Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: July 27, 2020

Siemon family protects legacy of century-old IT infrastructure manufacturer

Photo | Contributed Siemon family (L-R): John, CTO and board chair; Henry, incoming CEO; Mary Ruth; Carl, CEO; Cynthia Siemon Wyatt, board member; CK, president of GPS Division.


Category | 200-plus Full-Time Employees — Watertown-based The Siemon Company

As president of a family business with more than a century of history behind it, Carl N. Siemon sees himself as more than just the top executive at Siemon Co. He’s a protector of its legacy.

It’s not a responsibility he or his brothers, John and C.K., who run the company with him, take lightly.

“We really view our roles as stewards,” said the fourth-generation leader, who will hand over the reins to his nephew, Henry, at the end of this year. “Our job is to turn the company over to the next generation in better shape than we found it.”

Siemon’s great-grandfather and namesake, Carl F. Siemon, a chemist and plastics industry pioneer, launched the Siemon Hard Rubber Company in Bridgeport in 1903. Its first product was an imitation stag-horn knife handle made from a durable plastic.

Three years later the company broke into the brand-new telecommunications market, manufacturing a three-pole connecting block that became a staple for Western Electric, the predecessor to AT&T, which remains a present-day customer.

Siemon moved its headquarters in 1954 from Bridgeport to Watertown, where a museum displays a collection of the company’s earliest products, from ear and mouth pieces for the first telephones, to rifle butts, lamp switches and poker chips.

Today the company remains true to its telecom roots, specializing in the design and manufacturing of high-performance IT infrastructure.

With some 400 patents and more than 20 locations around the world, the maker of copper and optical fiber cabling systems, cabinets, racks and more, boasts customers in more than 100 countries. High-profile clients include MGM Grand resorts and Dodger Stadium.

Siemon, president since 1982, credits the values instilled by his predecessors as a key to the company’s longevity. They include teamwork, service, sustainability, family, quality and innovation — and were on full display during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Not only did Siemon meet an unprecedented demand for enhanced IT infrastructure as the world went virtual, but it answered the call for personal protective equipment (PPE) by donating its supply of N95 masks to local hospitals and 3D-printed plastic face shields for first-line health responders.

When Yale New Haven Hospital called with an urgent need to expand its network during the pandemic, the company came through with 20,000 feet of cable and the accompanying accessories within two hours of getting the order.

“Our standard lead time is very short, five days typically, but two hours is pretty exceptional,” said Siemon.

Innovation is another Siemon hallmark. He said Siemon does for IT infrastructure what Apple does for smartphones: deliver intuitive, easy-to-use and reliable products to customers.

“We have some fiber and copper connectors invented right in Connecticut that will enable a technician to prepare and install cables in half the time of other brands,” he said.

And while competitors moved their assembly operations to low-cost locations abroad in the 1990s, Siemon remained in the state and invested in custom automation equipment, he said.

“If you come through our facility you’ll see one-of-a-kind machines that are automatically assembling our products,” said Siemon. “We’ve been able to maintain a presence in Connecticut because of that automation capability.”

Return to HBJ's 2020 Family Business Awards landing page

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF