Building Connections

Alltech was started by DL Smith under the name of DL Smith Communications in Topeka as a complementary business to DL Smith Electric company. The communications business offered business telephone systems, installation and wiring. As both companies saw continued growth, DL recognized that he needed to bring in someone to help run the communications business. With his son, Shawn Smith, poised to take over the electric business, he looked elsewhere within the family for someone who wanted to step into that leadership role: his son-in-law, Mike Rothfuss.

Mike, who was living in Kansas City and working as a regional manager for Eastman Kodak at the time, was tired of all the travel and found DL’s proposal intriguing. Having also grown up in a family construction business, Mike understood what he was signing up for.

“I knew if I accepted this position, not only was it going to take an incredible amount of work to take the business to the next level, but as the son-in-law taking over part of a family business, I had something to prove,” Mike said.

Mike rented office space in Kansas City and hit the streets to drum up business.

“I printed off color copies on my printer and knocked on the door of hundreds of businesses,” Mike said. “I was so persistent that I think some of them even called the police to report me.”

That desire to prove himself paid off. KC Joes (formerly Oklahoma Joes) was one of his first customers. From there, business began to steadily pick up as word of mouth about their quality products and excellent customer service began to spread.

Transitioning to Alltech

Mike moved to Topeka in 2005 when he officially bought DL out of his share of the business. A few years later, Mike became the sole owner and officially changed the company name to Alltech Communications.

As technology has evolved over the years, Alltech has also adapted its products and services to meet the changing market demands. Where the primary focus started as business telephone services and wiring, it has shifted to cloud based voice over IP systems and specialized low voltage cabling for audio visual systems and security solutions.

“The bread and butter of our business is voice-data communications cabling,” Mike said. “Everything in communications and security revolves around cabling. Even wireless technology requires cables going from an IT closet to another IT closet.”

Whether it is a small doctor’s office with only one or two cables or a large hospital like Stormont Vail with hundreds of lines, security systems, paging systems and more, Alltech staff has the expertise and industry knowledge to make recommendations, install lines and equipment and then follow up with responsive customer service.

By holding certifications like the BICSI RCDD (registered communications distribution designer), Alltech can handle large communications projects and government contracts that require that level of certification.

“This puts us in a whole new category of service because we can work with companies that need up to 2,400 cables,” Mike said.

That includes companies such as Security Benefit, Advisors Excel and Stormont Vail, who have remained loyal Alltech customers over the years.

“We are fortunate to have such great working relationships with our customers,” Mike said. “As technology changes, businesses grow and information and security needs evolve, our customers trust us to help them meet those communication needs.”

Evolving with the Industry

The evolution of technology, communication and security needs caused Alltech to do some evolving of its own. The company oversees four main divisions: structure cabling for low voltage data, voice and video; business phone systems, including traditional and voice over IP; security, which includes intrusion systems, surveillance and access control; and audio video for conference rooms, paging systems and digital signage.

Alltech also has employees dedicated to specific market sectors including health care, state contracts and industrial.

“We have always been at the leading edge of technology shifts. Alltech was one of the first companies in the country to transition to CAT6 cables. Now we are exploring how AI is changing the security industry,” Mike said.

What once took hours for a human to search through video footage to find a specific incident or individual, AI can do in a fraction of the time.

“With the new search features, we can tell the system to search for a person on a bicycle with a spray can, and it will go looking for it. It really is unbelievable,” said Brad Barr, director of technology integration.

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