Today, he's the head of a nationally renowned engineering systems company with clients such as singer John Mellencamp, but back in the early 1970s, Dan Van Meter might have fixed your television.

Fixing consumers' TV sets part time is how Van Meter, 57, launched NOR-COM Inc., the Hebron, Ky., company that has furnished integrated systems — which run the gamut from audiovisuals to security — for such high-profile sites as the Newport Aquarium, the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Dollywood, Children's Hospital Medical Center, the Corbett Theater and even the Washington Monument.

The company also sells the latest technology to businesses for use in presentations, teleconferencing or security, to name a few needs. NOR-COM then trains the business clients on the use of its systems, explains Jim Huber, director of business development. Its corporate customers include Toyota and Fidelity.

All this is a far cry from the company's humble beginnings. Even its name change, from Northern Kentucky Communications to the less regional and more Silicon Valley-sounding NOR-COM, reflects its growth into a high-tech systems company. Still, Van Meter recalls the morning an ultimatum upgraded his business to a full-time venture.

"When I got out of the Air Force, I started this business part time and worked out of my home," Van Meter recalls. "We had people's TVs in our bedroom and in our garage, and my wife at the time said, 'It's either me or the TVs.' "

"I made a compromise" and gave the TVs a full-time business commitment, he says. While repairing television sets, he ran across a couple of principals from the Kenton County school board. They asked him to do some electronics work there, and afterward the scope of the company began to expand to include service at educational, entertainment, retail and health care sites.

Word of mouth translated to more work, eventually leading the company to be employed by singer John Mellencamp (for a string of theaters he owns) and by President Reagan, for whom the company installed home security at his California ranch.

The company's growth in scope "is a product of Dan's knowledge base," Huber observes. "He's grown as the industry's grown."

Van Meter is one of less than 100 professionals worldwide who've earned the distinction of becoming a CTS-D, a certified technology specialist-designer. The designation is awarded by the industry's trade organization, the International Communications Industries Association. The ICIA also named NOR-COM a certified AVolu-tion member company, meaning a significant number of its sales and technical employees are CTS accredited.

But Van Meter insists NOR-COM's success is not his alone.

"My success is really not my success," Van Meter says. "I have been very, very blessed with very strong, very talented people."