Mark & Jodi Scott

Scott Communication Services, Inc. was established in July 2001, when husband-and-wife team Mark and Jodi Scott became local authorized Nextel dealers. “I grew up in the industry,” Mark said. “My father worked for the local telephone company for 26 years, and in September 1983, I started selling business telephone systems for Executone. I worked for Executone for about one year and then moved to Sonitrol Security Systems, where I also sold business telephone and alarm systems.”

Mark worked for Sonitrol two and a half years—until a family friend asked if he would be interested in selling cellular car phones. “He had a stack of leads three inches thick from a newspaper ad he had run for six months. We discussed it, and I accepted the position with Centel Cellular; I was the first cellular salesperson in the Peoria area. Everyone said, “You’re making a big mistake. What are you going to do a year from now when everyone in Peoria has a car phone?’”

Thirteen years and three name changes later—Centel Cellular to Sprint Cellular to 360 Communications to Alltel—the man who recruited Mark to Centel Cellular once again made him an offer, this time about a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) company. “I started there in January 2000, and I learned the wire line side of the business selling local long distance and high speed Internet. In October 2001, the company laid off all of the local sales and support people. At that time, Jodi was selling Nextel products for our company. I decided to do what many local business people had told me to do for years: stop working so hard for someone else and start working for myself,” Mark said.

While in the CLEC business, Mark said he discovered many businesses had billing issues they weren’t aware of and/or didn’t know how to fix. That’s when he decided to start the second part of the business. “I started analyzing communication bills, looking for things people were paying for that they didn’t know they were paying for, or paying too much for the service they received. This has been a huge eye opener for many local businesses. I’ve had the opportunity to work with more than 75 businesses in the Peoria area in the past 12 months, and we’ve saved companies from $50 to $3,000 per month,” he said.

In December 2001, Scott Communication entered into an agreement with Access2Go and its affiliates, providing business customers competitive local service and long distance solutions. “Solutions range from Internet connections such as DSL to customer private voice and data networks. Access2Go is a licensed national carrier and provides services nationwide. Our company has provided services to many businesses and facilities including the new O’Brien Stadium,” Mark said.

He said one of the main reasons he and his wife started Scott Communication was to bring the value back to the customer. “We tell our customers what we can do and how we can do it. Communicating and servicing our customers is our No. 1 goal. Today, everyone wants to call and sell you something over the telephone. I believe face-to-face selling is your best bet. The industry has changed so much. Everyone wants you to do business via fax, e-mail, or Internet. We try to do everything for you, and on the cellular side, we do it the old fashioned way. We deliver the phone to you charged, and take the time to explain the features. With Access2Go, we’re an independent agent for the world’s leading network providers. From pricing, pre-sale, engineering, ordering, and follow up, we make sure the job is done right and on time.”

Getting the message out to the public about what Scott Communication does can be a challenge, but Mark said staying active in the community can help. “Currently, Jodi and I are involved with Easter Seals-UCP, where they provide service to more than 1,800 children and adults with disabilities. We’ve also been supporters of Bradley athletics. We feel you need to give something to the community since the community provides us with opportunities every day.”

Mark said the largest problem in his industry is everyone refers to the past because they’re frustrated with the present. “One of the reasons for the frustration is they don’t have a local point of contact. With all of the mergers and acquisitions, local representation in most situations isn’t available. That’s where we step in and assist you. When people ask us what we do, I always respond by asking, “What do you want to do?’ I want our customers to think of us first.” IBI