“Keeping-up” with Integrated Communications (POST#2)


September 11, 2013, a few employees of Integrated Communications trekked to Chicago for the Cloud Partners Event! Many things were learned, and the keynote speaker really portrayed the importance and relevance of “the cloud”, but, of course, we also had quite the Chicago adventure.

Check out pictures from our Chicago outing and the great experiences we endured – including the engagement of two Integrated employees!



We all bought train and bus basses for Chicago, and I’m sure we all HIGHLY recommend going this route if you’re ever in the area. It was a convenient and affordable way to travel around the great city.

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They keynote speaker for the event was excellent. She had some interesting statistics and bits of insight – definitely a great choice!



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Who knew pants could be art? Chicago did!

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Buddy Guy came out on stage while Setara and Nick had FRONT-ROW seats at Buddy Guy’s Legends! It was an awesome experience, the music was great and the gumbo was fantastic!

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Dialogue Conferencing was spectacular and invited all four of us to attend the lake and river boat tour with them! We captured some beautiful scenery shots while on the boat. Enjoy!


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This place was amazing! The FREE zoo captured out hearts with Lions, Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!

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Yes, we went UP, WAY UP (about 110 floors) to the top of the tallest tower – once named the Sears tower, this tower comes equip with a sky deck, and one heck-of-a-view!

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While in Chicago (on the last day and last stop), Nick proposed to his girlfriend and Integrated employee, Setara. Right next to Lincoln Park at the butterfly conservatory, this couple got engaged – It was SPECTACULAR. I love you Nick – I DO 🙂

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How We Handled a Business Emergency: Disaster Recovery

The usual even-flow of office dynamics at Integrated Communications was no different yesterday, September 4th, than every other day at the small business in Golden Valley, MN. Kip and Thalina headed-out around 9:30 am to meet a client, Sandy shuffled through the morning mail, Mary was hard at work in the front of the office, and Nate, Nick, and Setara were wrapped-up in some calls in the three back offices within close proximity to our D-Mark. All was silent, all was still for a brief moment in telecom history, when a POP emanated from our electrical room, followed by heavy drilling noises. “What was that”, Nick yelled. “I’m not sure; is someone drilling”, Setara questioned. Thankfully Sandy made her way to the back of the office building to give Nick some mail, and that’s when she noticed the fire.

Our morning was filled with chaos, fire-fighters, a local news crew and a disaster recovery plan as our office encountered a small disaster; an electrical fire broke-out in our back electrical room.

How did we handle the disaster at our office?

Besides a crazed pregnant lady running panicked out of the building, the employees at Integrated were ready to contain the disaster, and start implementing a solution.

Our Steps:

  1. Get everyone out of the building and to safety – We evacuated the building and stood a good distance away from the perimeter of our office
  2. Call 9-11 – The police were informed of the fire and the location of our building ASAP (further on this topic will be discussed)
  3. Extinguish Fire? – It was possible for our two shining heroes at Integrated (Nick and Nate) to locate a fire extinguisher and put the fire out, and then exit the building to get to safety while public safety officials arrived
  4. Notify Boss – Although Kip was on his way to meet with a client, we called him immediately to inform him of the situation ensuing at Integrated
  5. Speak with Public Safety Officials – After a few fire trucks arrived and the men and women of the Golden Valley Fire Department did their diligence in assessing the disaster, we spoke with the fire-Chief and received information on what may have occurred, and the proper steps to take now that the fire has been terminated.
  6. Contact proper channels – Insurance, Electrician, Clean-up Crew, and our folk at A Couple of Gurus (IT Company in MN) were called within minutes of the incident to be informed and to gear-up in an effort to help us solve any problems that may have occurred. (Thankfully, A Couple of Gurus accommodated our server worries and backed-up our entire system within a few hours of the fire).
  7. Go to lunch to debrief and come-up with a company game plan – After the event took place, and the proper people were notified, we ventured out to Doolittle’s for a quick lunch and company chat about what our next steps will be. While the office was to be cleaned and fumigated that night and the following day, we decided it was safer for the employees’ health to work from home until Friday (or further notice of safety has been recommended).

A HUGE piece of our disaster recovery plan was knowing who to call in case of an emergency. All of our bases were covered, and the proper people were informed of our situation within a moment’s notice. Great partnerships and equipment also hold value at a time when disaster strikes: Dave Johnson with Velocity Telephone graciously offered office space if necessary until our office and system were cleared for work…

And, on that note, the use of our VOIP phone system through Velocity Telephone came in handy in several ways on the day we needed it most. When the fire started, our phone lines were in flames as well – fortunately, with our VOIP phone system we were able to dial out to 9-11 without operating phone lines. Furthermore, our plug-and-play VOIP phone system made the capability of our employees working from home extremely feasible! Anywhere there is Internet, we are able to plug in our office phones and work – what a great feeling.

**Make sure your company is prepared for a disaster, no matter how big or small the event may be


And now for some pictures…