Company grows with demand in fiber optic

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Celerity Integrated Services Inc. principals are (from left) Ronald E. Leight Jr., Ronald E. Leight Sr.
and Deron Leight. (Contributed photo)
Celerity Integrated Services Inc. principals are (from left) Ronald E. Leight Jr., Ronald E. Leight Sr. and Deron Leight. (Contributed photo)

Celerity Integrated Services Inc. is one telecommunications company that aspires to be defined by its name.

“The word Celerity means fast and agile,” said Darren Emma, who handles business development for the Bucks County fiber optic services provider. “This is a company that is truly on the rise.”

The privately held company, owned by Ronald E. Leight Sr. and his sons, Ronald Jr. and Deron, is celebrating one year at 3500 AM Drive in Quakertown. The Leight family built the multimillion building last year to provide office space for its 31 employees and a warehouse and storage space for expensive fiber optic equipment and bucket trucks.

The Leights opened Celerity in 2002, recognizing that the ever-expanding world of fiber optic networks would keep them busy for a long time to come.

“Fiber slicing is our bread and butter, but we design, build, service and install wireless infrastructure and perform emergency restoration services,” Emma said. “The bulk of our customers are public utilities, and we are contractors for build-to-suit companies that own cell towers.”

Co-owner Deron Leight, a liberal arts graduate turned cell tower climber, said he knows he stepped into the right profession straight out of college. His father, Ron Sr., has made a lifetime career out of telecommunications and done well. And brother Ron Jr. also changed career paths to join the family business.

“There are a tremendous amount of cell towers in a fiber optic network, and there is a great need to keep up with all the data, and wireless providers need to increase coverage and capacity,” Deron Leight said. “We build and work on telephone poles that have small cell towers on them and all of the same landlines.”

It has been well over a decade since the Leights started Celerity, and while the equipment may have changed, the infrastructure has not, Deron Leight said.

The operation brings in $5 million in revenue annually and continues to expand its workforce, creating new jobs all the time, according to Leight, who said that workers are mobile, taking jobs throughout the U.S.

Leight said that he no longer climbs towers and noted that Celerity does not work on large cell towers anymore because of the cost of workers’ compensation insurance.

Rather, crew members work out of bucket trucks on telephone poles that often have miniature cell-tower structures. Leight said telephone poles with small cell towers are a new trend and found mainly in metropolitan neighborhoods.

He said that one of Celerity’s most-recent large projects was part of the government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a 1,800-mile statewide fiber optic network linking Pennsylvania schools, colleges and universities. Additional projects included emergency fiber optic restoration services for major electric utility companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as for other businesses in the region.

Public utility clients, on condition of anonymity, said Celerity has a good reputation, has worked for them extensively and has performed a multitude of services in a timely and discrete manner.

Christopher Black, chief information officer for H.A. Services LLC, said his company has been a client of Celerity for more than eight years. Celerity provides the information technology management firm and its clients with fiber optic network design, construction, optimization and emergency maintenance services.

“They recently responded to a telecommunication infrastructure failure for one of our mission critical customers,” Black said. “Their expedience and technical capabilities are beyond compare. They truly value quality and customer satisfaction.”

According to Deron Leight, Celerity’s most requested work is done for telecommunications carriers, providing fiber optic construction, slicing and testing.

“Due to all the mergers going on with telecommunications carriers, our customer base has shrunk, but our revenue has grown. In some ways, it is easier,” Leight said. “It’s the proverbial eggs in one basket. You may only have 10 customers, but those customers have larger budgets.”

In the next five years, he anticipates inevitable growth in the industry, he said.

“The growth in demand for capacity of wireless devices, coupled with the emergence of small cell and distributed antenna systems, has created a refocused need for the services we provide,” Leight said.

Emma, who said he has been with the company more than two years, said that in that time frame he has seen sales double and an increase in workforce by 40 percent.

Both Leight and Emma agree that health care, health insurance, finance and education are industries that will demand Celerity’s knowledge and expertise, and the company will have to continue to sharpen its skill set in those sectors.

Emma said that, for obvious reasons, it is critical that a health care facility be linked by fiber in every room.

More than ever, the company is seeing these types of facilities getting connected on their own network to reduce monthly landline costs.

“Fiber used to be a dirty word,” Emma said, jokingly. “But now you hear it, and your ears pop up. … It isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

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