in more and more IT help and expertise, but now we will have a whole team dedicated to that area.”
Spark Technologies acts as their clients’ IT Department; as Support Technicians, Network Administrators, and even CIO. They take full accountability for the network, hardware, software and critical business technical processes to make sure there is never a lapse in the business continuity because of IT issues.
“There is so much synergy in our industries and what we do,” Hoeg adds. “JSS runs the cables and installs the phones on the very network that Spark manages. Spark provides managed IT, cloud services, cybersecurity, back up disaster recovery, hosted/data centers/VPN, wireless solutions, VOIP, and tech consulting. Together, we can take away all the IT and telecom headaches for small businesses. Our merger will allow our existing clients to benefit from the combined extensive IT and telecom/cabling knowledge and services.”
It’s not just the technical efficiencies that appealed to Hoeg. A good fit in terms of culture was just as important in making this big move.
“Rick and his Spark team have exceeded my hopes and expectations,” she says. “Meeting as business owners, I realized that employees, clients, and the community were important to Rick. There is a wonderful culture within the organization that reaches not only the employees, but the people and companies they serve. My team is excited for the opportunity to learn and grow by combining resources, experience, and expertise.”
It was actually through their mutual community involvement that this merger was born.
“I met Rick through the South Shore Chamber of Commerce,” notes Hoeg. “I am very active in the South Shore Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Board of Directors, and the South Shore Young Professionals as recent past Chair. Both of these organizations, which are affiliated, have symbiotic missions and goals within the South Shore. They are a network of companies, business owners, community leaders, employees, and volunteers – all working to truly make the region a great place to live, work, and play. I also volunteer in many other capacities and support the South Shore Habitat for Humanity, and the NVNA.”
Hoeg is optimistic about the future of the region, thanks in part to an active community of young professionals, and regional groups working to guide growth and development.
“I am grateful to be a young professional on the South Shore,” says Hoeg. “The YP community here seems to have embraced the methodology that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ I see a lot of collaboration, sharing best practices, and true qualified referrals. If you follow the South Shore 2030 initiative you will know that there are a lot of struggles on the South Shore around infrastructure, workforce development, cost of living and housing, but I am confident in the current and future leaders to impact positive change in those areas.”
In between growing her empire, Hoeg still makes an effort to truly enjoy all the region has to offer.
“As a workaholic, I am still trying to weave in quality of life and down time/hobby activities. I enjoy the outdoors, traveling, exploring, and being with friends and family. I’m also a foodie and health nut, so you can catch me cooking a lot and trying new healthy recipes. I also love checking out new local restaurants.”
With her relentless drive, positive attitude, and commitment to serving customers’ needs, there’s no doubt Shannon Hoeg is one to watch.