With a father who designed data centers for IBM and early memories of accompanying him to jobsites, it’s easy to think Protocol Networks’ founders Adam and Nick Belesimo were destined for careers in technology. But initially, both worked outside of IT, and held leadership positions at non-technology companies. Eventually they were drawn back to “the family business” and devoted time and energy to cultivate a deep understanding of networking technologies. After working as key players on large scale technology projects for American Tower (Adam) and IBM (Nick), they wanted to leverage their practical experience and Networking Architecture skills. So, the brothers founded Protocol Networks in 2000.
The first Protocol clients share the same portfolio as businesses we work with today. Most are mid-sized companies who are evolving or want to do something new. Whether it’s figuring out how to combine networks in a merger or working with a business to expand into new territories, our goal is to help clients navigate changes and transition to their next phase.
As the Definition of Networking Expanded, so Did Protocol Networks
After Ten successful years, showcasing double digit growth, Protocol started adding more full-time staff members to broaden our knowledge base and services. Around this time, Adam Belesimo and Philip Rogers (CIO/CTO) happened to run into each other at a meeting. Adam and Philip went to school together but had lost contact. At the time, Philip was running an international team for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Previously, he ran the Network Operations Center (NOC) at AOL during its growth in the 1990s and had been part of the Nextel/Sprint merger, working on their 4G rollout.
Within a year, Philip had joined Protocol Networks, bringing experience in managed services, NOC and help desk. These soon became part of Protocol Networks core offerings.
Right-sized company with an inverted structure
Our growth at Protocol coincided with changes in what clients needed and expected from their technology. We’ve had opportunities to expand further, but we wanted to retain our initial client base and chose to “right-size” our company with an inverted business model. We consciously choose to have more senior than junior employees and at least one member of the leadership team is involved in every project. A decision-maker never needs to be “looped-in” to make a swift, strategic call because they’ve been involved the entire time.
The senior management structure also brings a depth of experiences and perspectives to the Protocol team. We have a “large company” understanding of what’s going on, but we’re still relatively small. We understand the big picture but also get our hands dirty and make sure we finish the project. Our approach isn’t what you’d find at a large consulting firm or in a startup. It’s a “New England casual” mentality.
We want to be challenged by our clients. We enjoy detailed strategy conversations where we figure out how to architect what our clients want.
Local presence, global support
Protocol started out with 2 employees, providing networking support to Rhode Island businesses. Today, our client base is almost exclusively new England, but we support them globally. A company we work with might be based in Massachusetts but have employees in Japan or Switzerland. We’re able to support our clients wherever they do business.
Committed to Our Community
Giving back to our local community is one of our core values. We regularly partner with other local businesses and support charitable efforts, like a holiday giving tree benefiting My Brother’s Keeper. Participating in this program eases the stress families feel during the holidays and brings joy to children throughout Rhode Island.
We Don’t Talk About Change, We Enable Transitions
We built our services based on requests we consistently receive from clients. We’re confident in our ability to deliver what we promise and will tell clients when it’s better not to do a project. Every member of the Protocol leadership team has been in our client’s shoes. We treat every organization we interact with how we want to be treated in that situation. When a project isn’t a fit, we’re upfront about it. We advocate for our clients, and give honest, direct advice. After a company works with us they know they can call or exchange emails with us whenever they want to bounce around ideas or have a question.
Focusing on actual needs and working on behalf of our clients’ best interests puts us in a strong position to enable transitions – not simply talk about change. We lay out the solution and the steps needed to reach the goal. It’s not theoretical. We get out there, accomplish objectives and complete the project.