Graybar and Allen Tel Deliver More than Just Connectivity

The Challenge

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBS) was adding a third building to its headquarters in Baton Rouge, La. The 625,000-square-foot, three-floor facility was designed to house 600 customer service, administrative and training employees. Although the building was planned a few years in advance, original specifications didn't include a fully structured cabling solution.

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The Solution

Graybar Sales Representative Brett Alello had a long-term relationship with BCBS Telecommunications Technician John Marquez. Marquez was in charge of the new building's network cabling infrastructure, and Alello thought the Allen Tel line was a perfect fit for the new facility's needs. Marquez was unfamiliar with Allen Tel, so during one of his regular visits, Alello brought along an Allen Tel patch cord and challenged Marquez to compare its performance to the patch cords he was currently using. Two hours later, Marquez called Alello to order 300 more, and to learn more about other Allen Tel products. Alello sent over more items for him to test, and Marquez was sold, making Allen Tel the manufacturer at the top of his list for the new building.

Alello and Marquez got the green light from BCBS' senior management to upgrade the cabling structure from Cat5e cable to Cat6 cable, allowing for future technology improvements. Working with the electrical engineers and architects, Alello and Marquez helped choose the best structure and products for the solution, featuring a large variety of Allen Tel products.

Allen Tel certified installer Telephone & Computer Cabling (TCC) was chosen as the contractor, and construction began in early 2008. Things were going well, with construction expected to finish on time. But in late August, hurricane Gustav hit Baton Rouge, damaging the roof of an off-campus building that was housing BCBS employees waiting to move into the new building. BCBS was forced to move the employees into temporary trailers, escalating the need to complete the new building by December to avoid steep daily fees for trailer rental. Still months away from scheduled completion, TCC, Graybar and Allen Tel worked tirelessly to finish the project by December 2008.

The Results

Because Alello planned for long lead times, most of the materials to finish the job were already in stock. Once he explained the emergency situation to Allen Tel, they had the remaining materials expedited to accommodate the accelerated completion date.

BCBS was thrilled with the results, and the employees moved into the new space in December. Because they moved into the space earlier than expected and no longer needed to rent trailers, BCBS saved a significant amount of money in rental fees.

Now, BCBS has a high-quality cabling infrastructure that's designed to be updated with ease and minimal cost. A project of this scale, involving several thousand drops, could have encountered many problems. However, the team of Graybar, Allen Tel and TCC, with an extraordinary level of planning and customer service, provided BCBS with great products, great execution and great results. It's what value-added service is all about.

Image caption from left: Brett Alello, Corey Clayson of BCBS and Allen Tel representative Vanessa Williams stand outside the completed building.


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