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Local businessman is finalist for entrepreneur of year

In the high-technology business that is satellite communications, ReeveHennion says, it's still the human element that counts.

What Keypoint is is people, telephones and computers, hesaid. But the key is people. I think it's the people we've been ableto attract and keep who have made the difference.

Apparently others agree that Hennion, who lives outside Jacksonville,has it right.

He heads Keypoint Services International in Medford and is one of threeservice-industry finalists for Oregon Entrepreneur of the Year.The winner will be announced Thursday at a banquet in Portland.

Oregon Business magazine also has listed his company last year and thisyear among its 100 best in the state to work for.

The 55-year-old Hennion left Viatech Inc. of Medford, where he had beenpresident since 1986, to form his own company in 1992. Both companies brokerthe installation and maintenance of ground equipment that businesses usefor satellite communications. Both rely on subcontractors to do the actualwork.

Hennion said businesses rely increasingly on satellite links not onlyto monitor cash flows and inventories but to transmit data and video imagesfor a variety of purposes, including sales and instruction. He said oneunusual application involved satellite bingo games for tribal casinos.

It's become important for business, he said. The reasonit's become so common is that it makes economic sense to distribute informationby satellite from a central point to a large number of points.

But Hennion said a pleasing personality is as important for his employeesas technical knowledge. For our customers, Keypoint is a voice overthe phone, he said.

Keypoint Services International started with three people; it employs16 today.

Hennion said there are few secrets about what a business must do to attractand keep employees.

You treat people well, he said. You make them partof the company. You don't keep secrets from them; you let them know what'sgoing on and let them make decisions. You pay them well and in differentways, not just in cash.

If people enjoy their work, or at least do not hate it, the extraeffort by them pays off for everybody. If you are loyal to your staff, yourstaff is going to be loyal to you.

Because the company has projects all over North America, Keypoint isopen for business 12 hours a day.

Everybody is clued in to step in and do any job at any time,Hennion said. But as far as the customer is concerned, it is a seamlessprocess.

Keypoint Services International could be situated anywhere. But Hennionalready was a Rogue Valley resident. Before he joined Viatech in 1986, hewas vice president and general manager of California Oregon BroadcastingInc., the parent company of Medford television station KOBI.

From 1963 to 1984, Hennion was a western reporter, editor and regionalexecutive with United Press International. His final position with UPI wasas vice president and general manager of its Pacific division in San Francisco.

Hennion has numerous community involvements in addition to his business.Among them are the chairmanship of the Jackson County Roads Committee andvice chairmanship of the Jackson County Planning Commission.

White Water Manufacturing Inc. of Grants Pass is the only other SouthernOregon nominee for the statewide award, but it is a finalist for an awardin a different category.

There aren't many of us here, so I think it speaks well for SouthernOregon that the people in Portland, where the decisions are being made,are paying attention to us, Hennion said. It bodes well forthe future.

Reeve Hennion, head of Keypoint Services International, says people are key to success. - Photo by Jim Craven</P