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Assurance Media acquires Sussex cabling co.

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Assurance Media has grown from just a handful of employees to more than 70 as IT needs have grown. | PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK WALLACE PHOTOGRAPHY / ASSURANCE MEDIA

WILMINGTON – Assurance Media, a fast-growing cabling company that installs infrastructure for internet and media, has acquired a Sussex County competitor as it looks to expand its geographic market.

Headquartered off Centerville Road in Prices Corner, Assurance Media is led by siblings Jennifer McKenzie and Mark Stellini. They founded the firm in 2009 after acquiring the former cabling division of Info Systems Inc. after it was bought out by MTM Technologies.

Led by siblings Mark Stellini and Jennifer McKenzie, Assurance Media aims to serve the mid-Atlantic. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSURANCE MEDIA

Assurance Media has grown from about eight employees to more than 70, while increasing sales from $1.5 million to around $18 million, Stellini said. Eyeing additional growth and capacity, it acquired Milford-based Under/Comm Inc. in June – the third acquisition for Assurance Media in four years. The terms of the deal between the private companies were not disclosed.

“We were very familiar with Under/Comm; we competed against each other regularly with some mutual customers, especially the state of Delaware,” McKenzie told Delaware Business Times.

Led by President David Hermansader, the 28-year-old Under/Comm has supplied cabling and audio/visual services to the Delmarva region. The two companies had been working on the deal for over three years, Stellini said. Assurance Media has a number of clients in Sussex County and Maryland’s Eastern Shore that led team members to frequently make long drives from its Wilmington-area base.

The addition of Under/Comm’s established team and Milford warehouse and offices will also help Assurance Media expand its presence south. Stellini said that they plan to target the mid-Atlantic region and expect to grow northward to the Lancaster, Pa., area next.

Its well-regarded reputation has led its crews to more frequently work out-of-market though, as its developed relationships with big-name companies like Wawa, M&T Bank, Mountaire, ChristianaCare, Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare, and more. It’s also got a number of contracts with Delaware state and county agencies and school districts.

With all of the opportunities ahead, they could conceivably add dozens of positions in the near future, McKenzie said. Hiring has been difficult recently, however, and they’ve leaned into a new apprenticeship program that has provided 12 workers for the company.

Assurance Media has also contended with supply shortages that have plagued many industries, especially in construction.

“We were a just-in-time inventory company before all this. Now we have inventory,” Stellini said, noting the company recently received a shipment of 2.5 million linear feet of cable and another similar shipment is set to arrive soon. “It’s one of the reasons why we needed the transaction to close: we needed the warehouse. The day we closed we took an 85-pallet order down to Milford.”

Although it started in computer cabling, security and A/V work make up nearly half of Assurance Media’s sales. | PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK WALLACE PHOTOGRAPHY / ASSURANCE MEDIA

Stellini first began working in cabling 25 years ago, when Info Systems was using outside contractors to run miles of computer cables at its projects but found unsatisfactory results. When he acquired the cabling division from MTM though, he didn’t want to be a one-dimensional business, so Assurance Media branched out and began offering audio/visual and security services as well. Today, they account for about 40% of the company’s revenue, he said.

“Of course, all those technologies pull low-voltage cable, so we’ll probably keep that ratio for a while,” he said. “The next place you’ll see us in is efficient building products that are all doing low-voltage right now, including lights and HVAC systems.”

McKenzie said that the post-COVID move toward hybrid and remote work has also convinced many companies to invest in IT and audio/visual upgrades to keep their teams connected.

“We expect the demand to continue,” she said. “Even though some locations are coming back to the office slowly, they’re actually redoing a lot of their cubicle space for more of a telecommuting environment.”

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