When Bill Dubovsky started Comtel Information Services in 1994, he knew the importance of joining the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
“That was one of the first things I did, as soon as I got my certificate and my bank account,” he said with a smile.
Before opening Comtel, Dubovsky held a number of sales and marketing management positions with Digital Equipment Corporation — at the time, the world’s second largest computer company. One of his first challenges there was to market small computers for word and data processing in Staten Island and Brooklyn.
“I figured if you wanted to be a player, you had to develop relationships with decision-makers,” he said.
So, looking for strong local contacts, he turned to a close family member for assistance. His father-in-law, Ed Sheil, who served as a membership rep, volunteer, and ambassador through the years with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, connected him with the people he needed to meet.
That’s why when Dubovsky started his own business, he knew joining the Chamber made sense, to spread the word about how he could improve a business’s competitive edge by reducing telecom expenses.
“Our business model is similar to that of a general insurance agency. We work with organizations to get them the optimal mix of services, from multiple vendors if necessary, appropriate to their needs,” he said.
Dubovsky says what makes Comtel different is that when he meets clients for the first time, he visits their accounts payable department.
“We look to stop the bleeding first, then to make things better,” he adds.
“Due to inadvertent mismanagement compounded over the years, obsolete, unnecessary, or even fraudulent services and line items, along with phantom invoices, can be quite costly. We work with about 60 specialists and resellers nationwide, and can offer our clients the best of all worlds — not just what’s on a single vendor’s truck,” he said. “We’ve saved clients anywhere from 10-60% on their annual telecom expense. One of our first clients was a NYC-based specialty hospital. We saved them over $150,000 the first year alone while improving their disaster recovery backup by sending their phone traffic to two separate central offices. That turned out to be critical after 9/11 when the downtown telecom infrastructure was severely damaged.”
Although most of his clients are not on Staten Island, Dubovsky has stayed with the Chamber for 25 years because of the connections and friendships he’s made.
“As a solo practitioner, it can get lonely out there. But I find that my Chamber membership has been the most valuable way to meet and assist others while developing lasting friendships,” he said. “It’s not just about selling something – it’s about sharing and learning from everyone. For any business person or professional who is truly interested in developing long-term community relationships, there is no single organization more valuable than the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.”