By ARLENE JOHNS
When Dennis P. Kotzan heard a radio commercial for a virtual office, he got an idea.
Kotzan, of Kotzan CPA & Associates, reasoned that the concept – to provide professional space without incurring the costs associated with a traditional office – could work well in Johnstown.
Already in the process of building a new office complex to house his accounting firm, Kotzan set aside the larger portion of Budfield Street Professional Building, 334 Budfield St., Richland Township, to house the virtual offices.
Managed by his wife, Janice, and son-in-law, Walter Kalista, Richland Executive Office Suites will provide companies as well as the self-employed the opportunity to have a presence in Johnstown.
The offices will be available to tenants on an as-needed basis with packages, starting at $149 a month, tailor-made for each client.
Amenities include conference rooms, videoconferencing and high-speed Internet capabilities, personal mailboxes, local phone and fax numbers, a color copier and plenty of parking. Tenants will have use of an office where they can entertain clients in a professional manner. Names will be on doors, a reception area will greet visitors and a kitchenette will be on site.
A secretary will be available on an as-needed basis and notary service is next door.
Kotzan said the idea will appeal to lawyers, pharmaceutical representatives, engineering firms, technology firms and companies hoping to do business with the area’s defense industries.
“No need to work from a hotel anymore,” he said.
Ten executive offices will be available as well for those who want a more permanent space.
Kotzan said the many features at the complex will enable a company to train employees locally rather than sending them out of state.
“They can have a catered lunch,” he said. “And they can go home by 5 p.m.”
Located in one of the Keystone Innovation Zones for Greater Johnstown, Richland Executive Office Suites can enable a company to be eligible for tax incentives.
Cumberland, Md.-based Conxx, a company that designs communications networking systems, is the first confirmed tenant in the new building.
The company was responsible for installing Cambria’s wireless system.
Matt Sernell of Geistown, vice president of Pennsylvania operations, said his company will benefit from the KIZ incentives and from having a permanent presence in Johnstown.
“Being mostly a field company, we don’t need a building,” he said. “But we need something that lets us conduct business in a professional manner.”
Sernell said the local office has three full-time employees and plans to offer internships through Pitt-Johnstown.
He hopes to add additional part-time employees as well.
Kalista said he believes the virtual office complex is the first of its kind in the region.
“We’re really excited about it,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s a great idea.”
Janice Kotzan said the virtual office will work for many.
“Your office is your laptop anymore,” she said. “However, you still may need an office. What we’re offering is the office for the 21st century but with a little bit of tradition.”