NOC Business Group expanding to meet new demand | Local News

NOC Business Group expanding to meet new demand | Local News

Company moving into former bank building in Washington

NOC Business Group fired up a $1 million expansion a month ago that will quadruple its space.

Business at the Washington-based computer repair, IT and internet provider has been booming as demand for its service has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to President Greg Johnston.

That, following years of increasing customer interest, has prompted the company’s move from its current 3,000-square-foot location at 902 E. Sixth St. into the 12,000-square-foot former First Bank building, 1816 Highway A. With the physical expansion, Johnston said he and Vice President Jon Lober plan to grow the 20-person staff to 70 by 2026 as it continues to grow nationally.

NOC, which has $2.5 million in annual revenue, already has doubled its customer base to more than 2,000 in three years, with 95 percent based in Franklin County and the majority business rather than residential customers, he said.

“The amount of footprint we’re getting out there now is substantial, and it’s really exciting for me to see how many people we’re able to help,” Johnston said. “Getting people internet is life-changing in some cases.”

To keep up with demand, NOC expanded into a new line of business last year, installing what is now 18 miles of fiber Wi-Fi cables and four towers around the county. 

“We decided to purchase our own drilling equipment, so we could start putting in fiber ourselves just because the amount of requests we were getting was impossible to keep up with,” Johnston said. 

In 2018, 78 percent of rural residents nationwide used the internet, and that has risen to 90 percent in 2021, according to Pew Research Center. 

Johnston cited his own example of that. In 2016, when he founded internet provider AiroNet, one of the businesses in NOC Business Group, he had moved just outside of Washington where there was no internet connection. Since then, connectivity in the area has greatly increased.

NOC’s renovation of the former bank building is expected to be completed by September with the updates focused on building a collaborative space and including a gym for employees. The majority of the remodel is taking place on the second floor, Lober said.

The first floor will have shared workspaces for rent that were “already kind of built in,” he said. “It worked out really well taking the bank over the way it was.”

NOC is financing the expansion with funding from First State Community Bank, Bank of Franklin County and the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Union-based Cochran Engineering is the architecture firm. Johnston is doing the general contracting, and subcontractors include Eckelkamp Electric, Bond Plumbing Co. and Country Manor Decorating, all based in Washington.

“The exciting part about this remodel for us, or at least for me, is showing the staff that we’re growing in such a way that they’re going to be a part of something bigger,” Lober said.

In addition to AiroNet, NOC includes WashPC, a break-fix and IT support company founded in 2009, and NOC Technology, an IT support company for almost 440 businesses with a national reach, established in 2017.