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Servlet back in familiar hands

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The local Internet provider Servlet that was purchased last spring by a group of local investors was bought back earlier this month by former owner Bruce Cornett. Local resident Roi Qualls, who purchased Servlet with a small group of investors, sold back the business to pursue other interests, Cornett said this week. When he sold, Cornett had maintained a minority interest in the company. Now he is again the majority shareholder.

“I’m back in the driver’s seat,” he said this week.

Qualls preferred not to comment on the decision to leave Servlet, but said that he is currently involved in a Montana-based family business, All Season Greens, which grows hydroponic grasses for animal feed year-round. He plans to remain in town with his family.

Servlet customers may have noticed some level of disrupted service over the past month, due to a transition the business was making to streamline its internal programs and make them more user friendly. In the fall Servlet began integrating its business with Digital Cowboy Computers, whose owner, John Wheeler, Cornett has worked with for almost a decade. The transition will allow Digital Cowboy to manage hundreds of Servlet’s smaller business and residential Internet subscribers, while Cornett will continue to manage the company’s several dozen large users, as well as the data centers Cornett calls “the backbone” of the company.

With Digital Cowboy’s existing client base of local government and small businesses, Servlet now serves just around 1,000 clients, mostly in the greater Dayton region but extending as far as Central America and the U.K. And to serve them the company is in the process of adding a third new data center to its facility in downtown Dayton near the federal courthouse.

While the transition has been a little bumpy, it is nearly complete, and customers should already see a return to the secure and reliable high speed internet and email service they are accustomed to, Cornett said.

“The growing pains that were felt in the last month, due to the migration of the broad banding activity, are over for the most part,” he said. “Now we can provide the DSL service and take advantage of some new economies.”

Qualls purchased a majority share of Servlet in March with local partner Cyprian Sajabi and several family members and close friends. Qualls co-founded eHealth Data Solutions, a healthcare data processing company that joined Servlet in 2002 and quickly became one of its largest customers. eHealth encouraged Servlet to provide high-availability, disaster-proof service by duplicating its servers and connecting them through private high-speed links. Qualls left eHDS soon after purchasing Servlet.

Cornett has remained the president of Servlet during the ownership transition and continues to work with network engineer Ishema Umuhoza, and Web developers and designers Patty Cornett and Catherine Akens.

Cornett had hoped to retire soon with his wife, Carol, to a property they have in Panama. But because the couple is committed to the business Cornett started in 1997, they will continue to work in the village to ensure that Servlet continues to provide the kind of high-touch customer service Servlet is known for.

“I don’t get to get old and retire yet,” Cornett said last week. “I was hoping to retire, but it’s not in the cards right now.”

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