New Monona business hopes to fill tech services need in area

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A new business in downtown Monona is hoping to fill a need for technological services in northeast Iowa. HB Davies opened SA Computer Solutions at 116 W. Center St. this fall, after moving to the area from Des Moines with his family. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

HB Davies, owner of SA Computer Solutions, is shown cutting the ribbon at an Oct. 26 ribbon cutting ceremony with Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc. (MCED). Also pictured (left to right) are MCED Director Rogeta Halvorson, daughter Melody “Mel” Davies, Monona City Administrator Barb Collins, son Finn Davies, wife Ande Davies, daughter Kryss Davies and Ali Werger, with KCTN Radio and Exit Realty, and her daughter Kira Kurth. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

A new business in downtown Monona is hoping to fill a need for technological services in northeast Iowa. HB Davies recently opened SA Computer Solutions at 116 W. Center St., after moving to the area from Des Moines with his family.

His wife, Ande, has ties to Waukon, and the Davies, searching for a slower pace of life, chose Monona for its size and proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities.

“I’ve spent the last 25 years living in larger cities—everywhere from Ames to Denver to Seattle. We’ve spent the last 10 years in Des Moines metro and it was just time. Bigger cities are not who we are, and don’t fit what we want to do with our lives,” Davies said. “In Monona, and Clayton County, we have plenty of options. All of us like to get out in nature, and I love living near water. It’s nice to relax a bit, let our kids walk around town and not have to worry.”

Being in northeast Iowa also gives Davies the opportunity to “tinker” in technology.

“I am, by trade, a Salesforce administrator. Salesforce is customer relationship management software. It’s cloud based and enables companies large and small to track their customer base and track their prospective customer base, as well as sales and support before and after the fact. I’ve been doing that for 7.5 years now, and presently work for a satellite technology company based out of Colorado, which enabled me to work remote. That’s what I do with the majority of my time,” he explained, “however, I’ve been kind of a tinkerer since I was a kid. I started tinkering with an old laptop I had and have replaced hard drives in all three of our Playstations at home. But I’ve spent the last 25 years in major cities, so space to do so has been limited.” 

In Monona, there’s work space and a chance to start a business in a field that’s less saturated in rural areas.

“When Ande and I were looking at moving, one of the things I noticed was there was a limited amount of technological support in the area. No matter how DIY, how hands-on we are, technology is a part of our lives anymore,” Davies said. “I set out to see if I could help fill that void a little bit.”

Having high speed internet access through NEIT helps too. Davies said he has faster, more reliable internet in Monona than he did in Des Moines. It’s also better service than his Denver-based co-workers enjoy.

“Above all else, we needed high-speed, reliable internet for him to be able to do his job,” Ande commented. “NEIT had the foresight to invest in that so they could bring in more businesses like that in the future. Technology is part of now, and our future. Especially during the pandemic, we’ve really become reliant on it.”

Davies offers a variety of services through SA Computer Solutions, including network card upgrades—pulling the stock Wi-Fi card out of your laptop or desktop computer and replacing it with one that is more adept and capable of adapting to higher internet speeds.

“While having the higher speeds NEIT offers is great, if you have a bare bones laptop, it’s not going to be set up to do that,” Davies said. “So putting a little investment into your laptop, like more RAM for memory and a better network card, will make your online experience better and faster.”

SA Computer Solutions also does hard drive replacements for computers and gaming systems, in addition to setting up external backup hard drives that can be used for storing pictures or sensitive data. Davies replaces RAM memory cards that affect computer speed, as well as optical drives, which are the Blu-ray or DVD players in laptops. Configuration services, like a cloud backup system, can help optimize how computers runs through system upgrades or efficiency updates. Davies is also expanding into both Microsoft and Apple certifications. 

SA Computer Solutions can work with individuals, businesses or even local governments. For example, Davies is currently helping the city of McGregor secure its network. 

“One of the things I’m adding is a VPN connection so they have improved remote access, but I’m also helping them create a backup and disaster recovery plan. Between cyber security and the fact we get some crazy weather here in northeast Iowa sometimes, the last thing anyone wants—especially a city government—is to lose critical information,” Davies explained. “With my experience in Salesforce, which is entirely cloud based, that has become an area I have become more adept at, setting up that cloud system so you have not just the backup system but collaboration as well. You don’t have to be in the office to work with a coworker.”

“Data management systems and data analysis is part of what I offer as well,” he added. “That goes along with backup—pulling out data that, whether it’s sales information or event attendance information, at some point needs a comparison.”

Davies said he’s regularly adjusting and expanding his offerings based on the current or projected needs of the area. He stays up to date on the latest technology not only through classes and his job with Salesforce, but also by doing.

“A lot of it is by looking into things and doing it. It goes back to when I was a kid and working on cars, or with my old man doing carpentry stuff,” he shared. “I learn how to do it by doing it on my own stuff. Then, once I’m more comfortable with that, I’ll be able to add it to the list of things I offer.”

Davies insists he’s not trying to change the world—just help whoever he can.

“It’s an opportunity to solve a problem that may be a conventional solution, or it may be an unconventional solution,” he said. “This is an opportunity to continue to do what I love, in tinkering and problem solving, but also to do so for an area that needs that resource.”

To learn more about SA Computer Solutions and its services, or to request a quote or set up an appointment, visit www.sacomputersolutionsmonona.com/.

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