Rick Boucher, co-owner of Orcas Online, launched Northbeach Computers in 1992, specializing in computer repair with a strong interest in the internet as it began to roll out in the United States. Rick helped facilitate the arrival of dial-up in San Juan County through a Bellingham-based technology company called Pacific Rim. He was also delving into HTML and website development at the time. In 1996 Rick and his business partner Gerry Baker founded San Juan Web, and its first projects were undertaken on behalf of the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce.
Rick and Gerry began designing websites at the same time and were forerunners in the industry for local innkeepers, businesses, and entrepreneurs whose advertising strategies were about to move from newspaper and other print media to full online promotion. San Juan Web also developed their own sites, improving their skills and creating the original suite of sites now anchored by OrcasIsland.org.
As work in website development continued to grow, operations at San Juan Web were stunted by the very low upload speeds of local internet and Rick began to pursue higher speeds via T-1 lines, a very expensive proposition at the time. In 2000, Rick and Gerry started Orcas Online, Inc. to increase their bandwidth at the office, offsetting the high-cost T-1 lines by offering dial-up service to the local community. Soon afterward Orcas Online added DSL service to its portfolio. Stu Baker came on board, marking the beginning of our successful foray into the delivery of wireless internet. Nathan began working for Orcas Online as a teenager, Mindy Nunez became part of the effort in 2012, and Keith Light joined our team in 2016.
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