This article was original published on December 6, 2015 on Seacoastonline.com.
Paul Cissel, left is chief executive officer of Internet & Telephone, LLC, which has acquired Jenaly Technology Group of Portsmouth, whose president, MJ Shoer, right, will become the expanded company’s chief technology officer. Paul Briand photo
Two technology providers with roots in Portsmouth are coming together to form a single company.
Internet & Telephone LLC, based in Methuen, Massachusetts, with offices at 11 Manchester Square at Pease International Tradeport, bought Jenaly Technology Group, located at 1 Greenleaf Woods Drive in Portsmouth.
Both are managed service providers, which advise clients on the best uses and applications to address technology needs and concerns.
Internet & Telephone chief executive officer Paul Cissel said he bought Jenaly, not only to expand the business and acquire the workforce talent and experience, but to get Jenaly president MJ Shoer, who will be the chief technology officer in the expanded company.
“MJ is one of the keys that made this such a natural move to make,” Cissel said. “MJ has an incredible amount of vision about where the marketplace is growing.”
Cissel and Shoer have a relationship going back two decades, when Shoer was just starting a technology consulting business and Cissel was working for a tele-communications company.
“We’ve known each other for 22 years, and in that time we’ve been customers of each other and confidantes,” Shoer said.
Over the next six to nine months, Jenaly will morph into Internet & Telephone, changing its name and moving to the Pease location.
Shoer started Jenaly in 1999 in the basement of his home to provide information technology consulting to small and mid-size companies. He said he was focused at the time on helping businesses be smarter about the use of technology. Most needed an IT strategy, most didn’t have one. “There was never a cohesive approach to pull everything together,” he said.
He’s grown from a staff of one – himself – to 11 employees and a client list of about 100 companies within a 30-mile radius of Portsmouth. Once out of his basement, he had an office on Islington Street before settling on the third floor at 1 Greenleaf Woods Drive about 10 years ago.
“We’ve grown the types of services we provide,” said Shoer, changing as technology has changed and developing programs – such as a help desk – to serve clients’ needs. They’ve developed proactive services to, as Shoer said, “Watch and capture issues before the client even knows they’re happening.”
He said he and his employees adhere to the company moniker – “client first” as a way of “thinking of everything from our clients’ point of view.”
Cissel spent the early part of his professional career in the tele-communications industry, getting into providing local telephone service soon after the deregulation of the telecom giants in 1993.
He bought Atlantic Connections, a Portsmouth company, in 1997. It sold to Choice One in 1999 and Cissel stayed on there for a couple of years.
With his business partner, Pete Peterson, they sought other business opportunities after Choice One, creating Internet & Telephone in 2002, first providing voice and data services then moving more toward becoming a managed service provider. They settled initially in North Andover, Massachusetts, ultimately moving to Methuen and opening an office in Portsmouth.
As a telecom and IT service provider, it serves more than 600 business clients and says it is ranked as the 12th largest IT provider in New England. In addition to IT support, Internet & Telephone offers comprehensive telecommunication services including hosted telephones, VoIP, and Cisco phone systems.
“We started Internet & Telephone to procure and provide first class services for our customers’ voice and data needs,” Cissel said.
Internet & Telephone has 40 employees and plans to keep all of the Jenaly employees. Ultimately, it will have three offices – Methuen and Pease and an additional office in Boston in the near future.
“Our goal is to be what we are today,” Cissel said, “a complete solution to our customers.”
Cissel said he was developing a business plan and saw Jenaly as a natural fit.
They have similar philosophies about their approach to business and to customers, Cissel said, and, in order to grow, he needed good people, including a chief technology officer.
“It had always been out there,” Cissel said of his interest in Jenaly. “It became really serious about a year ago when we put together our growth plans for the next five years.”
As a result of the acquisition, each of the company’s clients will benefit from the expanded expertise of the combined groups, Cissel and Shoer said. And, according to Cissel, they’ll be able to take on what has become a backlog of new customers.
“By having extra teammates,” Cissel said, “it allows us to on-board more customers in a particular timeframe.”