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Syntela News

Syntela Conferencing Receives 2012 SBA Small Business Excellence Award

May 24, 2012

SBA Small Business Excellence Award

On May 4th, 2012 the SBA and M&T Bank awarded Syntela Conferencing a Small Business Excellence award at their 14th Annual SBA Awards Luncheon. Syntela was one of 10 companies to receive this award for their outstanding achievements and the positive impact they've had on the economy and communities in upstate New York. Dino Dimkopoulos, President of Syntela, accepted the award and gave a short speech. The luncheon was emceed by WSYR News Channel 9's news anchor Dan Cummings and held at The DoubleTree Hotel.

Centerstate CEO 2011-2012 Annual Report:
Member Engagement: Syntela Conferencing

Jeannie and Dino Dimkopoulos founded Syntela Conferencing in 2008, bringing a combined 40+ years experience in the communications industry, because they recognized that many conferencing service providers fell short on one of the most important factors in the longevity of any technology business – world-class customer service. They set out to be the most employee and customer-focused conferencing service provider available in New York State, putting their customers first.

Syntela is a New York State certified women-owned business enterprise that provides audio, video, and web conferencing and collaboration services that help businesses and government agencies connect their employees, business partners, and customers. They joined CenterState CEO in 2009 to expand their visibility to existing and potential customers. They knew that many of those customers were already CenterState CEO members, making their chamber membership particularly important since the growth of the company is dependent on positive word-of-mouth referrals on the experiences customers have with their company. Yet, the company struggled to find the full value of its membership.

Jeannie and Dino worked one-on-one with the CenterState Chamber services team to explore new ways to build relationships with other members and customers. Energized by CenterState CEO's level of personal engagement and vision on how it provides value to its members - with newly defined programs, events, and services - they recommitted to their membership.

"We've seen a true commitment from CenterState CEO to listen to member feedback to deliver greater value to its members. The enhanced programs and services being offered have provided us with a host of new opportunities to build relationships with other members and potential customers. As a result, we have increased our involvement and are excited about the leadership role our company will have in CEO's committees."

~ Dino Dimkopoulos, President, Syntela Conferencing

Syntela's unique platform delivers business applications that replace cumbersome legacy services with something radically simpler. The company hosts its applications in premier data centers around the country delivering industry leading reliability. Coupling the most relevant services in today's business environment with a customer support team extremely focused on helping companies meet their business objectives has provided a competitive advantage to competitors outsourcing their services. With this expertise, Jeannie and Dino found a way to engage in CenterState CEO through a leadership role in building the organization's Technology Subcommittee of the new Training and Education Committee.

Dino will also serve on the Partner Advisory Committee to help inform how CenterState CEO can continue to deliver on the top priorities of its Partner members: programs to directly save money; training and education; events and networking opportunities; advertising and promotion of their business; and retaining and hiring regional talent.

Syntela also found that, with expertise from its two predecessor organizations, CenterState CEO now offers more opportunities for companies such as theirs to help CEO meet its regional economic development goals. Hand in hand with a commitment to serve the community, Syntela's sees value in supporting the regional economy through CenterState CEO.

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New conferencing provider launches in Syracuse

By Kevin Tampone, Central New York Business Journal, April 3, 2009

Two local veterans of the telecommunications business have started a new company focused specifically on conferencing.

Dino and Jeannie Dimkopoulos launched the firm, Syntela, last May. Prior to starting their own company, both spent years at MCI Communications, now known as Verizon Business.

Dino and Jeannie Dimkopoulos, owners of Syracuse-based startup Syntela, set up a conference through their company's Web site. Syntela provides voice, video, and Web conferencing.
Dino and Jeannie Dimkopoulos, owners of Syracuse-based startup Syntela, set up a conference through their company's Web site. Syntela provides voice, video, and Web conferencing.

Dino was the main MCI executive for upstate New York and eastern Canada, while Jeannie led a sales team for MCI’s conferencing business.

Most recently, Dino was a vice president at USA Datanet in its commercial account division. Jeannie was executive director at the American Heart Association in Syracuse.

Dino Dimkopoulos, Syntela’s CEO, says he and his wife have always been entrepreneurial and launching a company of their own was an idea that appealed to both of them.

Their backgrounds prompted them to look toward the communications field. They settled on conferencing largely because companies specializing in that field alone are few and far between in upstate New York, says Jeannie Dimkopoulos, Syntela’s president.

She adds that her background is heavy on conferencing and so she was already familiar with the field in detail.

What they believe sets Syntela apart is not only the focus on conferencing alone, but the attention the firm pays to its clients. Jeannie says they want to take the time to get to know their customers’ businesses and how they use conferencing in their day-to-day operations.

“Customers typically don’t even know who their conference provider is,” she says. “We want to focus more on giving them that attention that’s missing.”

By working closely with clients, Syntela can come up with a conferencing package that suits their individual customers specific needs.

“The real key is to understand how a company is using its conferencing service,” Dino says.

Syntela provides voice, video, and Web conferencing.

The business draws clients from a range of industries including banking and finance, law, engineering, technology, health care, pharmaceutical, and the nonprofit world. Jeannie and Dino also expect government will become a major consumer of conferencing services in the near future.

Syntela’s market stretches from Albany to Buffalo and into eastern Canada, Dino says. The region is particularly well suited to a conferencing company because local businesses use conferencing services often. The region’s winter weather plays a big role in that fact, Dino says.

Companies everywhere are also looking to save anywhere they can given the current recession. More conferencing is a big way businesses can cut travel budgets, Jeannie says, and it’s an easy way companies can be more environmentally friendly.

Syntela currently employs four people, including the two owners, at its headquarters at 231 Walton St. in downtown Syracuse. The company plans to add a fifth employee soon.

Conferencing Industry News

As economy slumps, business travel changes. What road warriors can expect in the coming months.

By Rebecca Ruiz, Forbes.com

The failure of major financial institutions last month followed by weeks-long chaos on Wall Street has caused many companies to re-evaluate their solvency and spending, particularly in a line item that few employees want to sacrifice: travel. While cutting back on business travel has been a concern this year given the rising cost of airfare, the recent turmoil has provided an added urgency, according to experts in the business travel industry. To address the issue, travel managers are considering everything from curtailing trips that aren't revenue-generated to renegotiating contracts with hotels to include free Internet or gym access to asking employees of the same sex to share hotel rooms.

"There's a lot of shock, a lot of gallows humor," says Susan Gurley, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, a nonprofit association based in Alexandria, Va. While at an ACTE-sponsored conference in Rome last week, Gurley overheard executives debating different cost-cutting strategies.

"People are trying to figure out what trips are critical," she says. "It seems like an easy thing to know, but they're analyzing it over and over again."

The deep-thinking is bringing about changes to the travel policy at many corporations or emboldening executives to enforce those rules.

Changing conditions

In a survey this month of 131 ACTE members, 61 percent of respondents said that cost-reduction was their primary goal when it came to corporate travel. One-third said they expected to spend less on travel.

Shrinking budgets have already had an impact on airlines and hotels. First- and business-class air traffic declined by 1 percent from July 2007 to July 2008, according to the International Air Transport Association. That's following an average growth of 1.5 percent during the first half of the year.

Drops on some routes have been even more dramatic: Premium air travel between Africa and the Far East was down 4.2 percent after a 9.7 percent rise in June. Preliminary numbers from Smith Travel Research show that hotel occupancy in September was down by 5-7 percent from last September.

Even when companies send employees on the road, they scrutinize every expense. One seemingly minor example, says Frank Schnur, vice president of Advisory Services for American Express Business Travel, is where business travelers chose to dine at the airport. "Do they pick up a sandwich for lunch or stop in an expensive restaurant in every airport and have a sushi lunch?" Schnur says. "On an individual basis that's a $20 or $30 difference, but across 20,000 travelers it can have a million-dollar difference."

Some of ACTE's members, according to Gurley, have been floating the idea of asking employees to eat before arriving at the airport when possible. Other cost-cutting measures include traveling in coach on international flights, downgrading from Town Cars to taxis, or sharing hotel rooms with same-sex co-workers. Since the business climate now favors the buyer instead of the supplier, many companies are renegotiating their travel contracts to include free Internet or access to the gym.

Higher expectations

As the stakes rise for the bottom line, these new rules will come with higher expectations of traveling employees. It will no longer be enough to return from a trip only having wined-and-dined a client. Now, many companies will expect a "return on [the] investment", says Gurley. Ultimately, this puts pressure on employees to generate even more revenue from travel than they might have before.

But executives can't place such demands on staff - especially during a time when they likely feel increased pressure at home as well - without bearing some of the burden.

"It's critical that leadership set a good example and that they hold themselves accountable to the same standards that they hold their travelers to," says Schnur. To prevent morale from sinking, Schnur recommends that senior leaders connect travel-related savings to the overall financial health of the company. A $5 million dollar savings, for example, can be invested in research and development.

"When they're able to make that connection to the broader vision," says Schnur, "the vast majority will be able to buy into it."

© 2009 Forbes.com