20 Year Anniversary: Q&A w/ Brandon Sauls

May 2019 marks InterCoastal Net Designs’ 20th year in business and much of our success can be attributed to our humble beginnings with Brandon Sauls at the helm. We recently sat down with Brandon to discuss where ICND is today, where we plan to go and how it all began with a fishing charter website. We live & breathe the tourism industry with our headquarters in the small beach community of Ocean Isle Beach, NC – making us well suited to understand our client’s business model and helping them see success in the vacation rental and tourism industries.

Follow Our Journey:

Q: Tell us about ICND’s beginnings 20 years ago.

Brandon: I was in college at the University of South Carolina, spending my summers working as a Captain in Ocean Isle. Two unique opportunities popped up back in 1996: 1) We needed to generate more business for the charter boat operation so we built a website and optimized it for HotBot, Lycos, Yahoo and AltaVista, there was no Google back then. Clients found us and we ran a successful charter boat operation for years while in college. 2) When I returned to USC, I posted on a campus billboard that I did website development. I landed an account and began optimizing a website for online golf club sales.  From there, I had a full-time summer job with the charter boat operations and was working full-time during the school year marketing the golf club sales site. Graduating in 1999, I began working on the H.L Hunley website, which quickly generated revenue and gave me the confidence to dive into the website design and marketing realm. ICND was fully born and incorporated in 1999 and it was off to the races from there.  I hired my first employee in 2000, second employee in 2001 and by 2005 had ten employees.  By this time we were building full scale eCommerce systems and one of the first companies in the area interfaced with the real estate MLS / IDX data feeds. We were delivering fully integrated websites to the local area long before anyone else. Fast forward to 2010, ICND joined the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association.  My wife, 3rd generation vacation rental manager at Sloane Vacations, showed me the way into this space.  At first ICND had an equal product to the competitors but I quickly realized we needed to make a move. In 2014 ICND spent 8 months on R & D,  rolling out www.AcmeHouse.com on our first version of our booking engine which made waves in the VRMA Community and catapulted ICND to the top of the competition.  From there ICND has moved 90% of our focus on the Vacation Rental and Real Estate space.

Q: Thinking about where ICND is today versus 20 years ago, what are the largest changes that have fueled our growth?

Brandon: Prior to 2010, ICND was successful but we hadn’t honed in on our niche. We built sites for charter boat companies, lawyers and doctors. Joining VRMA and focusing our efforts on one main product allowed us to develop a strong code base that we could quickly deploy, support and maintain. Since HomeAway.com, VRBO, and AIRbnb have showed up in this space – it has really accelerated the growth of the industry we serve.

Q: What sets ICND apart from other website design & marketing firms?

Brandon: Our team is key here at ICND, but here are a few things I think set us apart from the rest:

  • Direct Bookings: We maintain a strong focus on generating bookings through YOUR website. With a customized marketing plan, we focus on generating more revenue directly from your website.
  • Speaking of customized, our custom websites are award winning. VRM Intel voted us the best website in 2016 with Topsail Realty.
  • Customer Service: Our team is positioned to provide you with a hands on customer service approach. The customer is the focus here at ICND, and we pride ourselves on quick response time and customized solutions.
  • ICND is independently owned & operated, however, we have formed strong industry-wide partnerships allowing us to provide the best product to our customers.

Q: We know ICND keeps you busy, but tell us about your hobbies!

Brandon: You don’t have to look far across the internet and social media outlets to know that I’m an avid fishermen.  If I’m not working or chasing behind my twin twelve year-old girls, you’ll find me on the boat in the nearest body of water!  I enjoy traveling to the southern latitudes and always seeking some outdoor adventure!

Q: Where do you see ICND going in the next 20 years?

Brandon: That is a big question – as fast as the industry is growing right now the sky is the limit.  We have a strong product offering and we will continue to improve, expand and grow our core products. We have plenty of room here to grow within the US, and we’re also looking at new horizons in Europe and Australia. The same product that works in the US, will work anywhere in the world. Why limit yourself to just the US market?

Q: Tell us a little bit about Team ICND!

Brandon: Team ICND consists of forty of the finest developers, co-workers and friends that you can find. Check out our Team Page to learn a little more about each employee. Each person is very talented and bring their own unique playbook to the table that is in sync with our master plan… to make ICND the very best it can be.  Everyone gets along really well and works toward a common goal! The team we have in place now is most likely the most talented team ICND has ever had.


Caitlin Wins SC State Tennis Championship 2nd Year in a Row!

We love to feature our employees as they achieve some major accomplishments. You may recall us blogging back in June about Caitlin winning the State Championship Tennis match and going on to Regionals. Well, this past weekend, our very own Caitlin Negethon competed in the South Carolina Singles State Tennis Championships and for the second year in a row, she took home first place with her team in the 4.0 18+ division!

More than 300 players participated in the championships this year. Divisions are grouped by age and competition level. Caitlin captained both years for the team as they went on to win the State Championship. Pictured below are (from left to right) Lindsay Wallace, Kristin O’Neil, Capt. Caitlin Negethon, and Co. Capt. Amanda Gallup.

caitlin sc state tennis championship

Continue reading “Caitlin Wins SC State Tennis Championship 2nd Year in a Row!”

VRMA 2014 Recap Blog

VRMA Annual was held in San Diego this year from October 26th-29th. The ICND team was there in full force, with SEO Director Conrad O’Connell, Social Media Director David Hutnik and ICND President Brandon Sauls taking the 6,000 plus mile round trip journey to VRMA.

During the conference, we were demoing our newest, latest greatest booking engine integration featured in our most recent vacation rental website launch. We heard from tons of attendees that the features built into were “downright amazing”, “truly innovative”, and even “F*!^ing AWESOME!”.  More brainstorming sessions and early morning programming went on to continue developing this so if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, let us know and we’d be glad to show you.

Continue reading “VRMA 2014 Recap Blog”

Welcome April Burns to the ICND Crew

It’s my great pleasure to welcome a new team member and account executive to the ICND Crew and her name is April Burns. April came to ICND with over 20 years of experience in the tourism/hospitality industry as the Vice President of Operations at the American Hospitality Academy. She worked with hotels and resorts across the nation.

april-1

Continue reading “Welcome April Burns to the ICND Crew”

June 2014 Employee of the Month: Caitlin Negethon

The ICND team casts a blind vote each month for who we think deserves title of “Employee of the Month”.  The winner gets the coveted front parking spot and the honor knowing that their coworkers voted for them 🙂  This month, the smiling face you’ll always see when you come into the ICND office, Caitlin Negethon, wins the employee of the month award for June 2014.  Let’s take a minute to learn a little more about Caitlin.

Caitlin-Negethon

Favorite Movie?

Sweet Home Alabama, maybe not the most highly acclaimed movies of all time, but hey I like it

 

Favorite Candy Bar?

Anything with Dark Chocolate, what girl doesn’t love chocolate

 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Anywhere warm and tropical where I can have an umbrella in my drink and toes in the sand!

 

Any pets?

I adopted a Rhodesian Ridgeback that I named Jameson, yes I do come from an Irish family. Although, my parents currently stole him because he’s so awesome.

 

Favorite beach activities?

I have severe Beach ADD so anything from Bocci to Volleyball

 

What kind of car do you drive?

Just got my Nissan Altima

 

Where are you from?

South Shore of Boston, Ma – “because I love that dirty water”

 

Favorite Quote?

“Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress” – Coco Chanel

 

One thing none of us know about you?

I am addicted to playing and coaching tennis. I was also one very lucky girl at 5 months old to be adopted by my parents J

 

Favorite TV Show?

Nashville

Caitlin Wins SC State Tennis Title

The InterCoastal Net Designs is lucky to have such talented team members, but the talents you don’t know about are some of the most interesting.  Did you know we have a resident Tennis Superstar?

caitlin-tennis-blog(Caitlin is in all black)

Help us in giving Caitlin Negethon a HUGE congratulations! If you’ve called up to ICND with any questions or support issues in the last 9 months, there’s a really good chance that you had a friendly voice on the other end and her name is Caitlin. Well, in her spare time, she is a ferocious tennis player and very well known in the tennis community. In fact, this past weekend, Caitlin traveled to Greenville, SC to compete in the 2014 South Carolina State Tennis tournament. In the adult 18 & over 3.5 Ladies division, guess what place she took?

FIRST PLACE!!

Thats right, next time you call up to ICND and you hear that nice voice on the other side be sure to give Caitlin a big congratulations. We’re incredibly proud of her!

Next up for Caitlin is Regionals held in Lexington, NC on July 25th. She’ll be competing with the rest of her team against teams across the entire Southeast US.

Experienced VP of Operations Joins Staff at ICND

Brad Faircloth, of Myrtle Beach, brings 18 years of internet executive experience to local web company.

Ocean Isle Beach, NC. — InterCoastal Net Designs (ICND), a website design and online marketing agency specializing in customized solutions and superior results, has recently grown its expansive team with the addition of Brad Faircloth. Faircloth will serve ICND as the vice president of operations. Faircloth has over 18 years of experience in managing mid to large size organizations within the web development and digital marketing industry.

brad3

Prior to joining InterCoastal Net Designs, Faircloth was the director of e-business for Burroughs & Chapin, a land development company in Myrtle Beach, SC. Previous roles include DuPont and Cancer Program Professional Services. Involvements outside of work include serving on the Board of Directors for Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success, as well as chair of technology and PR committees for the school.

President, Brandon Sauls said, “I’m very happy to welcome Brad Faircloth, our new VP of Operations. Brad brings years of real world / web development management experience to the table. With his wide set of skills, he is helping us improve our project processes and assist in development of new and improved products.”

InterCoastal Net Designs, started in 1999 by Sauls, has since seen fast-paced growth in clientele and employees. Over the past five years, Sauls has focused on the vacation rental and real estate world, developing customized websites and tailored products for both industries.

Faircloth has joined ICND at an imperative time in the company’s growth as a whole. Faircloth commented, “I am excited to be joining ICND as a part of this extraordinary team. I look forward to helping accelerate their already impressive growth, and leading the incessant drive to become even more efficient and customer focused. This is a rare opportunity to be a part of a company that has such amazing talent, giving ICND virtually unlimited potential to improve and grow.”

InterCoastal Net Designs offers a wide array of website services, including web design, web hosting, search engine optimization, social media marketing and targeted email marketing. At ICND we specialize in customized solutions, superior results.

Brunswick County Employee of the Year – Our Very Own David Hutnik!

David Hutnik, Social Media Director and beloved team member of InterCoastal Net Designs was just named the Employee of the Year for Brunswick County. Since moving to Brunswick County exactly two years ago this spring, David has become a valuable player for both ICND and Brunswick County alike. We couldn't be more proud of his recognition as employee of the year being that it is well deserved for David!

Not only does he stay on top of all the up and coming social media trends, but he also represents our company and in return Brunswick County by speaking at multiple conferences and businesses throughout the US, educating them on Social Media and how it can help improve their business. David carries our company motto of superior service with him everywhere as he does this.

Hutnik is the chair of the Oyster Festival road race, new mud run in Brunswick County as well as a member of the Leadership Brunswick County organization. David leads a service project team that has created a website HelpBrunswick.com where the mission is to promote volunteerism in our county. This website is completely designed, built and hosted by ICND volunteers. He is also putting on a new running event in Sunset Beach to benefit the Sunset Beach Seaturtle Watch Patrol

David has proven to show a real passion for both his career and community, thus making him the best fit for this award. We consider him the morale booster here at ICND and are happy to see him sharing that positive attitude and work ethic with Brunswick County too. 

ICND reachs nationwide with our client base, but David's volunteerism in our local county shows attention to detail when it comes to our local roots as well. Way to go David!!

David Hutnik

 

Throwback Thursday: More Than Just an Invoice

It was the summer of 1999 and the one man operation that is Brandon Sauls, was just getting his feet wet. While running a charter boat service, Brandon became acquainted with some folks over at Century Contractors based out of Matthew, NC. Already well versed in web development, Mr. Sauls was offered a chance to manage Century Contractors site. Arrangements were made, business was finalized and the birth of ICND was about to take shape.

Flash forward 15 years and InterCoastal Net Designs has now become one of the premier web design, development and Internet marketing firms along the Carolina coast. From the one man operation who chartered fishing boats to a 28 person full service firm, those days of catching sun and chatting about web sites seem like yesterday.

InterCoastal Net Designs invoice

Which brings us to this photo. While recently sifting through a file cabinet, Mr. Sauls found his very first invoice from Century Contractors. Nostalgia and the realization of not only owning his own business but maturing this idea into a thriving, successful firm quickly set in.

We here at ICND are all proud of the dedication Brandon exudes, and want to honor this Throwback Thursday with a well-deserved thank you! Here's to the first 15 and to many more ahead of us!

InterCoastal Net Designs group shot