Melissa Hannebrink has always been fascinated by computers, and more specifically by all they are capable of. She knew in her early teens that her future would lie in the advancement of this profound (and necessary) technology.
Her company Quietech Associates, Inc. has been met with astounding success. It has won The Union’s “Best Of Nevada County” title six years in a row, with readers of the publication expressing their appreciation for a locally run business dedicated to customer service.
“I was heavy into PC gaming as a teen, but once I realized I could learn a programming language to create websites, I was hooked,” said Hannebrink. “I chose ‘Starting a Website Design Company’ as my senior project, and launched from there.”
The penchant for all things technology comes to Hannebrink naturally; her father started Quietech in 1983 and after his retirement in 2013 she took over and has helmed the proverbial ship ever since, opening its first storefront in 2014.
“At our current location, we grew a service to fit a glaring need in our county: one-on-one tech training that we call ‘Tech Bar,’” she said. “We have a community of so many individuals who want to learn and understand their technology products. I love to see people of all ages eager to understand how to operate their computer or their phone.”
Having established Quietech as a popular and reputable service business in the area, big changes are on the horizon: they will soon be moving to a new location on Sutton Way in Grass Valley and will continue on its path of educating and sharing knowledge with the community.
“It’s very bittersweet when we are complimented for not making our clients ‘feel stupid.’ I am thrilled that Quietech can provide a safe space for people to ask questions and learn to truly understand the confusing tech in front of them, but I am also sorry that some of these people have had bad experiences that made them feel ‘less than’ for not knowing something.
“It feels good to know that my business is regarded as an educational safe-space for people in our community, and I am so proud to employ six fantastic staff people who truly care about our clientele and want them to feel empowered when they walk out our door.”
Throughout her time of operating Quietech Hannebrink has witnessed all sorts of behavior around the care and maintenance of devices. Ransomware—malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom—has challenged many tech users, she said.
“A few years back, one of our clients had their server infected with ransomware. This means all of their files—which there happened to be over a million of—were being held hostage by a hacker, who wanted ransom sent his way and then he would release their files. It felt so good to have all those million plus files safely backed up and ready to put right back in place without paying a dime to the scammer.”
Hannebrink’s best advice for businesses and individuals alike is to make sure one’s harddrive is backed up, install proper anti-malware software, and be aware of some of the psychological tactics scammers have taken to using for their own personal benefit.
“Quietech loves working with our customers to create backup and protection solutions to keep them safe.,” she explained. “We also love to educate people on staying safe in the minefield that is modern technology. Pop-ups, phishing emails, scam calls… it’s a scary place out there, but I love to help keep people safe through the use of great technology and education.”
In the years that she has been operating her business, Hannebrink said that the landscape of technological use in Nevada County has changed drastically.
“It’s been really fun to watch technology take off in our community. People have really embraced computers, smart phones, tablets; even the cloud,” she said. “Another memorable shift happened in 2020, when people suddenly had to adapt and learn how to use Zoom.
“Necessity replaced fear, and people learned a new skill, which I think was a pretty great outcome from a tough situation.”
Check out their new location and expanded Tech Bar at 541 Sutton Way in Grass Valley starting Tuesday March 1st! More info on their website at Quietech Associates, Inc.
Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer based in her hometown of Nevada City. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.