Working in the world of Apple and related technology, I have the opportunity to use the products of many companies, and to meet many of their representatives. From time to time, I have the privilege of reviewing and relying on the products of exceptional companies which have great value and tremendous environmental conscience.
Other World Computing (OWC) stands out as just such a company which I (and two techie friends) had the pleasure of visiting this past June. OWC has been providing quality hardware products and support to the computer industry since 1988. Its 37,000 square foot headquarters in Woodstock, IL, is a model of environmental sensitivity and self-sufficiency.
Electrical power for this facility (and adjacent structures) is more than entirely supplied by a wind turbine and roof-mounted solar panels. Frequent (of late) abundant rain water drains through a specially-designed rock/gravel/sand filtration parking lot so petroleum-polluted water is clean once it is returned to underground aquifers. Their lighting first uses abundant skylights for natural day illumination, supplemented by interior fluorescent systems which are gradually activated (tube-by-tube) by overhead light sensors. Compactors compress all paper, cardboard and plastic waste for recycling, and precious metals are reclaimed from retired circuit boards.
These are only a few examples of why OWC's corporate campus was designated as “Platinum” for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the Green Building Certification Institute. This is the highest award attainable, one of fewer than 300 LEED Platinum recipients from over 14,000 LEED projects worldwide since the program started in 1998. OWC has also been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others for their environmental operations.
It was amazing to see OWC in operation (7am to 11pm every day), with its sophisticated and responsive multi-bay call center, technical preparation areas for hardware configurations (they seem to have practically every Mac ever made), and reclamation areas for the refurbishing of legacy computers. OWC features one of the largest online catalogs of computer, iPod, iPhone, and iPad enhancement products through its e-commerce portal (www.macsales.com). The warehouse and shipping areas were a marvel of efficiency and productivity, with extensive automation and hi-tech applications.
macsales.com is OWC’s flagship Web site and one of the leading Macintosh e-tailers on the Web, featuring thousands of computer upgrade and expansion products for the Mac user. OWC also owns and operates MemoryHQ.com and FasterMacs.com, which are stores within macsales.com specializing in the sale of memory for all makes and models of computers, as well as acceleration products. macsales.com also features an online tech center, where users can find online documentation and support for a variety of Apple and OEM products.
As a member of the Apple Developer Program, OWC also provides extensive US-based technical support for Macintosh users around the world. It is no wonder that OWC holds an array of industry awards and recognition locally and nationwide, and is known worldwide for their great products and service.
When visiting area retail outlets, many people are probably already familiar with products that bear the familiar Newer Technology boomerang logo. This company produces a wide range of iPad, iPod, iMac and PC batteries, storage systems, batteries and accessories. This company is also a member of the OWC family which acquired the assets of NewerTech in order to manufacture a broad range of hardware solutions that are sold through macsales.com and retail outlets around the world. Many well-regarded products include the extremely-handy and useful wireless keypad, the highly-efficient Power2U AC and USB wall outlet, and a complete family of cables, plus award-winning portable and external storage solutions backed by OWC's quality guarantee and service team.
In addition to selling and supporting products from various hardware manufacturers, OWC manufactures and sells its own line of hardware products including external drives, Blu-ray/CD/DVD optical drives, memory, SSDs, Thunderbolt cable, Thunderbolt drives, Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Chassis, USB 3.0 + 2.0 drives and accessories, FireWire drives and accessories, storage device enclosures, and cables. During our visit, we had the opportunity to view a demonstration of many of these excellent products (reviews of many of these products are also available here for viewing).
Little known to many, OWC has offered premier Internet services since 1997. OWC.net, a division of OWC, offers a complete line of Internet services, including unlimited local v.92 dial-up Internet access, DSL services, Web site design and hosting, graphic design and e-commerce solutions.
All in all, OWC has proven to be an exemplary company with reliable, cost-effective products, assembled and shipped from an eco-friendly operation. It was a great pleasure to have our tour hosted by OWC veterans Jennifer Soule (President), (Eileen Millard, Product Promotion and Brand Evangelist), Alex Fayer (Team Leader and Performing Arts Professional), and others.
I was sorry we missed Larry O’Connor (OWC founder and owner), but he reminded me that OWC is a solid supporter of Apple user groups, and is available to make presentations at meetings, when possible. In fact, they were a generous sponsor of the MacStock Expo and Conference, which we also attended on June 20 (and plan to attend next year). The OWC Headquarters can be reached at Other World Computing, 8 Galaxy Way, Woodstock, IL 60098 (800-275-4576).