From Green Bay to Circle, Alaska

When David Masephol had the opportunity to buy a utilities company in rural Alaska, he thought his limited business knowledge crippled his chance. David tried several avenues in his initial attempts at the purchase, but the more he investigated, the more daunting the goal appeared. Then, after meeting with Chuck Brys at the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Green Bay, he realized his dream might be possible.

 

Masephol’s company, Circle Telephone & Electric LLC, provides telephone and electric service to a small native village named Circle, Alaska. It is located at the end of the Alaskan Highway on the banks of the Yukon River, seventy miles below the Arctic Circle. Buying the company from its previous owner in 2008, Masephol said his lack of business and finance experience nearly stopped him from obtaining the utility company. “It looked pretty grim to me, having no knowledge of business at all. But then, I was introduced to Chuck Brys, and that’s when everything changed,” says Masephol. After consulting with Chuck, it became apparent he was going to have to understand cash flow, profit and loss, and other financial statements. The pair worked for many hours on a business plan. In the end, this made all the difference when it came to talking to lenders. “What was really beneficial in the business plan was that Chuck didn’t do it for me, but made himself available and guided me. At times intensely! When it came time for me to present it, I knew what I was talking about and I was able to use that business plan and that knowledge gained in creating it to get the financing I needed,” Masephol says.

 

In addition to his relationship with Brys, Masephol and Circle Telephone & Electric has benefitted from some of the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Green Bay management and financial courses. As for the future of Circle Telephone & Electric, David Masephol is looking to expand his business by purchasing new equipment, extending his generator building, and welcoming the first cell phone service to the area. With many ideas for the future, Masephol is certain about one thing: his reliance on Chuck Brys and the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Green Bay. “I rely on him. I could pay someone to do what Chuck does, but I don’t know if I could find someone that would do it as well as Chuck,” says Masephol. “He knows me and I know him. I have been really blessed to have him available to me.”