Kenworth of Louisiana is a full-service commercial truck dealership and service provider with seven locations across the state. Partnering with Gage for 14+ years, the two companies have continued to grow and evolve together. We sat down with the Gage team and Jude Becnel, Kenworth of Louisiana’s Vice President, to learn a little bit more about their relationship, how it has changed over the years and what they see moving into the future.
When Gage and Kenworth were first introduced to one another, Kenworth was a much smaller operation with only a handful of locations throughout the southern part of Louisiana. They first sought out Gage to help expand their footprint from three to seven locations and to establish a streamlined telephone system throughout. But this was only the beginning. “Once we turned to Gage to take care of our systems, we found we needed a lot more work than we thought,” said Becnel. “They filled some gaps that we didn’t know we had.”
Now, in addition to phone services, Gage provides IT, cybersecurity, help desk, satellite, power and cabling services to Kenworth of Louisiana, with additional projects in progress. With so many services in motion, Gage has taken the extra step to provide weekly status updates so that it’s easy for everyone to have a pulse on what’s going on and to address any foreseen issues. “They make our system robust so that we don’t have to worry about anything happening when we go to sleep,” said Becnel. “And when our computer systems do go down, they know as fast as I do, and they are able to take action instantly.”
Asked if he recommends Gage to others, Becnel said, “There’s no competition. Comparing them to normal phone or IT guys isn’t a thing. When we have a problem, they jump on it. It’s a rare day when I can’t get in touch with someone to help us.” This dynamic was reiterated by Gage Relationship Manager Justin Peck. When asked about the lines of communication between Gage and Kenworth, Peck said, “These guys have our cell numbers. There’s no 8-5 rule. That is just our relationship.”
In regard to the future, Becnel said, “Our relationship is only going to continue to grow as we move to more cloud-based systems and they become our sole provider.” In fact, Gage is in the process of transitioning Kenworth’s first location from a Toshiba phone system to Gage Cloud Voice (GCV), with the plan to eventually make the switch to the VoIP platform at all Kenworth locations for seamless integration. One of Kenworth’s main reasons for converting to the cloud? To build redundancies so that their facilities across the state can remain operational, even during hurricane season.
As is common for Louisiana businesses, storms have been an ongoing challenge for Kenworth and its operations. Both Gage and Kenworth reminisced on a particular time when they had to work together to stay afloat – and that was during the Lake Charles hurricane in 2020. Kenworth’s power had gone down at the Lake Charles location, but they still needed to stay in contact with their customers since many of them were aiding in relief efforts and in providing gasoline. Gage was able to transport mobile satellite internet units to Kenworth, enabling them to resume operations. Gage’s team kept Kenworth operational for about a month while local infrastructure was repaired.
“Our clients were working around the clock during the storm,” said Becnel. “A lot of people were in a bind. If our systems aren’t up and running and they can’t get in touch with us, then there’s no way we can help them. We were back up and running probably before anyone else in Lake Charles.”
Following this experience, Gage and Kenworth set forth a contingency plan to get ahead of future storms. When Hurricane Ida struck in 2021, the team at Gage was prepared and had the same equipment dispatched to Kenworth within days of the storm. Becnel said, “I didn’t even have to tell them last year. Everything was already set up and on standby.”
In addition to converting all Kenworth of Louisiana locations to GCV, Gage is also working with Kenworth on a brand new buildout, where everything is completely turnkey. Gage is providing cabling, security cameras, computers, wireless access points and more to completely streamline its services. The goal is to establish and maintain connectivity between all locations for optimization in the future.
Keeping technology as a constant line item in their budget, Kenworth is always looking for ways to improve to better serve their customers. “There’s always something that can be better,” commented Jason Landry, Gage Vice-President of Sales. “If you’re all going down the same road with the same vision and understand the next steps, then you’re headed in the right direction.”
“There’s no doubt that our business will grow and that we will continue working with Gage,” said Becnel. “They keep us ahead of all of the system upgrades, and I trust them to look at the equipment we’re purchasing and its lifecycle so that it won’t be obsolete in a year. We have to have reliable systems to support what we do. Gage has been a big part of that.”