The Cleveland-based, business-only fiber network, Everstream, plans to open a Fort Wayne office as part of a 2020 buildout that it says will make it the Midwest’s premier fiber business broadband provider.

With more than 13,000 miles of fiber and speeds up to 100 gigabits per second, the build out will bring it to five more Midwest markets and extend its fiber route miles to 15,000 by the end of the year.

“Everstream’s goals for 2020 are aggressive,” president and CEO Brett Lindsey said in an announcement. “We actively continue our network build to provide high-capacity, low-latency connectivity to businesses throughout the Midwest.

“At the same time, we are also strategically pursuing acquisition and partnership opportunities that will help us reach our goals more quickly while densifying the network already in place. Because of the tremendous growth we’re experiencing, 2020 is going to be an exciting year for Everstream and our customers.”

In addition to Fort Wayne, the buildout will include Chicago; St. Louis; Dayton, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky. Offices in the five cities will employ about 100.

Everstream invested $70 million expanded its route miles by 30% last year, densifying its Cleveland network and bringing its high-capacity, low-latency business broadband services to Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio.

The super-regional broadband company specializing in fiber-based business Ethernet, internet and data center products and services announced plans about a year ago to build out dense metro fiber networks in a dozen Midwest markets.

That announcement came about four months after the company’s acquisition by Australia-based AMP Capital, which provided a capital infusion for Everstream purchases, greenfield network builds, and organic infrastructure growth and development.

Bailey to speak for Founders Spark

Stephen Bailey, owner of With a PH Digital Marketing & Development, was scheduled to speak on turning turmoil into gratitude for a 6 p.m. Feb. 19 startup community building event of Founders Spark.

Bailey grew up in a conservative Fort Wayne religious community where he felt forced to hide his sexual orientation. During the Founders Spark event at Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry St., he will share life lessons on developing the courage needed to master our destinies.

“It took years of having the courage to face some of his biggest challenges before Stephen stepped out of a life of shame, sadness, and codependency, and created one he loved,” an announcement of the event said.

“He left a management position in corporate America and opened his business full-time. Overcoming numerous obstacles, Stephen was determined to follow his heart,” it said.

“Stephen now lives a fulfilling existence. He’s a shining embodiment of someone who was able to overcome incredible odds to create a life of abundance. Join us for this inspiring event as Stephen shares with us his most vulnerable moments and tells us how this resurgence into a beautiful life came to be.”

The free event will have a cash bar and food provided by Caliente. For more information, see or go to

Engage offers IT, management consulting

Scott Kerchner has started an information technology and management consultancy to help small businesses in the region solve technical problems impeding their ability to deliver products and services efficiently.

Topeka-based Engage Business Solutions, LLC, began offering clients technology support and solutions last October over a wide range of networking, cloud, hardware, software and security services.

“We work closely with each of our clients to apply appropriate technologies foremost from the perspective of the business owner or manager,” Kerchner, president of Engage, said in an announcement.

“In each case, our shared goal is to add long-term value for each of our clients to better engage their customers, increase efficiencies, improve security, reduce costs, and enhance overall customer experiences,” he said.

Kerchner has extensive information technology management experience with a variety of northeast Indiana manufacturers, which has familiarized him with a wide range of solutions.

“We do not pretend to fit all our clients into a one-sized-fits-all scheme that includes monthly recurring fees that provide little security, real business value, or customer appeal,” he said.

“Instead, we strive to partner with each client to assess the immediate problems, share our relevant knowledge, and provide a range of long-term solutions designed to help each small business excel and achieve its growth goals.”

More information on Engage and its services is available at

Build Institute to start 2020 courses

Build Institute Fort Wayne’s business development education program for startups and early-stage companies plans start three more courses this month and next month.

The city’s Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District offers the courses to guide individuals through the process of creating a business plan.

They cover topics such as market research, establishing a business entity and cash-flow management and are designed to connect founders with invaluable business resources and contacts.

The courses are adaptable to any kind of business startup and the Build Institute program provides childcare and meals along with them to remove any participation barriers.

A $175 participation fee is returned to graduates who complete the course to invest in the businesses they are starting.

The following upcoming Build Institute courses will all take place in Fort Wayne:

• 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Blue Jacket, 2826 S. Calhoun St., starting Feb. 25 and lasting through April 21

• 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays at McMillen Community Center, 3901 Abbott St., starting March 5 and lasting through April 30

• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays at Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, 555 E. Wayne St., staring March 9 and lasting through May 11

• 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fort Wayne Urban League, 2135 S. Hanna St., starting March 25 and lasting through May 20

Individuals interesting in registering for a Build Institute course can find applications for that and more information at

Veteran reporter Doug LeDuc joined Business Weekly in 2006 and primarily covers banking and finance and technology. You can send information for his weekly column to or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3309.

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