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Department of Fish & Wildlife

On The Right Track

Cerium helps the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife save money and streamline communications across nine locations throughout the state.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife had a communication challenge. No, it wasn’t about talking to the animals. It was about ensuring effective communication and collaboration for more than 1,600 staff members at nine different offices across the state.


Solutions Provided

  • Since 2007, The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has relied on Cerium Networks’ expertise to help them meet communications challenges.
  • Cerium’s Mike Rose has helped the department replace old phone systems with a new Avaya® phone system.
  • Cerium successfully integrated the new Avaya equipment with the department’s Cisco® Network gear and Microsoft® software.
  • Upgrading to an Avaya phone system allowed the department to save money by eliminating long-distance phone charges.

In 2007, the agency began working with Mike Rose of Cerium Networks to replace older PBXs that were starting to fail. Rose helped the agency purchase and implement new Avaya phone systems and gain the benefits of IP communications technology.

“The goal was to replace the dying phone systems and link the new Avaya systems together so that users could make local calls across our headquarters, regional and district offices,” said Angie Ragan, Network Architect, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We have been adding systems as we put in new offices or as systems need to be upgraded. We work with Cerium on all of these projects and haven’t had any problems with any of our systems.”

The guys at Cerium are extremely knowledgeable about these products… They know their stuff, which makes it really easy for us.

Experienced Guide

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife comprises six regions representing the diverse geography of the state. By developing a long-term relationship with Cerium, the agency has a partner that understands its communications infrastructure and business requirements.

“Because they have done all of our installs since day one, they know the Avaya system layout in all of our offices,” Ragan said. “When we bring up a new office, Cerium knows that we need to look at all of the other systems as well to make sure they’re properly connected, and if we want to upgrade a particular system we have to upgrade another one at the same time. It’s nice to have someone with that long-term knowledge of our infrastructure.”

Most recently, Cerium helped the agency implement an Avaya IP Office system in its new district office in Port Townsend. Agency staff was moving into the facility right after Labor Day, and the Cerium team worked to ensure that the phone system was ready.

“We had closed an office in Brinnon and were moving all those users who lived in Port Townsend into the new office,” said Derringer. “There was a lot of coordinating, working around furniture movers and people setting up their offices. Cerium installed the phone system before Labor Day and connected to the rest of the systems we already had in place.”

“Our staff in Port Townsend can call headquarters in Olympia and any of the other regional and district offices and not incur long-distance phone charges. It’s been quite a cost savings for us and a lot more convenient to have all of our offices interconnected.”

Out of the Woods

Derringer has primary responsibility for the agency’s phone systems, while Ragan gets involved with new installs to handle the routing and switching. Managing the communications infrastructure of a state-wide agency with nine locations is a big job, so having a strong integration partner is critical.

“Nikki handles 80 percent of the issues in-house,” said Ragan, “but the other 20 percent are things that we’re not familiar with. At that point, we open a ticket with Cerium support and they help us resolve the problem. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s usually serious. It’s great to have Cerium to help us with those types of situations.”

The Cerium team doesn’t just respond to the agency’s requests but takes an active role in ensuring the communications infrastructure stays up-to-date.

“When we did that last install in Port Townsend, we were talking about some of our original systems aging. Mike took it upon himself to look at all of our sites and come up with a list of components that needed to be upgraded to bring them all online with the same version,” Derringer said. “We’re about to embark on a project to upgrade all but the two newest offices.”

Cerium provides a one-stop resource with the knowledge, experience and geographic reach to serve all of the agency’s communications needs. Plus, the Cerium team is easy to work with.

“The guys at Cerium are extremely knowledgeable about these products,” Derringer said. “They know their stuff, which makes it really easy for us.”

“And they know we’re not experts but they don’t make you feel like an idiot for asking a question,” Ragan added.

our element is communication


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Effective communication is the essential element found in all successful business relationships. Employee productivity and customer satisfaction can rise and fall based on this key element. Cerium is in the business of taking basic business communication to new levels of collaboration with our industry-leading solutions designed to keep workers and customers engaged. So, we understand the importance of effective communication.

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