NEWARK – Karla Carson and her husband John were substantially ahead of the technology curve in 1984. That’s when they started The Computer Network, the Newark-based forerunner of what is now AlphaLink Technologies, a full-service technology and Internet service provider.
“Technology years are like dog years, it evolves so quickly,” Karla quipped. “So we’re older than dirt.”
Karla Carson was born in Newark and moved to Union Township in 5th grade. Her maiden name, by the way, was also Carson. “So, I’m a Carson-Carson,” she explained. “It still confuses people.”
She graduated from Granville High School in 1972 and attended OSU-Newark and COTC, then worked 12 years in human resources with a “federally funded 5-county job training organization.”
Meanwhile, John grew up in Winter Haven, Florida. He had a love for music and became a professional saxophone player. The two met when John was playing sax “on the road.” In 1979, his trio played at a hotel in Newark and Karla just happened to be moonlighting as a server to earn enough money to go back to college. “It really was a love at first sight thing,” she recalled.
John soon moved to Newark to be near Karla. Then in 1980 the two eloped. Two years later, life took another turn.
“I was working for a company in 1982,” John said, “that wanted to get into the computer business and wanted me to run it for them. I had never touched one before then. I was running their office machine business at the time. But then the owner decided to get out of the business. He approached me and offered to sell that part of the business to me.”
Meanwhile, Karla had taken a couple computer courses at COTC. “I loved the logic and problem-solving aspects,” she remembered.
In 1984 The Computer Network, now AlphaLink Technologies, was born.
“At the time,” Karla recalled, “not many clients could afford computers and the Internet was not a household necessity. It’s a field that changes almost daily, and we continue to love the challenge.”
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. Working with our terrific AlphaLink clients and watching our employees work together on hard problems and achieve victory. Nothing better!
Q. What are you most proud of about your career?
A. I never said I couldn’t do anything. Even when others might have cast doubt on my ability to succeed. Just made me try harder.
Q. What has been the biggest challenge in leading AlphaLink Technologies?
A. Work-Life Balance. For my husband and I as well as our employees. Service-based businesses can be stressful – no one schedules a disaster, and we always have to be prepared for the unexpected. As an employer, we have to work harder to make work rewarding and productively fun while making sure our team is focused on our goal to make our customers happy and be able to adapt technology to meet the challenges in each client’s business.
Q. What would you like people to know about AlphaLink Technologies they may not know?
A. We are a small business that can do very big things.
Q. How has AlphaLink Technologies changed through the years?
A. We change at the speed of technology. We must keep ahead of the curve and be prepared to provide forward-looking solutions. That means we can never be comfortable.
On the lighter side …
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. Mr. Destiny.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Currently, Bull. Anything with Law & Order in the title!
Q. What’s your favorite type of music?
A. Anything my husband is playing, which is normally Smooth Jazz and R&B. My playlist favs are Luther Vandross, Karen Carpenter and Darius Rucker.
Q. What is your favorite book, one you’d recommend others read? And why?
A. To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the few books I have read multiple times and see something different each time.
Q. What is your favorite sport or activity to participate in?
A. Reading. Back in the day, softball.
Q. What is favorite sport to watch?
A. MLB Baseball
Q. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
A. Supernatural Wit
Q. What is your favorite meal?
A. Chicken taco salad, no shell, no beans, no gauc, no sour cream, extra tomatoes and salsa. 2nd place, grilled salmon with salad or broccoli.
Q. Who is the person you most admire in your life, and why?
A. Only one? I would have to say my husband, John Carson. He is so talented, smart and kind. Always does the right thing.
Q. Who is a public figure you most admire?
A. First Responders (including Law Enforcement, Firefighters & EMS, those AEP folks that go out in the storm to restore electricity and, of course, our Military). These people are the definition of selfless.
Q. What’s your dream vacation?
A. Anytime we can see an MLB game! Only 6 more stadiums to go! Then, perhaps, we’ll start over!
Q. If you could be in any other job or profession, what would it be?
A. It would probably be technology related. Would love to do cyber-sleuthing for the good guys. It used to be ‘own my own Barnes & Nobles,’ but I wouldn’t let anyone buy any of my books…so I don’t think that would work out.
AlphaLink Technologies is located at 1496 West Main Street in Newark. For more information call 740-788-9000 or log on www.alink.com.
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