The birth of the Parsons’ family business, Communications Test Design, Inc., or CTDI, truly epitomizes the spirit of entrepreneurialism. In 1975, sensing the growing telecommunications industry’s need for quality telecom equipment repair services, Jerry Parsons, his dad, Donald, and his brother, Richard, started the company in their family’s garage – and the rest is history!
Through hard work and persistence, they carved-out a business niche that promised and delivered a quality service focused, at first, on diagnostic repair of circuit boards. In time, CTDI’s reputation “preceded” itself; demand for service skyrocketed; and today, CTDI is an industry leader in the telecommunications field offering acknowledged expertise in repair, logistics and component supply of the technical infrastructure of telecom networks.
From the onset, the Parsons knew how to repair and maintain wireline and wireless carriers, cable infrastructure and on-premise equipment. As the family faced the challenge of didn’t growing a burgeoning company, CTDI turned to experts, among them the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC).
By the end of the ‘70s, CTDI was faced with the challenges of staying ahead of the technology curve and internally motivating innovation, while externally expanding to eventually include 40 facilities in North America and 15 facilities located around the globe. How could CTDI grow into a multi-million dollar success story? What resources would be needed to accommodate the company’s phenomenal growth, and how could those resources be tapped? CCEDC would have many of the answers and was willing to partner with the Parsons at the very moment they were ready to leave that family garage and transform CTDI from start-up to high-growth corporation.
Using CCEDC Services
The collaboration between CCEDC and CTDI has spanned decades and involved exploring a variety of business development services. Early on, the Parsons met with CCEDC staff to better appreciate available services and to select strategies consistent with CTDI’s growth plans. CCEDC helped CTDI to network with reputable financial resources including local and regional banks and state agencies. CCEDC would guide the company through the process of selecting its first owned facility in Exton, Pennsylvania. CTDI, with CCEDC’s assistance, obtained a Small Business First Loan (PIDA) from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and purchased a 10,000 square-feet building in West Whiteland Township. That was the first of several property acquisitions tied directly to CTDI growth and success. Future parcels would include footprints in Goshen Corporate Park, Belair Business Park and Highlands Corporate Park – all in Chester County.
The CTDI-CCEDC partnership has proved to be extremely mutually beneficial. When CTDI moved out into the business world at-large, it became a pre-eminent leader in the telecommunications industry with over 7,000 employees worldwide.
In turn, CTDI has been a leading proponent of partnering with CCEDC to acquire requisite business development services. The company has played a founding role in CCEDC’s Innovation Technology Action Group (ITAG) in promoting information technology, communications, and advanced technology with other companies throughout the Southeastern Pennsylvania Region. The result has been stronger and more diverse workforces and greater business success for ITAG members. Additionally, CTDI is an extremely-supportive Hire One “Champion”. Further key CTDI executives have contributed their skills and advice to CCEDC’s Board of Directors and various committees and task forces. Indeed, CTDI has consistently been a generous elite sponsor of CCEDC’s events and programs for years.
Beyond becoming a world leader in telecommunications, nearer to home, CTDI is known throughout Chester County for their philanthropic work supporting United Way, the Archdioceses of Philadelphia, the Chester County Public Safety Training Facility, the YMCA of Brandywine Valley, and the West Chester Children’s Christmas Party. Within their own company, CTDI pioneered CTDI CARES, care assistance and resources for employee support. The mission of this program is to provide funding and support to employees and their families while dealing with serious illness. In addition, many employees serve as leaders on local community non-profit boards.
Since modest beginnings in 1975, CTDI has deservedly earned a distinguished reputation, not only in the communications service industry worldwide, but also in the communities where its employees work, live, and contribute to the quality of life.