The Wizards of Tech are Over the Rainbow

Author: C.L. Harmon
Category: Business | People
Date Published: April 19, 2018
The Wiz­ards of Tech: Tech­si­co & Todd Blackburn
You push a but­ton on your phone, and you’re con­nect­ed to any­one you wish to speak with. You strike a key on your com­put­er, and you have access to the entire world. You type a quick mes­sage on your cell, and a text can be sent to any­one any­where. How­ev­er, how is all of this pos­si­ble and who is this Oz behind the cur­tain that makes all of these mod­ern won­ders avail­able to us? Would you believe he is a Tul­sa native with a dry sense of humor who began with an idea in his liv­ing room?Todd Black­burn is a found­ing part­ner of Tech­si­co which began and is head­quar­tered in Tul­sa. The com­pa­ny has cur­rent­ly sev­en offices in six states with the oth­er Okla­homa office in Okla­homa City. He and his busi­ness part­ner James Lytal start­ed the com­pa­ny in Blackburn’s din­ing room after hav­ing been laid off from MCI World­Com. Both men were engi­neers for installs on the car­ri­er side for the com­pa­ny from 1996–2000. Then MCI went into bank­rupt­cy in 2000, they found them­selves with­out a pay­check. That blow actu­al­ly turned out to be a bless­ing in dis­guise. MCI still had to deploy its net­work, so it began using con­trac­tors. Already know­ing the job, the two men became con­trac­tors with its for­mer employ­er as its first client. With­in six months and com­ple­tion of its first year in busi­ness, the com­pa­ny made $50,000 in revenue.
Liv­ing on min­i­mal salaries and remain­ing in Blackburn’s din­ing room for 18 months cou­pled with a grow­ing client list, allowed the com­pa­ny to move into its first office space in down­town Tul­sa. That space was 900-square feet. With­in two years, the com­pa­ny had out­grown that space and then opt­ed to build a 3,500-square foot build­ing with a 900-square foot ware­house. Two years lat­er, the com­pa­ny built anoth­er 4,000-square foot ware­house to keep up with their growth. Four years lat­er, the com­pa­ny had out­grown that loca­tion as well and then bought its cur­rent loca­tion at 9th & Hud­son. This was an 18,000-square foot com­plex with 8,000 of that space for office use alone. Still grow­ing, the com­pa­ny bought the adjoin­ing prop­er­ty in 2016 and added yet anoth­er 13,000-square foot to its oper­a­tion for a grand total of 11,000-square feet of office and 20,000-square feet of ware­house space in Tul­sa alone.










Start­ing out with just the part­ners and one employ­ee, the com­pa­ny, also began doing work for AT&T, Wind­stream, and oth­ers tele­phone car­ri­er com­pa­nies which pro­vid­ed home and busi­ness phone lines, and busi­ness inter­net appli­ca­tions over cop­per line. The focus at this time was hard line engi­neer­ing and instal­la­tion for the sys­tems which ran from those lines such as the phone lines and data with­in busi­ness office set­tings. The com­pa­ny began rapid growth at this point.

“Each year we were prac­ti­cal­ly dou­bling rev­enue. We con­tin­ued this trend for the first ten years,” Black­burn said. By 2005, the pair had already grown the com­pa­ny to eight employ­ees. With the grow­ing suc­cess, the com­pa­ny opened the new divi­sion Tech­si­co Enter­prise Solu­tions that same year. In laymen’s terms for those of us who are techie defi­cient, this divi­sion worked with the low volt­age side of tech­nol­o­gy. It tar­get­ed busi­ness­es that were in need of inter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty. It worked with the car­ri­ers of inter­net providers and the busi­ness­es them­selves to bring com­pa­nies into the mod­ern age of web com­merce. This tech­nol­o­gy includ­ed fiber optics, voice and data sys­tems, wire­less access points, busi­ness secu­ri­ty, fire alarm sys­tems, audio and visu­al, set­ting up servers and net­works, trou­bleshoot­ing and remote desk­top sup­port. Three years lat­er in 2008, the com­pa­ny acquired its first com­peti­tor Pil­lar Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Fol­low­ing this, the com­pa­ny took six more com­peti­tors under its control.

As tech­nol­o­gy evolved, the wiz­ards at Tech­si­co kicked off Tow­ers Unlim­it­ed in 2010. The com­pa­ny looked toward the sky and began build­ing, updat­ing and repair­ing cell phone tow­ers. Think back to the stone-age for a minute, and you may remem­ber 1G technology…oh the hor­ror! Techis­co is the com­pa­ny that con­tin­u­al­ly brings us out of those dark ages. Each update from 1G to 2G, then 3G to 4G to LTE to the lat­est 5G tech­nol­o­gy hap­pens through the efforts of those behind the cur­tain. Although the tow­er remains viable, the oth­er com­po­nents such as radios and anten­nas must be changed to accept the new tech­nol­o­gy. With this new feath­er in the com­pa­ny cap, the part­ners’ suc­cess kept gain­ing momen­tum and grow­ing along­side the tech­nol­o­gy it provided.

“One of the rea­sons we have been suc­cess­ful is we’re big on if we say we will do it, we will do it. And if we miss some­thing, we don’t go back after the cus­tomer with change orders,” Black­burn said. He added that they offer top tal­ent and don’t “nick­el and dime” the cus­tomer. Also, they meet their com­mit­ments, which dri­ves good reten­tion, he said.

“One of the oth­er things I believe attrib­ut­es to our suc­cess is that nei­ther one of us own­ers take out of the com­pa­ny. We pay our­selves a salary and leave the prof­its to rein­vest in the com­pa­ny con­tin­u­ing to build it. We have left the major­i­ty of the prof­its in the com­pa­ny,” Black­burn explained.

As for prof­its and what that means to Okla­homa, the enter­prise divi­sion alone gen­er­ates $10 mil­lion per year. With this and the peo­ple employed, it brings a lot of pos­i­tive to the state. The oth­er divi­sions locat­ed in oth­er states pro­duce an addi­tion­al $15 mil­lion. For the Oz behind the cur­tain who dropped out of col­lege to become a ‘learn on the job’ engi­neer, this is tru­ly a dream come true.

It takes heart, courage, and brains to build a suc­cess­ful dream. Black­burn and Lytal did this…and they were already home when they began their jour­ney down the yel­low brick road and over the rain­bow to success.

“To be hon­est, every time we would move to a new build­ing, in my head I thought, this will last us a long time, and we will be able to grow. Even with the first 900 square foot build­ing, I thought oh we have room for four or five employ­ees, and this space is going to take us five years in the future. It didn’t. It last­ed one or two years. Each year I say well we’re prob­a­bly as big as we are going to get and two years down the road were grow­ing even larg­er. It nev­er ceas­es to amaze me,” Black­burn said. Fol­low­ing his busi­ness suc­cess in Okla­homa, Black­burn has recent­ly decid­ed to bring his skills and insight into pol­i­tics. He has recent­ly thrown his hat into the polit­i­cal ring by run­ning for Dis­trict 77 in the House of Representatives.

As the Wiz­ard of Oz said, “Pay no atten­tion to the man behind the cur­tain.” Most of us prob­a­bly don’t pay atten­tion to what is going on behind the cur­tain. We sim­ply push a but­ton, strike a key or type a text and mag­i­cal things hap­pen that con­nects us to one anoth­er and our world. Per­haps, just this once though, we rec­og­nize the great wiz­ards behind the cur­tain who keep us all on our very own yel­low brick road to success.

C. L. Harmon

Lead Author

C.L. Har­mon a jour­nal­ist and author.

He Has worked for sev­er­al news­pa­pers as a reporter and was the man­ag­ing edi­tor for a dai­ly before start­ing his own paper, The Man­n­ford Reporter in Man­n­ford, Oklahoma. 

The Man­n­ford Reporter came with many life lessons and expe­ri­ences that I may share one day. For now my focus and my love is Uniquelahoma!

Adver­tise with us

Dream Sea­son Media

Dis­cov­er more about yourself

Uniqula­homa Quizes

Find some­thing to do

Uniqula­homa Events

C.L. Harmon

C.L. Harmon

C.L. is an award-winning journalist who spent many years in the newspaper and freelance fields. In addition to holding reporting and editing positions throughout his career, he also owned and operated a newspaper for several years. He was born, raised, and continues to reside in Oklahoma.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Grant

    Excel­lent. Clint, I’ve read sev­er­al posts and arti­cles today and you’re a gift­ed writer. And I want to order your book “Chop­ping Down the Tree of Knowl­edge” that we dis­cussed. –Michael


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


What is Uniquelahoma?

Perhaps to start, defining what we are not is the best way to describe us. We are not a news source to find the latest local and world events or a magazine to...

Unique Quote

“It just doesn’t work that way”. We have all heard it and we have all fought against it at one point. But it’s a futile battle we are destined to lose. The elements making up creation are not designed for our personal agenda; it is designed to function the exact opposite. When we finally understand that sharing and providing in unison with creation improves flows and prospers because its very nature is to reciprocate. If you only focus on what you can’t have, all you will ever have is what you can’t have. - C.L. Harmon
%d bloggers like this: