Chester Inc.’s IT Division Celebrates 40 Years of Growth and Success

This year, Chester, Inc. Information Technologies {Chester IT} is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Chester IT is an essential branch of Chester Inc., headquartered in Valparaiso, that keeps modern businesses all across Northern Indiana and south Chicagoland running securely and efficiently. The rise of broadband internet and a globally networked business community has made computers and other information technology foundational pieces to any business. Four decades ago, Chester Inc. founders Orville Redenbacher and Charles Bowman saw just how important the industry would become and built the Chester Computer Center – even when computers were little more than a keyboard and command line.

“The computer center was rooted in agriculture,” said Chris Kotul, IT Division Manager for Chester Inc. “Orville and Charlie identified a need for computers in the agricultural industry and adapted our business to meet that need. That spirit of innovation is one of the cornerstones of our success, and something that every member of our team exemplifies.”

Technology advances and evolves on a daily basis – and Chester Inc.’s IT Division has stayed on top of the trends since they came together decades ago.

“Our team is constantly evaluating new technologies and evolving our skills and services to meet the needs of our clients,” Kotul said. “40 years ago, we were selling IBM computers to farmers. 20 years ago, a lot of our effort was focused on printers. 10 years ago, we were providing break-fix or reactionary support. 5 years ago, installing and configuring servers was a large part of our business. We still do all those things, but now our focus is shifting to things like cyber- security, cloud services, and managed IT services that prevent problems before they happen.”

In many ways, the evolution is cyclical. Back in 1980, local tech centers hosted the mainframes that kept businesses connected. Then, things started to shift away from the mainframe model as tech became more widely distributed. Now, mainframes are once again at the core of IT.

“It’s kind of gone full circle, but the mainframes don’t belong to us anymore – they belong to Microsoft and Google,” Kotul said. “They’re cheaper, faster, more reliable, and distributed. Our team helps clients ensure their connection to those services are secured and reliable, the data they house in cloud frameworks is protected, and their users are trained in how to access that data safely. The more data you have and the more access you have to it, the more it needs to be protected. No matter where it is.”

Completing all of those tasks and staying on top of the latest trends requires a team with both talent and vision – something Kotul believes they have in spades.

“The whole Chester IT team is the continuing factor to our success,” he said. “Everyone, from systems engineers to billing clerks are vital to what we do. Their passion for their work and dedication to our client’s success helps ensure our own.”

Those are traits apply to more than just the current team – they have been constant since Redenbacher and Bowman created the division.

“The Chester IT teams, have been building resilient and adaptable IT foundations for our clients for 40 years,” Kotul said. “Those foundations have helped our clients, existing and new, survive and thrive during the pandemic. I’m proud of where we’ve been, feel great about where we’re at, and I’m thrilled about where we’re headed.”

Chester, Inc will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary next year in 2022.

To learn more about Chester Inc., visit

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