Doing the Time to Help Fight Crime

The first in a series of articles that look back over WIRE-Net's 25-year history!

Jerry Trausch

Back in 1988, Cleveland's near west-side had a rather bleak-looking landscape, dotted with a mixture of dated manufacturing plants which were seeded among slowly deteriorating residential neighborhoods. Manufacturers relied upon the locals whose homes were walking distance from the machines they operated.

Back then, Jerry Trausch worked as a vice president for a manufacturer of heavy weldments. Techniweld was located near the heart of Cleveland's Detroit-area neighborhood, on the bluffs overlooking Edgewater Park. It was an area known for high crime and an unskilled labor pool.

"Crime was definitely a problem, and our ability to hire skilled employees was very limited," explained Trausch. Trausch recalls several security incidents that ultimately forced him and the company to seek outside help.

"I remember one rainy Fourth-of-July we discovered a leak in the roof of our plant," he said. "We climbed up on the roof and found shells from a high-powered weapon that was apparently fired from our rooftop. There were shell casings all over the roof. And we realized that this was not a small problem.

"On another occasion, someone broke in to our lot and literally risked their life by climbing up one of our outdoor cranes to steal the copper bus bars out of the crane. Now, if that crane had been turned on and the normal amount of high voltage was running through it, that person would have been fried on the spot. We lost our entire outdoor crane facility that weekend, and never replaced it."

The company sought help, and that was the moment WIRE-Net founder, John Colm, knocked at the door. "John showed up, explained the organization, and twisted my arm to get us involved," said Trausch, who subsequently became President of the Board in 1989.

Trausch's main objective as WIRE-Net's first President was to confront the security issues businesses in the area were facing. One of the first initiatives was forming a security detail that patrolled the area for nine hours every evening, seven days a week. "We were based near W. 65th and Detroit near the WIRE-Net offices at that time, and we checked on each member's building every night for break-ins," said Trausch. "The organization had about a dozen member companies at that time, and crime was the number one concern."

Trausch realized that part of the solution would have to involve the neighborhood. "We focused on a playground nearby which had about a half-acre of high, dense weeds and bushes, and sheltered the drug activity that was going on there," he said. "We conducted a public meeting and invited all of the companies, their employees and the families in the neighborhood. We went out and cleaned up that playground and the dead-end streets in the neighborhood that were being used as dumping grounds for garbage and old tires. The group really beautified the area. We were very proud to have organized it."

Today, Jerry Trausch works as Vice President at Marjet Communications, a Warrensville Heights business he founded. The company specializes in voice and data cabling for commercial and industrial plants across northeast Ohio. And being competitive is as critical today as it was back when Trausch presided over an infant organization called WIRE-Net.

"These days, you need to get people trained to keep up at the speed with which business happens," Trausch said. "You have to stay on top of every function of the business. And that's where WIRE-Net can help. They can find the outside source to hold your hand and take care of you."

"Back then, John Colm would address a WIRE-Net member's question in the same way as if they involved his own company. When John would look you in the eye and say, 'Here's your solution,' you'd believe him. And those solutions would normally work. Today he has a strong organization behind him to find solutions that work."

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