Business Administration grad provides small-town organizations with high-speed hook-ups

Arlin Conway, NetSet CommunicationsArlin Conway is connecting the province to the planet.

As Enterprise Solutions Manager at NetSet Communications, a rural high-speed internet provider based in Brandon, Conway criss-crosses the province pinpointing the connectivity needs of rural companies.

Conway is coming up on four years with NetSet, starting at the company shortly after graduating from Red River College’s Business Administration program in 2012.

“My title, Enterprise Solutions Manager, means I deal with anything that doesn’t fall within the regular cookie cutter packages,” Conway says.

“In a case like Altona [Conway’s destination the day after he was interviewed for this story], we’re going down to an agriculture dealer who has multiple locations across the province. When that’s the case, they might have a server at their head office or in downtown Winnipeg, or for the services they provide they need to tap into a certain billing system or POS (point of sale) system, or the manufacturer for their mechanics might have to access a certain portal. We work to make it all as efficient as possible.

“The goal with me sitting down with them? It’s nice to get some face time in and get to know your customer, but it’s also to give them a rundown and go through the different things that we could help them with. Check off the boxes. Then we take a step back, come back to Brandon and figure out how we can do it. We figure out things like if they need symmetrical service, if they need transport service as opposed to internet gateway, all these different things. Then, we wrap it in a bow and present it in a proposal.”

Currently, NetSet Communications is in the final stages of upgrading its entire network to an LTE (long-term evolution) platform, adding 48 tower sites and 20 fibre breakouts to its network as part of the federal government’s Digital Canada 150 initiative.

“You like to feel like you’re making a difference, like you’re helping. NetSet’s mandate for the longest time has been to serve the underserved,” Conway says, noting the company has “tremendous support” from the small towns it services.

He also says it’s important for NetSet to be a positive presence in those communities.

“We attend all these small-town events and functions,” says Conway. “If its hotdog day down at the local baseball diamond, NetSet rolls up in a van and serves up hotdogs with everybody else. It’s nice to be a part of these small communities and really feel like you’re making a difference in them.

“I feel like I can walk into any small town in rural Manitoba and say, ‘I work for NetSet,’ and they’ll know who I am and be super happy that I’m there.”

From small towns to small class sizes, Conway says he appreciated the easy access to instructors and connection to classmates he experienced while a student at RRC.

“I’ve kept pretty close with a lot of people,” he says, noting one of the groomsmen at his wedding was a former RRC classmate.

“You’re spending time with them. I didn’t go to university, but I get the feeling that the structure there is totally different. You’re not spending your days with the same people. In college, the classes are smaller, so it’s a lot nicer.”

— Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)