By Jayna Smith
For 50 years, PCT Communications has been serving the area with a variety of products and services. For most of those years, the company has been family-owned and operated by Roger Holst, his wife Fran, his daughter Jennifer Brown, and his two brothers Dale and Brett.
Starting out in 1969 as a translator company for cable television, PCT (Princeton-Calais Translators) Communications allowed for an expanded coverage area of Bangor stations to the greater Calais and Princeton areas. Five years later, the company became an authorized service shop for the Motorola brand, and in 1975, Roger Holst joined the company. In 1979, PCT Communications started broadcast engineering for WQDY, which continues to this day.
In 1987, Holst purchased PCT Communications, operating a two-way radio dealership out of a small one-room office in downtown Calais. The following year, it became one of the first dealers in the country of Motorola-brand radios.
From that one-room downtown space, PCT relocated in 1990 to its present day location at 483 North Street. Just four years later, the business became an authorized agent for US Cellular.
By 2014, the company expanded to a total of four authorized agent locations for U.S. Cellular: Calais, Machias, Ellsworth, and Bucksport, all under the management of Holst’s daughter Jennifer Brown.
Presently, in addition to the US Cellular aspect of the company, PCT Communications continues as a two-way Motorola dealership. The company offers two-way radio, paging, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and security applications, and employs over 20 people in Washington and Hancock Counties.
As to what has helped him be successful throughout all those years, Holst said, “I think listening to the previous owner and the things he advised, he was great at things that were successful and I kind of followed along.” He also attributed the success of the business to having a great family that has always supported him, as well as his employees, who he described as well-qualified and loyal.
Calais City Manager Mike Ellis said, “To stay in business that long, for 50 years, one has to do things right, and they at PCT have certainly done that. It’s a great service to the community and it’s been a key part of the community. On behalf of the city, we congratulate Roger and his family and staff.”
State Representative Anne Perry also provided positive comments on the company’s longevity. “This is a real sign of success of a local entrepreneur, who has been able to serve the community in the long-term,” she said.
As for retiring anytime soon, Holst said there’s been a plan in place for the last 7 or 8 years, adding, “but I don’t know what I would do all day.”
Although there is no specific date for his retirement, the business will be completely passed on to the next generation with confidence. “We’re looking forward to Jenn taking over completely. She’s doing almost all of the cellular so I don’t have to get involved very much and it’s becoming a majority of our business,” Holst explained.
When the time does come that Holst decides to retire, his daughter is ready to step in. “I was born in and grew up in the business and am excited to take over and follow his lead with what he’s taught me,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to continuing on the name.”
“It was a great 50 years,” Holst said. His wife Fran, who had her own career through those years, while together with Roger, also raising their daughters Jennifer and Teresa, added, “We have been very fortunate.”
All are invited to stop by PCT Communications at 483 North Street on Friday, August 23rd for the anniversary celebration. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with WQDY broadcasting live. A barbecue lunch will also be served, prizes given away, and sales on many items.
For more information about PCT Communications, one can call 207-454-2174 or email [email protected].