Data Movers Podcast: Comstar President Dave Johnson Shares his Philosophy, Industry Insights and Where to get a Philly Cheesesteak

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As a particularly challenging year comes to an end, Comstar looks back on what was accomplished despite numerous obstacles with great pride. Our leadership navigated us through these difficult times with compassion, courage, and balance, from launching our new website and logo to expanding our geographical footprint. Spearheading these impressive accomplishments is Dave Johnson. As Comstar Technologies’ President, Dave helped pivot our company to a virtual workforce rapidly and paved the way for us to safely work, thrive, and be there for our customers, who always come first.

Recently, Dave sat down with B2B social media influencer Evan Kirstel and public relations and marketing extraordinaire Jaymie Scotto Cutaia, CEO of JSA, for their podcast series Data Movers. The dynamic duo took a deeper dive into Dave’s career path, the industry’s evolution, his philosophy toward client care, and how Comstar transitioned during the onset of COVID-19.

The City of Technology, Cheesesteaks and Comstar Love

The interview began with discussing Johnson’s and Comstar’s deep Philadelphia roots, including his stint as a line cook and his top choice for a Philly cheesesteak. Spoiler Alert: It’s not Pat’s or Geno’s. Headquartered right outside of Philadelphia, a major player in the tech industry, Comstar enables many local and national businesses across the region with their technology needs. The conversation then explores Johnson’s unique career path, where he began as a cabling technician at Comstar when the company only consisted of eight people. “That’s where the journey began,” explains Johnson, “I was in a pretty good learning environment with a lot of really supportive people and a really good team. There were challenges to it. I was learning all the time, and it kept evolving. The size of the jobs would get bigger, the types of technologies we were involved with would change, and that’s the way I would continuously learn.” This opportunity to grow and openness toward learning led Johnson all the way to Chief Operating Officer and now President of Comstar – servicing all 50 states and several countries across the globe with their IT, UCaaS, physical security and audiovisual needs.

Taking a Look Back and a Look Ahead

During the podcast, Johnson also discusses the progression he’s seen in some aspects of the industry, specifically when it comes to business phone systems. “When you look at the telephony side of our business, the years 1980 to 2010 there was no telephony expert except for a vendor like us. Everyone had to use a vendor to buy the solutions they needed. Now, it’s everywhere.” He goes on to talk about how Unified Communications as a Service has exploded in recent years, as technology advanced from hardware to software-focused, knowledge has proliferated, and service options have multiplied.

In the future, Johnson sees a new convergence on the horizon in regard to applications. Johnson says during the interview that he is already starting to see boundaries between software dissipate. He explains: “You have your Unified Communications as a Service platform – Teams, 8×8, or any number of things – and you have your CRM, let’s say. I think what we’re going to start seeing is not just linking those two things together, but those two things overlapping so they’re one and the same”.

Staying competitive in today’s landscape is no small feat. Comstar operates as a client of the end-user, not the other way around, which is an approach Dave adopted over his 17 years at Comstar, and he says it has served him and the organization well. “Nobody knows better than us how to align their business objectives with technology solutions. That’s really what we’re experts at,” he explains, “So once you consider yourself an employee of this client or potential client, it becomes a lot easier to merge those two things together.”

To learn more about Dave– including his opinion on emojis, coffee drinking habits, and choice for best Philly cheesesteak – check out the full podcast here.