By Russ Levanway, CEO

Think about how integral the internet is to your life. If you have children in school, you know that more and more, teachers are assigning online coursework and homework. Furthermore, you most likely receive their report card via email or the internet. If you’re job hunting, where do you look? Most likely somewhere on the web. Or if you need an affordable vehicle? Or a map and schedule of bus routes? Or access to your bank account? You get the idea. Life is possible without the internet, of course, but having access to it goes a long way toward enhancing both our productivity and our connectivity.

Unfortunately, according to the White House, 25 percent of Americans still don’t have internet access at home, despite the fact that the United States is its birthplace.

“Fewer than half of households with less than a high school education are plugged into the internet. So, in other words, the people who could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.”

These are words from a speech President Obama gave in July announcing the Connect Home initiative, which provides equal access to the internet for low-income and disadvantaged families through the work of housing authorities and developers of new-build construction. Connect Home has many similarities to California’s own Assembly Bill 1299 (AB 1299) of 2008.

AB 1299 is an initiative with one objective: To close the “digital divide” by setting aside state funds specifically for connecting low-income housing communities to the internet. The condition for receiving AB 1299 funding is that residents must be given access to high-speed internet free of charge.

At TekTegrity, we think a lot about how our mission of “Lives, Enriched; Productivity, Enhanced,” translates to the real-world work that we do. We see how the internet has become “The Great Equalizer” in many ways, how it offers a level playing field for academic opportunities to employment opportunities. So, when we learned about AB 1299 and Connect Home, we also saw a chance to further our mission as a company by providing people the infrastructure they need to be successful.

Last year, TekTegrity acquired another IT company, Innovative IT in Fresno in part to accelerate our involvement in connecting residents of low-income homes across California to the internet through a responsible, sustainable, and holistic technology plan. So far, Innovative IT has deployed over 90 projects across the state, from San Diego to Redding, and we expect in the next several years that, with the Connect Home initiative, access to the internet will expand throughout California and nationwide.

When a company’s mission is fulfilled, everyone wins. In this case, the most obvious benefit goes to the residents, but the developers also get the satisfaction of providing a specialized service to those residents and TekTegrity and Innovative IT technicians have the benefit of seeing a higher purpose in their work.

Are there fresh, new opportunities out there for your company to fulfill its mission and spark a win-win?

Russ Levanway, CEO
// Russ is a sought-after public speaker, technology expert, and community leader. As the CEO of an ever-growing managed services provider with offices in both San Luis Obispo and Fresno, Russ’s goal is to sustain and grow an IT company that provides incredible value for clients, and a great workplace for his team. When not charting out the future for TekTegrity, Russ serves on several non-profit boards, volunteers at the People’s Kitchen and travels the world with his wife and two daughters. More on Russ>>