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Gene Esopi and Mary Trainor show the 2015 Verizon award for top new logo and top overall bookings

According to a recent Deloitte article, the telecom industry is expected to enjoy continued growth through 2017—driven primarily by mobility solutions and the Internet of Things (IoT). This is continued good news for leading telecom Platinum Master Agent SOVA, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in May.

The company, headquartered in Plains, with a sales support office in Pittston, was formed in 1992 by co-partners Gene Esopi and Mary Trainor with the mission of providing cost effective telecommunications solutions and the highest level of support to the agent community.

Mary and Gene have been friends since high school. At the time they started the company Mary was working for Commonwealth Telephone Company in NEPA (later purchased by Frontier). Gene had an educational background in computer science and was a successful entrepreneur. His import company was based on the master agent model using independent sales representatives. This complementary experience, plus a background in finance for both partners, made starting a telecommunications enterprise a natural choice.

“Early on we faced the same challenges all entrepreneurs and start-ups face, but we never wavered in our commitment to SOVA, its clients, agents and employees,” Mary said. “A little intelligence, a little hard work, and a little luck can overcome all challenges. That determination and focus have paid off for everyone involved.”

The keys to SOVA’s success include:

Agility. Being able to transition effectively over the years as required-moving from selling basic voice services to highly complex data networks and then on to wireless and mobility.

Foresight. The vision to recognize and take advantage of opportunities.

Superior Agent Support. Developing an organization that can promote the success of their valuable sub-agent community.

Excellent Staff. Smart, dedicated employees that understand the industry and the unique business needs of agents, VARs, and MSPs.

While most competitors sell telecom solutions for a range of companies, SOVA has by design worked primarily with one company; choosing to have a deeper, broader knowledge of premier carriers rather than trying to be all things to all people.

“There is significant value for our agents and customers in our Verizon expertise and also in the experience of our employees,” Gene said. “Our office has professionals with more than 100 years combined experience in the telecommunications industry.”

SOVA’s tagline, People Managing Technology, accurately reflects the company’s dedication to outstanding customer service over the years. “It really does sum up our philosophy — that people should manage technology and not the other way around,” Gene said. “Organizations should use technology to improve their business efficiencies and people should use it to improve their lives.”

Today SOVA is an equity company with no short or long-term debt that has the ability to finance expansion and special campaigns.

So what changes do they expect in the next

25 years?

“I can’t imagine,” Gene said. “We’ve all been surprised by the speed at which technology has advanced in the past 10-20 years and I think it will continue to surprise us in the future. More wireless for sure — and more integration in our daily lives. Can’t wait to see what’s next and next and next.”

SOVA’s Timeline

1992. Mary Trainor and Gene Esopi form SOVA, which starts off by reselling long distance services.

1994. SOVA becomes a Verizon (Bell Atlantic) partner. They quickly move from selling basic phone services to consultative selling including data and complex solutions. SOVA adds several major carriers to their portfolio and begins to recruit sub-agents which leads to more and more growth.

2007. SOVA starts working with telesales in addition to premise-based solutions. This creates significant growth and an entirely new revenue stream. SOVA continues to sell data and begins selling basic services through telesales-focusing on the small business market.

2011. Verizon re-launches the Verizon Partner Program — which generates additional benefits.

2014: SOVA becomes Verizon’s first

Platinum Partner.

2014/2015: SOVA enjoys significant sales growth and is recognized as the Top Verizon Partner Program Revenue Producer for both years.

2016: SOVA expands and opens sales support office in Pittston, Pa.

2016:  Verizon selects SOVA to participate in launch of One Talk, Verizon’s 4G LTE-driven unified communications system.

2017: SOVA celebrates 25th anniversary.