By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
A woman’s miniature horse is about to give birth. To be safe, the woman checks the expectant mare regularly during the night. But this doesn’t require the woman to bundle up and walk to the barn in the dark, because she’s using a video monitoring system designed and built by a security and telecommunications integrator from rural Kansas.
Chad Carter is owner-operator of Car-Tel Enterprises, a security telecommunications company based in rural Kansas. Chad is an Oklahoma native. He and his family came to Kansas so his father could manage the Anchor D Ranch near Olsburg. After school, Chad joined the military and became an Army Ranger. After the service, he went to K-State and then worked for a cable television company in Manhattan. Eventually he became a telecommunications contractor and worked for a telephone and cable company in Glen Elder before going out on his own.
While in the military, Chad had been trained as a communications expert. His specialty was long-range surveillance. In the process, he learned what modern technology can do. When he returned, he became frustrated with the type of security and telecommunications services available in Kansas.
“Time and time again, big name companies install low grade products at high prices, with no thought to the feelings of the customer,” Chad said. “I started Car-Tel Enterprises because all customers should get the best quality job for their money.”
Chad’s business specializes in security systems, video monitoring systems, burglar alarms and telecommunications. He partners with a Kansas City monitoring company for the burglar alarms. Now there is demand for those video security systems in rural Kansas.
Even farmers benefit from remote video cameras. Some farmers use them for security on remote machine sheds, for example, and others use them for monitoring irrigation systems. The key is that these systems can be operated and monitored remotely – there is no need for a giant cable running all the way out to the field. Wireless communications and the Internet have made this possible.
For example, Chad demonstrated a wireless camera system at the Kansas State Fair with a sign that said, “Look Mom, no cables!” Power is provided by solar panels and the video signal is transmitted wirelessly through antennae to monitors at the home location where operators can view them.
How far can those wireless signals reach? Chad figures on three to five miles, although he had one signal go 29 miles in a case where there was a perfect, unobstructed line of sight from the transmitter to the receiver.
Co-ops, farm implement and fertilizer dealers use these security systems to protect their equipment. In many communities, tanks of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer have been moved out of town for safety, but as a result the tanks are isolated. Video security systems can protect those tanks and facilities from bad guys who want to steal copper or supplies to make meth.
Chad is finding demand for his products from other, unexpected places as well. Schools, businesses, individuals, and even small towns are using his products. One miniature horse owner used his system to monitor her pregnant mare. Chad’s customers also include local sheriffs, a high-end hunting lodge, and an oil drilling company.
“Some small towns may not be able to afford to pay a cop, but these systems are an affordable way of providing security,” Chad said. Of course, the eye of the camera is on duty 24-7 – and it doesn’t require donuts.
Perhaps it is a reflection on society that during 2011, Chad’s business doubled as more and more people sought video security systems. Now he is installing systems all across Kansas and from Nebraska to Oklahoma. He remains based in his wife Pam’s hometown, the rural community of Cawker City, population 510 people. Now, that’s rural.
The moment has come. The miniature horse gives birth to a healthy foal, while the owner captures the moment on film and monitors the birth from the comfort of her home. We commend Chad and Pam Carter and Car-Tel Enterprises for making a difference by utilizing such technology. For benefitting rural Kansas, it sends a strong signal.
The mission of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. The Kansas Profile radio series and columns are produced with assistance from the K-State Research and Extension Department of Communications News Unit. A photo of Ron Wilson is available. Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are also available. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development.