Wizard Communication Systems, Inc, was founded in 1996 by
Jim and Jean Weber from Tonawanda, NY. They had purchased an existing Internet provider known as Microage of Western NY
who was located in Niagara Falls when Jim had heard that they were planning on going out of business.
This was not a planned purchase prior to September of 1996 at all.
At the time, Jim was working at a medical device company called Wilson Greatbatch Ltd. He was
a Quality Assurance Manager in charge of the Final Inspection Department. His years of computer experience
and his degree in electronics began to lead him to the workings of the Internet.
In the early part of 1995, Jim began designing web sites for
himself and friends. As he developed his web design skills and became more knowledgeable about the
Internet itself, he realized how important the Internet would be for all businesses and began to encourage
Wilson Greatbatch to get access to the web. He designed their original web site in the later months of 1995
and published the sites on the Microage web servers.
As he developed his relationship with Microage, he became their
webmaster and redesigned their site. Then in the second week of September, 1996 things started to change
quite dramatically. Once Jim found out that Microage was going out of business, he was concerned about
what would happen to their customers who have already prepaid. So, after many hours of discussion,
Jim and Jean made an offer to buy the ISP equipment and to honor the remaining time on all of Microage's customers.
The Grand Opening...
Within two short weeks, the offer was accepted and a new corporation
was formed called, "Wizard Communication Systems, Inc." At midnight on October 1, 1996, Wizard officially opened their
doors and started up the full operation. On Halloween Night, 1996 the whole operation was moved from
the former Niagara Falls location to their present location on 2 Main Street in the City of Tonawanda, NY.
The Growth of Wizard...
Since 1996, Wizard has grown from approximately 800 customers
and 80 dialup lines connected to 28.8k modems to over 5200 customers and more
than 600 dialup
lines connected to advanced dialup servers offering dialup speeds up to 56k. They began with three main
servers with shared services on each server and a HP router running the whole Internet. Facilities have now
grown to include multiple Cisco routers and over three dozen servers each handling independent services for enhanced
security and redundancy.
Where did the name come from?
Many people have asked us, "Where did you get the name "Wizard" from"?
Well, the name was chosen for two basic reasons. The first reason being that the name Wizard is
usually associated with a helping tool that comes with various software programs to help people use the programs.
Since Wizard is dedicated to helping their customers with the Internet, it seemed like a natural.
The second reason, and just as strong as a motivation, was JRR Tolkien's, "The Hobbit" and the
"Lord of the Rings" Tolkien is the founder's favorite author and his favorite character from the book
is "Gandalf the Wizard". Jim had used the name wizard for many years on the Internet and on the old BBS
services prior to the Internet.