It all began in the basement of Bill Well’s house in the town of North Greenbush, Rensselear County, N.Y., in the late 1940s. It began as a part-time hobby, fixing TVs and radios.
This was back in the days when two-radio was not very widely used. It was used primarily by Public Safety (Police). In the early days (after WWII), the FCC only granted station licenses to very few business users. One of the first was taxi companies. This was followed by businesses that carried a perishable product, like ready mix concrete, ice, etc.
Bill Wells was at that time approached by Motorola to become a installation and service provider for Public Safety Systems, here in the Capital District of N.Y., and in 1950 Wells Communication Service was established. The company grew, as Motorola sold more and more two-way radio systems in the area.
Edward J Kehn Sr., CEO - Edward J. Kehn Jr., President
In 1976, Bill Wells decided it was time for him to retire and take life a little easier. So the business was sold to Ed Kehn, who at that time had been working for Motorola for almost 15 years, selling and designing radio systems all over the United States, and at the time was sales manager of airline markets.
In l986, Ed and his son, Michael, who was at that time president of the company and worked in every facet of the business for the past 10 years, purchased Ben’s Communications in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
In order to do this we would need the presence of a manager. Michael then called on his brother Ed Jr., who was living in the sunshine state of Florida and working for Motorola, to come north and run this newly acquired business in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
In late 1997, we purchased J & L Communications in Great Bend (Watertown), N.Y. Wells Communications has approximately 50 employees and covers the entire Northern New York State Area.
It has always been the purpose and goal of this company “TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU TO DO BUSINESS WITH US.” Because we know the only time we see you is when you have a problem, and it is our job to make your problem go away as easily as possible.
The 2007 Business of the Year is Wells Communication Service.
President Ed Kehn said the chamber's recognition was very exciting.
"Our employees and customers are everything," he said.
His sister, Secretary/Treasurer Maureen Milanese, said the company offers much more than just phones.
The company provides 911 system equipment and support to emergency-services departments in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and other counties. It also provides equipment and services to many other local first responders.
"Public safety (service) is our mainstay," Wells Communications Vice President Mike Milanese said. That was most evident during the ice storm of '98, when the company helped keep emergency-services departments' communication equipment up and running.
"We're kind of behind the scenes in keeping all these emergency services going," Kehn said. Wells Communications was instrumental in designing and installing the equipment that restored the Northway call boxes to service in 2006.
Wells Communications has been an authorized Motorola service center since 1950, when it was incorporated in the Troy area.
Mrs. Milanese said her parents, Maureen and Ed Kehne Sr., purchased Wells Communications in 1976.
The company established a presence in Plattsburgh in 1978 with the purchase of Ben's Communications.
"Our employees and this community have embraced us. This is a wonderful place to live," Mrs. Milanese said.
Wells Communications has 47 employees, including 14 in Plattsburgh, with offices in Plattsburgh, Troy and Watertown and a small branch in Canton.