2021: Year In Review

It’s safe to say that 2021 hasn’t been the year that most of us imagined. That being said, if 2021 has shown us anything, it is that resilience and hope are everywhere. As we enter a new year and our community works to recover from devastating tornados, we can’t help but reflect on and be grateful for another great year at United Systems. The continued success and growth of United Systems would not be possible without our employees, partners, and customers. Our employees have stepped up in more ways than we could have imagined over the last year as we work to acclimate to our new headquarters and navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our customers continue to trust United Systems to deliver goods and services to ensure the successful operation of their business needs and have shown great patience while the world works through supply chain and manufacturing difficulties. And finally, our partners continue to support United Systems, offer resources enabling our organization to grow further, and trust United Systems to advocate for their brands.

Our year was filled with wonderful memories, and we wanted to share a few of those with you!

In April of this year, our new headquarters in Southwest One Industrial Park was completed, and we were able to begin the process of moving to this location. Many of our employees worked long hours helping us move and get everything set up at the new building while continuing to perform their job duties.

Once our move was complete, we could take advantage of our larger building and welcome all our employees back to the office after more than a year. It was great to have everyone working and collaborating under one roof again!

We had some great visits with many of our partners and hosted several local dignitaries.

We held our first-ever United Systems Spirit Week and got to see our employees’ creativity and whimsy.

Our complete marketing team met for team building and our first in-person training in over a year. The team and Itron Project Managers spent three days covering the new Itron water meter, cellular & RF endpoint functionality, Itron Mobile, Temetra, and more! It was a great learning experience for our new and veteran team members alike and even better to spend time with our team members!

We held a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for our new headquarters in Southwest One Industrial Park, where we got to celebrate with our employees, partners, and members of this great community! We are so excited to be the first business to locate at Southwest One Industrial Park and are looking forward to seeing industry grow in Marshall County for many years to come.

Our team continues to grow, and we added several new faces this year!

Aaron Clark joined our Development team and aids in the development of new software solutions for our utility customers.
Aaron Clark
Developer
Brendan Shepard joined our Development team, where he works with the web and mobile teams on the Mobile Field Service application as well as the online payment portal websites.
Brendan Shepard
Developer
Bryson Smith accepted an Account Manager position on our Marketing team and currently serves customers in Virginia and West Virginia.
Bryson Smith
Account Manager - VA/WV
Doyle Collett joined the TPM by United Systems team as a Networking Helpdesk Technician and quickly became a customer favorite due to his calm demeanor and quick assistance!
Doyle Collett
Networking Helpdesk Technicial
Johnna Reed accepted a position as a Support Specialist bringing with her a wealth of extensive accounting and municipal expertise.
Johnna Reed
Support Specialist
Holly Hatchett joined our team as an Itron Project Manager adding over 15 years of IT experience.
Holly Hatchett
Project Manager
Jeremy Byars was brought on as a Product Manager with extensive experience in product management, marketing, and leadership.
Jeremy Byars
Product Manager
Justin Latta joined our TPM team as a Network Engineer with over ten years of industry experience.
Justin Latta
Network Engineer
Jessica Kilby was hired as a full-time Software Developer on our Development team. She works as a part of our conversion team and assists customers with converting data from their previous software provider to Alliance.
Jessica Kilby
Developer
Lauren Woolen accepted a position as a Support Specialist where she assists with training and educating customers on the Alliance suite of software.
Lauren Woolen
Support Specialist
Zach Polston joined our Marketing team as an Account Manager covering North and South Carolina.
Zach Polston
Account Manager - NC/SC

Not pictured but equally important is our talented group of interns!

Kellen Connolly & Briana Martin were brought on as networking interns with our TPM by United Systems team.

Matthew Lynn & Taylor Hunt also joined our Development team as interns assisting with the development of the Alliance software suite.

Our Region & Account Managers were able to get back out in the field (with the appropriate precautions) to attend conferences and meet with customers in person!

Despite all the challenges this year brought, we were honored to have been recognized by Itron at the 2021 Itron Engage Conference!

Our employees brought out their best costumes for a Halloween costume contest with ‘Canadian Bacon” & Neo from the Matrix taking home trophies for the most creative & best costume.

United Systems was recognized as the Business of the Year by the Kentucky Lake Region Chamber of Commerce.

Our employees participated in various activities internally in support of United Systems’ charitable giving activities, including participation in the infamous United Systems’ Days of Delight silent auction and our bi-annual food drive.

Through the United Systems Charitable Giving Fund, we provided iPads for the new STEM lab at Benton Elementary School, enabling United Systems to invest in our youth, the community, and education. We understand how vital STEM education is to students’ futures and the future of our local economy and are privileged to contribute to a brighter future.

We were then able to sponsor 20 children’s Christmas through our Charitable Giving Fund & Marshall County Rotary Toys for Kids program! The Toys for Kids program is an annual community giving project done in partnership with the Marshall County Family Resource and Youth Service Centers to provide Christmas gifts to families struggling to provide gifts for their children.

The Bauernfeind College of Business United Systems Project Suite at Murray State University was completed and will be utilized by students in the coming months.

We had a pretty great year here at United Systems and are excited to continue to give back to our community here in Western Kentucky year after year!

Thanks to everyone that made 2021 a great year. We’re looking forward to all 2022 has in store!

United Systems Partners with Benton Elementary School to Provide iPads for STEM Lab

What is STEM?

It’s likely that you’ve already heard and are familiar with the STEM acronym. STEM is used as a broad term that groups together Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and is common in education and economic discussions. STEM addresses concern that historically these subjects have been taught in isolation with little focus on how they are connected. STEM involves the intentional integration of these four disciplines in an educational setting and creates a learning environment where students gain and enhance creativity, inquiry skills, critical analysis, teamwork and collaboration skills, initiative, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.

Why is STEM important for children & education?

STEM programs immerse students in an environment centered on innovation and creative thinking. Teaching children about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at an early age can have immense positive impacts on them in later life. These disciplines teach children key life skills such as the ability to remain organized and focused, critical thinking skills, forming opinions based on observation and fact, and the development of senses and environmental awareness. STEM empowers children to be better learners and eventually doers and leads to innovation necessary to sustain our economy. STEM graduates and workers play a key role in our economy’s sustained growth and stability and are essential for winning the future.

In an increasingly complex, changing, technological world, STEM affords learners the skills necessary to succeed. STEM occupations are the fastest-growing occupational sector. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that STEM jobs will grow over 8% by 2029, with computing and engineering leading the way, with jobs in Software Development alone projected to grow more than 20%. In addition to increased demand in STEM fields, almost all of today’s careers require STEM skills. As technology advances, things continue to move to the cloud, and automation becomes more and more common, we continue to see an increased need for STEM knowledge in all sectors of our economy, from the service industry to hospitality and even the utilities where you receive your water, gas, and electric service. Young adults entering the workforce that do not possess science, math, and technology skills are at a severe disadvantage because STEM skills are vital for success in every industry sector.

Why is STEM important to United Systems?

We are beyond excited about the new STEM lab at Benton Elementary School. Our organization relies heavily on STEM graduates and employees graduates with degrees in Computer Science, Engineering, Telecommunications, Accounting, and related fields. As an organization whose core is technology, we understand how vital STEM education is to the future of the US economy and our local economy. Technology drives almost everything we do, both personally and professionally. The new STEM lab at Benton Elementary School offers students in our community a great opportunity to learn and grow.

"At United Systems, we're very interested in supporting and investing in our youth, community, and education system. We're excited to take part by making these educational tools available."
Scott Waldrop
President

We are privileged to contribute iPads to BES’ new STEM program. These iPads will be used by students working in teams to build and use rudimentary code to control robots in the classroom. Robotics and coding are just a few of the STEM students’ projects at Benton Elementary. We were thrilled to see the STEM lab and some of the students’ projects during our visit. Elementary students are working to solve real-world problems like creating tools to help farmers pollinate crops because of a reduction in the bee population. Students are learning vital critical thinking and problem-solving skills and interacting with technology and science in previously unavailable ways.

We are looking forward to seeing how students grow and flourish in STEM and know the future holds great things for BES students!

We want to thank BES for their commitment to STEM and, most importantly, their students! A special thanks to BES STEM teacher Kathy Colvett and BES principal Lorrie Shadowen for their dedication to our local children and passion for their future.

The BES STEM lab is still in need of several items. We would love to see our community come together to support this program that benefits BES students, our community, and the local economy. Below we have linked the BES STEM lab wish list for anyone interested in donating!

Employee Spotlight – Jonathan Vinson

,

As a Software Developer at United Systems, Marshall County native Jonathan Vinson spends his workdays turning what many of us see as a bunch of random letters, symbols, and numbers into appealing functional software for utilities. Jonathan works primarily on our Alliance G5 applications and aids in planning and product design.

Jonathan began his tenure at United Systems in May of 2015 as a Software Developer. We’ve had the pleasure of watching Jonathan expand his development skills and become a true leader in the department. Originally from Calvert City, Jonathan is a graduate of Marshall County High School and graduated from Murray State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Jonathan currently resides in Marshall County, KY, with his girlfriend Haley, two dogs, and a cat.

Unsurprisingly, Jonathan is extremely interested in technology, not only software but tech devices & gadgets. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys staying informed on all the latest devices and technological developments. You can regularly find Jonathan reading about some new Elon Musk-Esque technological advancement or the newest blockchain article. Don’t be surprised if you find him in the hall discussing the hottest new tech trend, item, or game.

Based on his role on our Software Development team, it’s easy to guess that Jonathan would have interests in technology, devices, and gaming. However, you might not know that Jonathan has a strong interest in music and Japanese culture. For close to a decade, Jonathan has done local musical performances at the Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers, KY, and the Market House Theater in Paducah, KY.  In addition to his local performance, Jonathan was a member of a Chicago-based, experimental electronic rock band, Pinn Panelle.

Over the years, Jonathan has combined his love for music and technology through multiple “maker” type projects, including a guitar with wireless MIDI communication to special effects equipment with built-in sensors and a glove that communicated MIDI wirelessly. In addition to his musically inclined projects, Jonathan has also created various smart home items such as a keypad-controlled lock. He is currently working on a smart curtain opener that can be integrated into a smart home ecosystem.

In addition to a passion for technology and music, Jonathan has a strong appreciation for Japanese culture. This appreciation can be seen throughout his life. For example, while watching the animated Japanese tv show Cowboy Bebop, Jonathan was introduced to Yoko Kanno, an S-tier composer who quickly became his favorite music artist. Jonathan’s love for Japanese culture can also be seen in his favorite food, sushi, as well as his travels. In 2013, Jonathan traveled to Japan, where he got to experience a wide variety of technological and cultural sights, including the K supercomputer, beautiful religious shrines, and temples, as well as the earthquake memorial in Kobe.

Jonathan adds a unique perspective and immense creativity to our team here at United Systems, and we’re glad to have him as a part of our Development team!

Recent Events

,

It has been a very exciting time for us here at United Systems. Not only did we have our Grand Opening Celebration, but we also had Spirit Week and our full marketing team in the office for sales training.
We wanted to first thank everyone that came out to our Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Celebration. We had a great time celebrating with our friends, family, and the community. We’re very happy to be in our new headquarters and look forward to what the future holds!

We’ve included some of our favorite images from this event below.

Use the link below to view the event. 

We recently had our first-ever Spirit Week in celebration of our Grand Opening. Employees dressed based on themes each day in exchange for a donation to the United Systems Charitable Giving Fund, with proceeds to benefit local needs.
Everyone had a great time dressing up. We’ve included some of the fun outfits below!

Finally, we were able to have our full Marketing staff in the office for sales training. It had been over a year since our full marketing team was together. With many new members on the team, we were excited to have everyone together to learn more about the great products we offer, get to know each other and do some great team building.

United Systems Marketing Department meets for training at their new headquarters in Southwest One Industrial Park.

United Systems & Itron Leadership meet to strategize and discuss future plans.

It’s been a busy couple of months for us here at United Systems. We’ve all returned to the office, moved offices, put our new building together, brought on several new team members, resumed our charitable giving program activities, hosted our full Marketing staff for training, and held our Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting celebration.

We’re grateful to be in our new headquarters and to have our full team together. We are looking forward to continuing to help utilities, local governments, and small businesses improve operations using technology and automation.

Our President, Scott Waldrop, said it best:

"We are more than a technology company. We help cities, utilities and companies simplify and focus on their core business using better processes supported with technology and automation. We have traditionally been a technology company, but we want to be more that."
Scott Waldrop
President

Stay tuned for more great things to come.

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

,

United Systems & Software is excited to announce the Grand Opening of our new headquarters in Southwest One Industrial Park in Benton, Kentucky!

Please join United Systems, Kentucky Lake Economic Development, and the Kentucky Lake Chamber of Commerce for our Grand Opening celebration on July 29th from 4 PM to 6 PM.

Light refreshments will be provided from Magic Valley Catering and Parcell’s Bakery.

Our event will begin at 4 PM with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Guest Speakers and Open House to follow.

After a trying year for all, we are excited to come together with our community, customers, and partners to celebrate the completion of and our move to our new building.

We’re looking forward to sharing our new location with you all and can’t wait to see you!

New Headquarters: Continued Progress

,

During a national pandemic, we’re proud and excited to continue progress on our new headquarters located in Southwest One Industrial Park.  We initially broke ground on this project in September of 2019. Substantial progress has been made throughout 2020, with an anticipated completion date of January 2021.

As a direct result of hard work and continued high demand for our new products and services, we have experienced rapid growth over the past five hears. Our new headquarters comes out of a desire to enhance our production, improve service to our customers, and a need to accommodate further growth of our team. We want to thank our customers for their continued support and are privileged to be able to contribute to economic growth in Western Kentucky.

Check out the live feed of our building’s progress and check back with us on social media for continued updates!