ForesTel Buy Gets Bluewave Into Pacific Northwest

It's Bluewave's first publicly announced acquisition of 2024.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 29, 2024

3 Min Read
Bluewave bought ForesTel

Columbia Capital-backed Bluewave Technology Group's acquisitions of technology advisor businesses continues with ForesTel.

West Linn, Oregon-based ForesTel and owner Dennis Allen has entered into a financially undisclosed transaction with New Jersey-based Bluewave. Bluewave in its Wednesday announcement stressed the geographical importance of ForeStel, which sits in the Pacific Northwest.

“With 35 years of strategic advisory expertise and a strong reputation in the Portland area for client care, ForesTel not only extends our reach in the U.S. but also enhances our dedication to client advocacy,” said Bluewave CEO Seth Penland.

Bluewave's Seth Penland

Personnel numbers on the Western side of the U.S. are growing. Bluewave in April hired Seattle-based Mike Stipe as its vice president of sales. And now promoted senior vice president of sales Andre van Zijl lives in Southern California, as does Penland. There is also a significant Denver presence, with seven people in the area, according to Bluewave.

Bluewave notably has acquired three Kentucky-based companies and established a hub in Louisville. It also holds offices in California, Pennsylvania and Missouri, in addition to its New Jersey headquarters.

ForesTel Background

The Oregon-based channel partner launched in 1989, reselling long distance calling, frame relay networks and dedicated internet access (DIA).

Related:He's Back! Craig Schlagbaum to Advise Bluewave on M&A

ForesTel existed as a subsidiary of the lumber trading company Forest City Trading Group. At the time Jacques Vaillancourt served as president, and Dennis Allen started working in sales for the company in 1995.

ForesTel in 2001 shifted to an agency model, as many of its reseller peers did at the turn of the century. In the agent model – which Bluewave and its peers have reframed as the advisor model – the agent works with a wide range of IT and telecom service providers, who handle support and billing for the agent's end user customers.

Allen said he left ForesTel in 2011 to start an agency called 24 Communications. They went on to acquire ForesTel in 2013. The latter branded itself "Forestel, a 24 Communications Company."

The technology advisor has earned multiple recognitions from its vendor partners, including Integra and Comcast Business. Allen said his company has prioritized the customer experience in its 35 years.

While some agents have historically sold services to their clients and kept little contact with them afterward, Bluewave chief marketing officer Lisa Guillaume said Allen worked actively with his customers after the implementation. His management of the support escalation process as well as coordinating the implementation process mirrors Bluewave's approach, Guillaume said.

"We are thrilled to join forces with Bluewave, enhancing our customer experience by providing our clients with more technology resources and supplier advocacy," Allen said.

ForesTel's Dennis Allen

ForesTel has grown to an active customer base of more than 700 businesses, according to Bluewave. In the agency world, active customers refers to businesses that are actively receiving supplier services that ForesTel sold them. Earlier this year Bluewave stated that it boasted more than 7,000 active customers.

Bluewave's last publicly announced acquisition was of Franklin, Tennessee-based Resource Communications Group (RCG) in October 2023.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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