By Conner Williams
After nearly a decade of managing business accounts for multiple community-based telecom cooperatives, Cascade Divide Director of Sales Levi Manselle knows what it means to provide reliable, personalized service.
He’s seen his fair share of technological changes and innovations throughout his career, from fiber optic internet infrastructure builds, next generation streaming video apps, and advancements in voice services. But despite industry changes, one thing remains constant for Levi: being there for his clients.
“It’s not so much about technology as it is about the relationship with our clients,” Levi said. “Technology is always changing and so are the needs of our clients, so acting more as a guide is the approach that I like to take. I try to keep their best interests at heart and advocate what is ultimately going to be the most successful solution for them.”
But while changing technologies and industry standards are inevitable, Levi believes that true success comes from managing the things that can’t necessarily be prepared for.
“If there’s one thing that I know, it’s not necessarily planning for the future that makes you successful, it’s taking it a step further and planning for disaster,” Levi remarked. “As we recognize those core principals, those core functions that are mission critical, the question is how can we reach a higher perfection of ensuring that rock-solid stability.”
The Cascade Divide Data Center was designed with this principle at the forefront of all others: to provide a failsafe solution for clients’ data storage needs in the event of natural disasters. And with the potential for a large-scale seismic event driven from the Cascadia Subduction Zone looming at an unknown point in the future, the concern for secure data management has never been greater. Organizations that provide essential services – local government, education, internet, and banking, for example – all have core systems with data storage needs, and Cascade Divide is uniquely positioned to offer secure, redundant colocation services.
“By utilizing the staff we have with all of their expertise, we’ve worked on the carrier side much more than the colocation side,” Levi said. “But when you get down to it, we have our own central office, we’ve run head-ends, we have rack space in carrier hotels and data centers, and we’re heavily involved with finding efficiencies like peering with NWAX [Northwest Access Exchange] and others.”
“One of the things that excites me about the data center is the fact that we’re housing the backbone for anchor institutions that provide all of the services that we rely on from day to day,” Levi mentioned.
That same excitement and pride in providing essential services is present throughout the data center’s new management team. A majority ownership in Cascade Divide was recently purchased by Secure Data Inc., a joint partnership between DirectLink and Scio Mutual Telephone Association (SMTA). Both of these telecommunications cooperatives have provided communications services for over a century driven by experienced teams of local people.
“We have a lot of talented and extremely intelligent people that have worn many hats and have grown to be flexible and innovative by nature,” Levi stated. “We’re not a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees, so we’re constantly looking for ways to future-proof our structures, and that applies to the data center as well.”
Levi began his telecom career in 2014 with DirectLink, a 119-year-old cooperative that provides internet, WiFi, and telephony services to residents and businesses in the Canby and Mt. Angel communities in Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley. Levi has continued the responsibility of caring for the connection needs of local businesses, many of which with the cooperative has decades-long relationships. Before DirectLink, Levi founded a guitar manufacturing and distribution company in 2001 and then went to work for Clackamas Federal Credit Union as a Business Development Specialist. He has served on the Boards of Directors for multiple local Chambers of Commerce and on advisory boards for various economic development committees.
“What really sets us apart is that our core fabric is our neighbors, friends, relatives, serving them in our community. I think we keep that same philosophy with us into the data center realm by focusing on how we can best serve those clients.”
Levi is a man of many words that values a good story. He enjoys making personal connections with his clients and takes pride in the work that he does. Levi is passionate about helping local businesses meet their goals and is excited for the opportunity to help foster economic growth in Bend and the surrounding areas while remaining committed to quality, reliable service from local people.
“We’re invested in the northwest, we’re born and bred here, and you hear all the time that everything is in the cloud now, so why can’t the cloud be in our own backyard in Bend?” Levi said.