Keep Information Flowing
The Brass Effect earns trust daily from IT and data cabling customers
When it comes to solving technology challenges, The Brass Effect (TBE) goes the distance. “A lot of people who work on computers don’t get on the floor or work in attics and ceilings. They think data cabling is completely separate from computing, but it’s actually all interrelated. Bad wiring can impede the performance of your system and lead to technical issues,” says President and Founder Antonio Stroman.
Headquartered in Frisco, Texas, TBE provides information technology (IT) support, data cabling and cybersecurity services for commercial, manufacturing and industrial customers as well as educational institutions across North Texas. “We install data cabling infrastructure and switches and set up networks and programs. We assist users with onsite support and remote monitoring. We do everything from cabling to the computer help desk,” he says.
Antonio says that, unlike some in the industry, his team speaks plainly so customers can understand their computer issues. “We don’t talk to our clients in technobabble or make them listen to jargon they don’t really care about. We know you just want your IT to work and we’re there to listen and to fix issues.”
TBE serves customers with up to 100 workstations, tailoring IT solutions to meet each client’s level of needs. “In offices with IT personnel, we partner to help co-manage computing services. With clients who don’t have onsite staff, we serve as their primary IT support,” Antonio says.
No Trunk Slammers
The company installs a wide array of cabling and specializes in new construction and renovation projects. “We do everything from the cabling for your computer infrastructure to setting up audiovisual rooms, access systems and security cameras,” Antonio says.
He explains that seeing bad cabling jobs over the years inspired him to create this additional service offering. “There are those in this industry we call ‘trunk slammers.’ These are people with sometimes minimal experience and equipment who often keep their tools in the trunk of their cars as opposed to a service van,” he says. “Instead of 100 percent copper cables, these trunk slammers will sometimes install copper-clad aluminum cables on job sites. That’s aluminum with a coating of copper on the outside. When you have that type of inferior cable, it’s not going to conduct electricity as it should, and it can ultimately cause problems in speed and even corrupt data files.”
Antonio recalls one client who had just moved into a new office building. “The office was outfitted with low-quality cable. When I showed the client, he had us rip the whole thing out and rerun the entire office with copper cable.”
Keeping Jobs on Schedule
Antonio has five data cabling employees on staff and teams with IT service partners to provide remote monitoring services and help desk support. When it comes to onsite work—whether it’s fixing an IT issue or running cable—clients can expect to see the company owner actively involved. “I still do service calls, and of course, I like to be there to oversee installation of the data infrastructure,” he says. He admits that some jobs have the crew working day and night. “Sometimes a project takes longer to run. We might be there for 11 or 12 hours, but we stay until we get the job done.”
On new construction and renovations, TBE staff members ensure they stay in tune with the needs of the construction manager. “If we’re scheduled three weeks out, we’re going to stay in close communication along the way. If there’s an opportunity for us to start earlier, we’ll jump in and get the job done,” Antonio says. “We try to be as efficient as we can to keep the overall project on schedule.”
Keeping projects on track is especially important when serving the needs of a school.
“We currently have contracts with four K-12 independent school districts. We’ll add or move data cable and connections throughout the year, but large projects are typically reserved for the summer,” Antonio explains. When an elementary school embarked on a remodeling project recently, TBE worked hard through the summer to complete its work in time for students’ return in the fall. “A few years ago, one of the schools was creating a new STEM academy, tearing up and remodeling an entire wing of the school. We demoed the existing cable and reinstalled it to fit the new layout, running conduits along the walls and installing wireless access points.”
Soup to Nuts
In addition to providing both cabling and IT support, TBE is trusted to handle the delicate work of setting up hardware. “We installed data cabling infrastructure for a financial services client that had added a new office in Dallas. After completing that work, we assembled the computer racks and cabinets, installed the TV mounts for the conference room, unloaded and set up the computer hardware and finally installed software, ensuring that the entire computer network was functional,” Antonio says. Today, TBE provides remote monitoring of that company’s IT system as well as help desk support and onsite technical help.
Antonio explains that the gamut of services provided by TBE is truly “soup to nuts,” and in the case of one client in particular, it’s a lot more soup than nuts.
“An out-of-state producer of soup asked us to serve as the company’s primary IT support for its new office in Dallas. Later, when the company was able to hire a full-time IT administrator, we began serving as a co-manager of the company’s IT system, providing support services for the location’s staff,” Antonio says.
When the company needed new data cabling infrastructure, it called on TBE. “We rewired the entire 30,000-square-foot building,” he says. During the project, Antonio kept in close contact with company headquarters, sending frequent progress reports. “I detailed where and how we installed each cable, took photos and provided information showing that each cable was tested and approved. The client called and told me he’d never had anyone do such a thorough job.”
“No matter how successful a project is, we are constantly improving at The Brass Effect. Our goal is to be better today than we were yesterday.” Antonio Stroman, Founder and President, The Brass Effect
Putting the Pieces Together
Antonio loves to problem-solve issues. It’s what attracted him to the industry. “For me, the industry is like a jigsaw puzzle that you’re putting together bit by bit. I’m always looking for that next piece of the puzzle—whether it’s discovering the solution to a tricky issue or finding new ways to better serve customers,” he shares.
Antonio remembers tinkering with his first computer back in the 1990s. “My first computer had an Intel 386 processor, which, at the time, was the hot thing on the block,” he laughs. “I’ve always loved to tear stuff apart to see how things work.” It wasn’t long before Antonio started building his own computers. “I’d buy all the components, the shell, the hard drive, memory, monitor and keyboard.”
After retiring from the U.S. Army, Antonio dove right into furthering his education—and his career goals. “I had this fever to build things to see how they worked,” he says. After initially earning an associate degree in electronics technology, Antonio added a bachelor’s in technical management and a master’s in project management.
Striking Out on His Own
Antonio quickly rose within the IT industry, working as a Systems Coordinator, Systems Administrator and a Director of IT. “I remember when I was a Systems Administrator, one of my bosses told me that if he’s doing his job right, I shouldn’t be at that company more than three years. He knew there was nowhere for me to advance there,” he says.
Jobs took Antonio to Kansas and Florida before he and his young family finally settled in Frisco. There, he first served as Director of IT for a small computer services company. “The owner really took me under his wing. He taught me how to run a small business, how to market and how to form a good team,” he says.
When that company was sold, Antonio knew it was time to strike out on his own. He formed TBE in 2009. “It was difficult at first. I had no clients, and I was a one-man show with only myself to blame if I made mistakes,” he says. But Antonio persisted, landing his first customer, a pool tile distributor, which remains a client today. TBE provides remote monitoring services and has assisted the company with a variety of needs over the years, including data cabling and onsite IT support.
TBE’s second client helped to push Antonio into a new service area. “We were providing onsite support services for the customer’s IT system,” he recalls. “When the company relocated to a brand-new office building, they asked if I’d like to rewire the building. I subcontracted that job out, but it made me think that I could definitely provide that service to customers.”
Bound by Duty, Honor, Trust and Respect
The demand for data cabling services grew, and with that, TBE expanded in size and scope. Antonio is proud of the team he’s assembled. “All my employees used to be independent contractors, but I’ve worked hard to instill in them a team culture. When we show up on site with that TBE logo, the client sees us as a team. No one’s working alone. We all pull together to get the job done,” Antonio says.
The company’s name, The Brass Effect, reflects its commitment to service and Antonio’s military background. “In the military, the ‘top brass’ are high-ranking, well-respected leaders. They represent the military’s commitment to duty, honor, trust and respect. We have that same commitment to customers at TBE,” he says.
Antonio believes that success comes from creating trusted partnerships and never resting on your laurels. “No matter how successful a project is, we are constantly improving at TBE. Our goal is to be better today than we were yesterday.”