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The Cardinal Communications Story

Matt McCarrie made a good living selling push-to-talk (PTT) two-way radio products and services in the Philadelphia area. In those days the hot PTT technology was the Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), a mobile technology developed by Motorola in 1993 and deployed by the Nextel commercial network in the U.S. in 1996. In that year Matt McCarrie (Father Judge Alumni) met and befriended colleague Tim Barnstead (Archbishop Ryan Alumni)—both became fast friends for more than 30 years. 

People of ability and ambition inevitably find themselves working in places where they become dissatisfied with management and sales strategy. They often eventually want to be their own bosses, set their own goals, control their own progress, and run their businesses how they see fit.

“Matt and I worked together for about 12 years,” says Barnstead a proud Archbishop Ryan graduate. “We were happy to have such an experienced guy working with us. At one point I had to relocate from southern New Jersey to Virginia, but Matt and I continued to talk about going into business together. 

Matt had the inspiration to name the company Cardinal Communications for the new endeavor, and therein hangs a tale.

“There’s a belief that a seeing a cardinal means that a loved one or family member who has passed on from this life wants you to know that they are thinking of you and wish the best for you.”

In 2020 McCarrie was working at home because of COVID. Sitting at his PC in his living room, he looked out of the window and saw a bird—a cardinal. Arriving every morning, it would fly away every 15 minutes or so, only to return. It would hang around all day pecking on his window for attention. McCarrie was curious: “I asked myself, ‘What does this bird want?’” He started posting pictures of it online and people reacted favorably to it. 

“There’s a belief that a seeing a cardinal means that a loved one or family member who has passed on from this life wants you to know that they are thinking of you and wish the best for you,” says McCarrie. “I took it as a sign that my late father was approving of what I was doing. I said to Tim, ‘Let’s give this business a shot.’ So McCarrie started working on building the business after he separated from his former employer. Then an amazing thing happened, a cardinal started visiting Tim’s house in Virginia! As it happens, his father had passed away too.” Barnstead said, there’s a bush in front of my house, and one day I see a cardinal sitting there, and it’s not budging. I put my phone right up to the glass to take a photo and it didn’t flinch. In fact, it seemed like it was looking inside the house and checking up on things. I thought this was amazing. Maybe it was a sign?

Essentially, the company started in July 2020.  Matt started feeling his way through the startup process,” says Barnstead. “He did research, contacted companies overseas, and started developing, testing, producing products.”

“The bird came around every single day for nine months, all day, until 5:00 p.m.” says McCarrie. 

In October of 2020, after Cardinal Communications was up and running and well on its way, the bird stopped its daily visits. 

“Yes, the birds eventually disappeared, so I guess both our fathers decided we didn’t need any more encouragement or help,” muses Barnstead. 

Cardinal Communications Hears You!

Fortunately, from their long business experience, McCarrie and Barnstead know what makes a great company tick. This is reflected in their corporate motto: “We Hear You,” which refers to several things: service, customer satisfaction and product customization. “Service was always very important to us,” says Barnstead. “I have always said that ‘sales gets you the customer but service keeps the customer.’

“We want to give our customers the best experience and the highest level of service,” says Barnstead. Cardinal’s “We Hear You” motto also stands for how they actively listen to customers’ needs and develop customized solutions. “The audio accessory portion of our business is rapidly expanding,” says McCarrie. “We deal in a lot of audio accessories and presently much of Cardinal’s business in this area centers on audio accessories. 

As an example, McCarrie had a contact at a major chain of convenience stores that needed parts for a new concept store. “They gave us a shot at providing a parts which open the door to other opportunities,” he says. We then customized, tested, and provided a better audio accessory for them at a reasonable price. They loved it.”

“This is all possible because of our factory with great people overseas,” adds Barnstead. “A company may be selling a product like a common earpiece, but often they want to sell something that’s better and cheaper. We will show the product to our technologists abroad and tell them what improvements and changes need to be made. If something doesn’t meet our expectations, we just send it back and they keep making modifications until we are satisfied with the result. We want to impress our customers in terms of functionality, quality, and price. That’s the kind of thing that made America great.”

“We want to give our customers the best experience and the highest level of service... We Hear You!”

From PTT To Fleet Monitoring & Management

Right now, Cardinal Communications continues to build up its audio business, but it’s been moving in new directions. There’s a new world of revolutionary mobile communications technologies out there, a veritable alphabet soup of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs), Mobile Virtual Network Aggregators (MVNAs) and Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine 2 Machine (M2M) services.

The humble walkie-talkie of long ago has evolved into Push-to-Talk (PTT) mobile devices and Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC), a service option overlaid onto a cellular phone network enabling subscribers to use their phones as walkie-talkies with unlimited range. Cardinal Communications Nation Wide Radio encompasses the latest in Nationwide PTT two-way economical mobile as well as portable PTT two-way PoC radios with long-range coverage, along with gateways, Wi-Fi access points and networking software for Wi-Fi and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) radio devices.

“Cardinal Communications is also a fleet management solutions provider,” says Barnstead. “If you have a vehicle such as a van or whatever, we can leverage use of a 1-800 number or sales service number and can provide a radio device so that you can be in a place like Florida and talk to me directly in Virginia as if I’m sitting next to you.”

Cardinal has also moved into the world of fleet monitoring and tracking. Fleet owners and managers are always looking for the best way to monitor and evaluate fleet driver behavior. They constantly worry about inefficient and unsafe driver conduct that can lead to unnecessary costs and even road accidents.  Barnstead elaborates: “With the fleet management platform we offer, we can show you how easy it is to monitor fleet driving behavior. You can see how the vehicle is doing: How fast it’s driving, where it drove, and if it’s moving, excessively idling, adding extra mileage with out-of-route rides, or parked near a lunch spot.”

“We also offer push cameras for vehicle interiors,” says Barnstead, “so you can see if drivers are drinking coffee or holding a phone up to their ear while driving, which of course can get them into trouble. Also, if there’s an accident, the camera will capture what happens. We can determine if quick acceleration or braking occurred.”

Cardinal Communications’ resells fleet management hardware and software and vehicle tracking nationwide via voice at a reduced price.  The bottom line is—if you have a vehicle operating in a fleet out there across the U.S., these technologies offered by Cardinal Comms practically put fleet managers in the driver’s seat. It reveals lots of driver and vehicle parameters—indeed, practically everything that’s going on with the vehicle can be viewed.

The benefits to the customer by employing this technology are simple and straightforward:

#1 – It keeps a better tab on the drivers and how efficient they are. 

#2 – More importantly, fleet companies will enjoy very healthy discounts because the drivers are aware that they are being monitored and won’t use a vehicle for personal use or act irresponsibly. It can literally correct many bad driver behaviors. Better vehicle operation and driver performance save money and give owners a competitive advantage.

Join cardinal Communications On Its Roadmap to the future

Cardinal Communications’ first location was a small 175-square foot office. Now it maintains large offices in Exton, Pennsylvania, with additional offices in Virginia and Florida. With plenty to offer, it’s easy to find something to fulfill your communications needs at Cardinal Communications. As it explores new mobile technologies and services, the future of Cardinal Communications will be bright.

Matt McCarrie and Tim Barnstead know this due to a visit from their loved ones and they listened. 

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