From the Heartland to the Pacific Northwest to the mountains of Colorado, Casey Haarberg’s career has taken him to new heights from his original career path. While at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Casey thought he would have a career as a teacher and shaping the minds of the next generation. However, that was not to be the case. After studying in Kearney, Casey quickly developed an interest in technology integration and fell into the industry by chance. It was a decision he has never looked back on.
We recently sat down with Casey Haarberg, Executive Vice President, to learn a little more about another of E2’s owners and his journey from entry level technician to the head of sales and owner for a premier integrated IT solutions provider.
E2 Insider: Casey, how did you start your career in the telecommunications industry?
Casey Haarberg: My career started by working as a DC power technician contractor for Qwest, installing in central offices. This included backup battery, long haul fiber systems and DC power infrastructure installations. I would travel to national and international job locations 300+ days a year for the first 8 years of my career. Being involved with the Qwest central office space and those being tied to the Qwest Cyber Centers, I started to do more work on the data center side and quickly realized that I really enjoyed being in that environment. Once I made the transition, I quickly went from a technician and moved up the chain holding many different operational positions.
E2 Insider: Having such a strong background on the technical side, what led you to sales?
Casey Haarberg: A couple of mentors at the time suggested I try my hand in business development as they knew I had a gift for networking. They felt that my technical knowledge would be valuable in concert with my ability to connect with people and build relationships. I would be able to collaborate with customers and prospects about their projects as a trusted advisor and build a relationship based on trust. I strongly believe that sales is more than just selling products and services; it’s about relationship building and providing solutions for tomorrow’s needs. A strong suit of mine is cultivating relationships which turn into long-term strong partnerships. I want to be the person who walks into the room and the customer/prospect knows they can trust their business requirements with E2 Optics.
E2 Insider: E2 Optics has seen exponential growth over the past few years, what would you say is our secret sauce? What makes our customers come back time and time again?
Casey Haarberg: Honestly, I believe it is the relationships we build with our customers and the technology solutions we provide. I want our customers to know they are not just a financial figure to us, rather, they feel they are a part of the E2 Optics family. The relationship building component of our sales team is not just part of our culture, it is an expectation I have for each of our team members. Having overseen our sales team from day one, I make it a point to not only train our sales team on how to sell, but how to be a valuable resource in the world of sales. For me, it is more important to have quality over quantity. I would prefer each sales team member have 20 customers who they really focus on and have relationships with, rather than 200 customers who they lose track of because they simply do not have enough time to spend with each of them. I also want the sales team to understand the responsibility of selling for the greater good of E2 Optics and providing for all our E2 families across the country. And because I want the team to look at the bigger picture, I also stress the importance of building internal relationships across all facets of the organization. It’s much more rewarding to build as a team rather than feeling like just an individual siloed on an island.
E2 Insider: What led you to joining E2 Optics with Kristi Alford-Haarberg and Edward Thompson?
Casey Haarberg: At the time, I was living and working in the Seattle area but was not very happy with my current work situation. I was entertaining the idea of relocating back to Denver and closer to my family in Nebraska. Having known Kristi for a while, she reached out and mentioned she and Ed were starting up a structured cabling company in the Denver area. She asked if I would like to be a part of the team. After a month or so of mulling things over, I reached back out and said it sounded like a great opportunity.
E2 Insider: What trends are you seeing in our industry post Pandemic?
Casey Haarberg: We were very blessed during the Pandemic with the work that came our way related to the mission critical data center space. We did have to pivot how we performed our work as we had to work in tight spaces with fewer people due to the restrictions. We are still seeing a huge uptick in data center opportunities with less obstacles, so it’s nice getting to the new norm. Now that we seem to be coming out of the Pandemic, the SMB and Enterprise TI opportunities are much different now than several years ago. Many businesses are moving towards a hybrid work environment. Instead of having so many individual offices or cubicles, our customers are looking for common spaces or hoteling stations with state-of-the-art audio-visual solutions, such as huddle spaces with video conferencing capabilities. There is also a greater demand for more robust DAS and Wi-Fi wireless solutions.
E2 Insider: What industry is E2 Optics looking to expand in 2023?
Casey Haarberg: We are still seeing heavy growth in the healthcare industry. Most regions across the country have not slowed in building hospitals, MOBs, and assisted living centers. The need for connectivity and technology solutions is rampantly growing. This connectivity is not just for patients and visitors to be able to surf the internet while they wait, but it allows for the healthcare professional to be more proficient at doing their job. As patient records continue to become digitalized, charting continues to go from paper to computers. Patient rooms now have computer stations for healthcare workers to make notes instantly on a patient’s file. The nurse call button requires structured cabling to be able to connect each patient’s room to a central location for instant connection between the nurse and patient. As our population ages and the next generations continue to technologically evolve, these solutions will only become more important to the future of healthcare. This is where E2 Optics can help not only update facilities for current requirements, but in planning for future needs.
E2 Insider: What advice do you have for anyone looking to build a career in the telecommunications industry?
Casey Haarberg: Do not be afraid to try. Take a chance and apply for a position that best suits your interests or career goals. When you begin, listen to your colleagues and shadow them. Ask questions. Absorb as much information as you can and speak up when you have an idea or question. Many of the most successful people in our industry that I know, started from an entry level position and worked their way up through a combination of hard work, determination, and an understanding of the importance of working together to achieve team goals.
For more information about current career opportunities at E2 Optics, click here.