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Skywell Systems Mailing Equipment of Pennsylvania

Published: November 27, 2018

Skywell Systems was founded in 1985 by Stephen Nickenig.  At that time selling card machines that pressed a card against the envelope to produce an address. Soon they came out with labeling machines to apply labels from 1 up fan-folded labels onto envelopes. It was the beginning of a new industry and Steve was there with Terry Mosley of Datatech and then Bodo Von Der Wense and Rena Systems

Take a Step Back in Time with a piece of the old Skywell website!

The original Skywell Systems Logo

As see on Dec 6th 1998:
“SkywellSystems is 14 years old. In this short time, we have served over 3000clients and established ourselves as the premier mailing equipment company in the Delaware Valley. Having begun in 1985, the company has outgrown its facilities twice. Today Skywell occupies a 5000 square foot building in Ambler, PA with two full showrooms. Each one is a fully functioning mail center which allows our customers to view and evaluate the latest in mailing equipment and software to fulfill their needs in mail preparation to meet U.S. Post Office requirements.  We offer a complete range of equipment from companies such as Datatech, Rena, MBM, Astro, Bryce, and Duplo to name a few of the leaders in the mailing equipment business.”

A memorable graphic from the old Skywell.com

1st Capture Dec. 6th 1998: https://web.archive.org/web/19981206232134/http://www.skywell.com:80/index.html

Last Capture July 2nd, 2007: https://web.archive.org/web/20070702193742/http://www.skywell.com:80/index.html

Flash forward to today and 2 of the main Skywell crew are here at All For Mailers Inc carrying on the tradition under a new name but providing the same quality sales and service! John Gannone one of the original salesmen of Skywell is the Vice President of All For Mailers Inc. John started with Skywell back in 1991

2 past Skywell Locations:
213 W. Butler Ave
Ambler, PA 1902
433 Caredean Drive Ste C
Horsham PA 19044

I, James Angst, Started All For Mailers Inc back in 2006. I started with Skywell Systems back in 1993 as a service technician. As time went on I found myself wearing more and more hats. Starting with taking over training and supporting clients on mailing software such as Arclist and BCC Mail Manager, then all MS DOS based. The next thing I knew I designed Skywell’s 1st website Skywell.com and added an IT hat and networking the computers to share 1 dial-up internet line. It wasn’t long after, I became the service manager hiring and training new technicians.  Then a 2nd website for Skywell to allow clients to purchase supplies and equipment online. Soon after Skywell became an internet powerhouse. One of the 1st small mailing equipment companies to master the internet and e-commerce. Our internet sales exploded, we found ourselves adapting to a new world where the internet took our local territory in Ambler Pennsylvania and made the entire USA our sales territory. Our sales volume did not go unnoticed for long and in stepped Pitney Bowes, just as some of us had started talking about finding a way to purchase Skywell Systems from Mr. Nickenig. Before we knew it, it was too late, the deal was done and we were faced with staying on or starting out on our own from scratch. I really did not want to but I finally agreed to give corporate life a shot. They said they would leave us alone and had no plans of changing anything. I knew better, but a 401k, stability, and health insurance were calling. Not to mention the fear of the unknown, with starting a new company with a 300-pound gorilla looking over my shoulder, was a bit scary.

It wasn’t too long before they moved the President and founder of Skywell Systems into an office at Secap, another company purchased by Pitney Bowes.  Salesman John Dugan and I soon found ourselves applying to run Skywell. Neither of us got the position and we were told that one of the people that interviewed us, would be taking over the position. A few months later I asked one of my interviewers, and now boss for some insight on my interview and why I was turned down. I know he said a few things, but the only thing that I heard was, your incapable of running this company.  That was it, I was no longer going to be trapped. I decided then to make sure I had a plan B and C because from day 1 I knew there was no way they would leave this company intact. I resigned myself to working my ass off and doing everything asked of me and more. But at the end of the day, I would go home and prepare for the end of Skywell Systems.

Then one day, I was asked to sign a paper, agreeing to a bunch of terms, rules, and referring to documents on the Pitney Bowes server that I did not even have access to. They wanted me to sign off on all kinds of security policies, network policies, and privacy policies.  I knew we had to change a bunch of things before I could sign the document. All wondering why me!? Why am I the only one being asked to sign off on this. I’m not the boss.  So I made a list of all the things we needed to change in order to be in compliance, a list showing how we were not in compliance with company policies. One of the things in the list was the fact that I was assisting a client, after hours, with his mailing software, and getting paid by him to do so. It wasn’t much but it helped us both. His software guy had left and he needed to find a replacement. In doing so it helped this client grow and buy more equipment. Now the owner Stephen Nickenig, knew I was doing this and understood it was not worth company time to do it during work hours. However, PB decided to use this to fire me. Stating I did not disclose this and was competing with PB by doing this. When I had disclosed this to my new boss. When confronted, I explained and said, if I’m competing, then Pitney can offer the service to the client. Go to the client and offer to run the software. Even better, show me anywhere, that you will go to a clients location, run a list through BCC Mail Manager and leave. They could not and would not, yet they used it to fire me. For me, it was game on! Time to start my own business.

So All For Mailers Inc. was off and running and the cease and assist letters started rolling in. Saying you are under contract / non compete and are not allowed to work in this field. I simply responded, nonsense, you relinquished the right to enforce that contract when you fired me without cause. After a few back and forths, I paid a lawyer to fire back, explaining the facts and letting them know if they continued to hinder my ability to make a living, I would be filing a lawsuit. I knew if I approached or contacted local clients, I was asking to pay more lawyer fees to defend myself from a company that had more money and lawyers than I could possibly compete with. I had to make my new business work with nothing but net! I worked night and day getting my website and store up and running in record time with little to no money to do so.  Thankfully 2 of the main mailing equipment suppliers believed in me and believed they should allow me the opportunity. To them, I am forever grateful! They made this possible! I quickly repaid them and became one of their top 10 dealers, winning prizes in sales. Even better, I proved to my PB interviewer, the man who said I was “Incapable of running the business” that I was more than capable of running a business. It wasn’t long before my interviewer was out, the PB VP that also interviewed me was out, and the HR rep that fired me was out and Skywell Systems was closed and rolled into Pitney Bowes.

 

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