Jan. 16, 2023

Just east of the Elk Creek Landing on Tenkiller Ferry Lake, near marinas, boat storage and a diner, sits Ziese Products Inc. The 70,000-square-foot high-tech machine shop produces parts such as valves and pistons for the petroleum industry, electric motor components and parts that are used in the conveyor systems in warehouses for big box stores and online retailers.

Ziese Products specializes in producing parts using computer numerical control, or CNC, machining, which uses digital schematics to guide high-precision tools. The company was started by Richard Ziese as a one-man shop in the early 1990s. Sean Ziese, now the president of the company, began working there as a junior in high school. The company now has about 60 employees.

“When we first started, everything was faxed,” Ziese said. “Customers would either mail or fax schematics. Nothing happened overnight. The internet has turned everything around.”

As customers came to expect speedier digital communication for orders, the lack of a reliable high-speed internet provider in the area became a disadvantage for the company, Ziese said.

“We tried every satellite company out there, and they were all horrible — very inconsistent,” he said. “It was slow, and even with a gentle rain shower, you’d lose service. It almost took you back to the days where you had to use mail.”

In addition, the limited bandwidth meant only a few people could use the internet at once, and downloading large files was “almost impossible,” Ziese said.

OzarksGo brought its fiber-optic internet service to the area about two years ago, and Ziese hasn’t looked back. Especially as more of the company’s software becomes cloud-based, a reliable, high-speed connection is critical.

“Ozarks has just opened us up tremendously,” he said. “We ship every day. If the internet’s down, we can’t ship.”


Brant Arbaugh, the head of IT for Ziese Products, said the improved connectivity makes many tasks easier, from receiving schematics to processing payroll.

“Screens that now take 2 seconds to load used to take 20 minutes,” Arbaugh said. “It removed a lot of wasted time.”

In addition to the reliable, high-speed internet service, Ziese and Arbaugh both touted the phone service provided by OzarksGo.

Arbaugh said he also appreciates the support OzarksGo provides when something goes wrong, particularly from Frank Catron, a fiber technician.
“Just being able to reach out to Frank and know it’s somebody local, and I know he’ll take care of it,” Arbaugh said. “The guy’s a lifesaver.”

Ziese said he and his employees appreciate being able to live and work in a rural setting, and OzarksGo and its fiber-optic network have eliminated many of the disadvantages.

“Many guys love coming to work in this environment,” Ziese said. “You don’t have the stress of driving down six lanes of traffic, and it’s beautiful. We are so lucky to work where we are.”

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