In a new series, Arkansas Money & Politics staff will take you inside some of the most interesting and unusual workplaces in the Natural State. First up in the series is Advanced Cabling Systems. Photography by Janet Warlick.
Advanced Cabling Systems specializes in cabling, fire and security. It describes itself as “one of the leading technology integration companies in the mid-south.” Advanced’s headquarters are at 4950 Northshore Lane in North Little Rock, but it has locations in Lowell, Arkansas; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Ozark, Missouri.
The company started out in 1997 with three employees in one small warehouse; it’s grown to over 170 employees in multiple locations, not least because of the way it treats those employees.
If you sit down with the folks at Advanced, you’ll hear a lot about the company culture. You might hear the phrase “work hard, play hard” – and you’ll believe that the employees do when you see the ping pong table they have in headquarters. Or the stuffed bear in the senior vice president’s office that’s decked out in company gear.
In fact, as you walk around the office, you’ll see more and more around the office that reflects the people who work there. There’s a reason for that. The staff thinks of their corporate headquarters as a physical manifestation of their company culture, so it makes sense that they’d want to keep their surroundings fun.
“We take everything serious about our business except ourselves,” said Michael Kennedy, president of Advanced Cabling Systems.
“I think the whole culture thing is a lot of work,” he said. “I think that’s why people don’t do it.”
In addition to displaying the culture physically in the headquarters – and, one day, they hope, in the rest of the offices – the business uses social media to tell the story of its culture to clients and the world at large.
David Roberts, senior vice president of Advanced, thinks of the company’s culture and benefits package as an investment in the employees.
“It’s hard to find good people,” he said. “And it’s hard to keep those people.”
The culture and benefits help maintain a level of respect and accountability, Roberts said.
“We try to treat everybody like adults and trust everybody to do the right thing,” he said.