Johnathon Shepherd is always ready to catch a flight. He has a packed bag in his Americom Technologies Group office containing tools needed for electrical or telecommunications repair work, which could take him anywhere in the United States.
Americom Technologies in Owasso, formed in mid-2016 as an electrical and telecommunications contractor, is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business.
“Our projects have been for the Department of Defense, the Air Force, Navy and Marines,” said Shepherd, the firm’s president. “We have worked locally at the Air National Guard, the Muskogee Veterans Administration, the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration and Tinker Air Force Base.”
Civilian commercial projects have included electrical and cellular communications work for Bama Pie, Kimberly Clark, Union Public Schools, the City of Owasso, Jim Glover and others.
“We started on the technology side, doing network cabling, access control, CCTV (closed-circuit television), security cameras, data centers, the network side of things from the wiring and cabling back to data centers that provide computer connectivity back to the ISP, to AT&T and Cox.”
Shepherd, with a 30 percent military disability, said veterans are given hiring preference, but not everyone on the 18-member staff has a service connection. Some are veteran supporters.
Shepherd, a U.S. Marine sergeant who was a helicopter crew chief, served from November 1997 to December 2002.
He then went to college and Veterans Administration vocational rehabilitation while working various jobs during the next five years.
In 2007, a friend introduced Shepherd to the communications industry, and he learned everything he could about it before starting a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business in 2008 with other veterans as partners.
He led the Owasso business until the middle of 2016.
“My wife Jessica and I ran that company at night and on weekends from our home while I worked other jobs,” he said. “Finally, in 2014 I was able to step away from extra work and focus on the disabled veteran-owned company.”
Two years later, Americom Technologies Group was formed.
“I always have had the entrepreneurial mindset,” Shepherd said. “It was something that was going to happen. Working for someone else never fit.
“Starting my own company gave me the opportunity to back to the base, the military in some form or fashion. That was the goal of my first company, helping the warfighter. The electrical and communications business is a means to do just that.”
Jessica Shepherd stood by her husband of 19 years during difficult times, ready to help. She later learned the communications side of the business mostly selling material.
Johnathon didn’t get discouraged, she noted.
“I encouraged him and he always looked for people that would help him grow and show him the way,” Jessica said. “He is a leader in his own right. I told him that he could make it work, and I knew he could.”
Johnathon Shepherd noted the family drained its savings to start the company, but the firm went from negative to positive within seven months.
“I take quite a bit of pride in that the team I have built helped us get to this point and grow,” he said.
Americom Technologies’ success contrasts to the seven years required to make the previous company successful. While the core business is federal projects, the only difference between commercial work is that the federal pays the bills.
Americom Technologies Group is growing and now looking toward the residential market with security, camera and monitoring systems. The future goal is a one-stop shop for customers, Shepherd said.
“It was scary starting Americom Technologies,” Jessica Shepherd said. “There is never going to be a perfect time for anything. You must have a leap of faith and go for it.”