Heartland Technology Solutions Sold To WesTel Systems


Heartland Technology Solutions, a Harlan, Iowa-based VAR led by longtime CEO Arlin Sorensen, has been sold to WesTel Systems for an undisclosed amount, according to Sorensen.

Heartland will continue to operate under the HTS banner as a division of its new parent company, West Iowa Technology. HTS President Connie Arentson and Vice President of Sales Larry Hedin will continue to work for HTS, while Sorensen and several other executives, including COO Jane Cage, will serve in an advisory capacity through a transition period, according to Heartland.

"When Jane and I merged our companies to form HTS in January of 2003, we had a 10 year plan in mind, and the timing of this offer perfectly aligned to that vision," said Sorensen in a statement. "This transition will give me more time to focus on a new consulting practice to help other MSPs and IT vendors (Heartland Leadership Group) and will give Jane freedom to pursue other interests."

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Last week, Cage received the 2012 Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for her work in Joplin, Mo., following the devastating tornado there.

In an email to CRN, Sorensen said, "This deal has happened rather quickly, and will allow me to focus on other areas of our business. The new owners are very similar in their culture and love of serving rural Midwestern people. It will be a good thing for everyone involved."

Sorenesen will continue to lead and have active roles in Heartland Tech Groups and its HTG Peer Groups of more than 300 MSPs and VARs, Heartland Leadership Group, HTS Ag, which sells precision agriculture solutions, and in Varvid, a digital communication company that Sorensen invested in last year.

"So I'm not retiring, and not really even slowing down. This sale just takes one spinning plate off my list of responsibilities and will allow me a little more time to nurture these other organizations that have taken a back seat to HTS," Sorensen said in the email. "I am confident that under the leadership of Connie Arentson who continues as president, HTS will continue to lead the industry in serving SMB clients across the Heartland."

Robert Gannon, CEO of WesTel Systems, said HTS is a highly regarded organization that has set a pace that others will follow.

WesTel Systems was incorporated as the Remsen, Alton, Granville Telephone Company in 1904 and is a longtime telecommunications company that has operated under the same ownership since 1926, providing telephone, Internet, cable, wireless phone service, IT sales and repairs in Iowa and Nebraska.

"For more than 100 years, our family-owned business has evolved in step with changing industry dynamics, and we view our acquisition of HTS as another great move that will position us for future growth, particularly as the telecom, data and print industries continue to converge," Gannon said in a statement.

PUBLISHED JAN. 2, 2013