CCC helps father-son team network for success

CCC alum Scott Tabako, right, started Flagstaff Computer Guys in 2008 after a career in the automotive industry and now works with his son, Stephen, who also takes computer networking classes at the CCC.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- It was the time of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs hitting it big when Scott Tabako graduated from high school in Minnesota.

“I’ve always been interested in computers,” Scott said.

But at the time, the market was flooded with computer people, so Scott did the sensible thing. He went into the automotive-repair field after high school. He moved to Flagstaff in 1997 with his family and continued to work in the automotive industry.

“I would look at some of my coworkers, getting older, getting ready to retire,” Scott said. “I didn’t want to be that guy 20 years from now.”

So he started doing computer repair work on the side while taking classes at Coconino Community College. Eventually, in 2008, when his computer-repair work continued to grow, he opened his own business, Flagstaff Computer Guys LLC. His son, Stephen, who is planning on continuing computer and networking classes at CCC, came on board in 2011 after the sale of the hotel where he worked.

“It’s paying the bills,” Scott said, smiling.

The business started in Scott’s Flagstaff home, but it has since grown to occupy space in a shopping center off King Street. The focus of the business has changed over the years. At first, Scott focused on “retail” work, or fixing computers, laptops and tablets. Since then, the focus has changed to a more business-to-business effort with networking devices and maintaining and troubleshooting business networks on monthly contracts.

Stephen enjoys the work, and said, “It’s nice to be inside.”

He added that he also enjoys the fact that there is no routine, that every day is different.

How is working with his father?

“It’s better than working with a boss you don’t really know,” Stephen said, and his father smiled.

As to the kind of impact the coursework at CCC had on him to start his own computer business, Scott said, “I would say it was pivotal.”

“Networking was always a mystery,” Scott added. “The training I received at CCC helped me figure out how it worked and took away the mystery.”

Scott took Cisco networking and Windows Server Administration coursework between 2005 and 2008. Stephen has finished one semester of CISCO networking coursework. Scott specifically credited CCC’s CIS Instructor Bill Branch for making the coursework relevant.

"It was refreshing to sit down in Bill’s class,” Scott said. “He knows his stuff and could present it in an understandable way and was confident about it. If he didn’t know the answer, he would get it for you.”

Branch would talk about real-life, hands-on experiences and was thorough. The evening class times were also convenient to work around Scott’s day job. Particularly important, though, Scott said, was that the coursework, unlike university tracks, was “targeted” for specifically what Scott and Stephen required.

As for the future, Scott said, “I think we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

He added that he and his son like the small-town atmosphere and the personal attention they can give to their clients. Network security is top of mind nowadays, and Scott said he will be returning to CCC.

“All this stuff gets outdated,” Scott said. “It’s all changed. I need to go back and do it again.”

When his CCC catalogue comes in the mail, he will be checking out the current computer information system listings to keep up to date in the marketplace. He added that he considers CCC to be a valuable resource to the county.

“It’s nice to have this,” Scott said.

For a video of the Tabako family's experience, visit YouTube here.


Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

All Dates

  • Wednesday, 3rd August 2016