Stratosphere and AVANT Rally Chicago’s IT Community for McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility

Stratosphere Networks and AVANT Communications Rally Chicago’s IT Community to Build McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility’s IT & Telecom Network in Two Weeks 

Largest Convention Center in North America Transformed into COVID-19 ACF

CHICAGOApril 29, 2020Stratosphere Networks, a trusted advisor for technology services, and AVANT Communications (“AVANT”), a platform for IT decision-making for next generation technologies, today announced the two companies, along with their IT partners Evolve IP, Ignyte, RapidScale, Spectrotel, Synoptek, and Trustwave, led the rapid transformation of the McCormick Place Convention Center into the McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility (ACF); a dedicated COVID-19 facility to act as a relief valve on the local hospital system.

“The City of Chicago is home to some of the best hospitals in the country that deliver world-class care and services to all members of the community,” said Dr. Nick Turkal, Executive Director of the McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility. “However, even the best hospitals in the country aren’t able to anticipate the exact needs of a pandemic like COVID-19. Our responsibility to both residents and healthcare workers is to prevent and alleviate the stress of COVID-19 on our healthcare system, and converting the largest convention center in the country into a designated COVID-19 relief center is helping us ensure we are not just meeting, but exceeding expectations.”

As COVID-19 spread across the U.S., the State of Illinois and City of Chicago were forced to rapidly develop a strategic solution to an unprecedented problem. After receiving the first call about the project on a Sunday, within just a few days, the Stratosphere team designed the architecture of the entire IT and telecom network for the hospital, in addition to confirming equipment availability.

Serving as trusted advisors, Stratosphere Networks and its IT partners then worked tirelessly to staff around-the-clock IT engineers on-site, who collaborated with remote engineers and project managers, to ensure the McCormick Place ACF was fully operational in just 14 days.

“The magnitude, complexity and urgency of this project created a high-pressure situation, and we knew immediately when we took this on that we couldn’t do it alone. In addition to utilizing our team of engineers, we leveraged the relationships we have with AVANT and our other partners to get the job done,” said Steve Melchiorre, CEO of Stratosphere Networks. “I’m so proud of our team and partners for being able to design and implement a solution that would normally take 12 to 24 months in just two weeks.”

“It’s an incredible feeling reviewing what our teams have accomplished so far with the McCormick Place ACF. None of this would have been possible without the Chicago IT community and partners across the U.S. stepping up to provide IT resources during this unprecedented time,” said Drew Lydecker, President of AVANT. “At AVANT, we help our Trusted Advisors navigate the relentless pace of IT change; a value we’ve lived through and through to ensure the Chicago we all know and love is ready for any challenge ahead.”


Additional IT partners involved in the McCormick Alternate Care Facility include:

  • Evolve IP, a provider of collaboration, workspaces and contact centers for healthcare organizations of all sizes, delivered and configured a HIPAA-compliant collaboration system with critical communications capabilities for all healthcare workers while training these workers on a variety of devices including iPhones and iPads. Nurses and doctors immediately began using the solution for one-on-one and group chats, expedited calls to command centers as well as emergency station hunt groups to improve outcomes and speed patient treatments.
  • Ignyte, is a vendor-agnostic provider of managed SD-WAN and connectivity services that helps resellers and channel agents augment service revenue and drive digital transformation for their end customers. Through its Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) status, the company bundles circuit aggregation with SD-WAN services to right-size a customer’s existing bandwidth services on a single consolidated bill and provide one-stop monitoring, configuration management and break-fix services across the entire connectivity ecosystem. Ignyte supplied the PC’s, monitors, printers, a network switch and iPads to get the McCormick ACF network up and running as quickly as possible.
  • RapidScale, a Cox Business company, is a global managed cloud services provider helping organizations increase IT productivity, improve security, and empower remote workforces. RapidScale’s DaaS environment was leveraged to extend critical software for patient care so that temporary healthcare workers could work remotely and securely, while accessing their applications from anywhere on any device.
  • Spectrotel, a leading national next-generation aggregator specializing in crafting integrated solutions for multi-location and enterprise customers, sourced, delivered and activated 1,000 SIM cards to be utilized to access critical applications in a Wi-Fi failover scenario.
  • Synoptek, a leading provider of HIPAA-compliant healthcare information technology solutions, Synoptek offers on-site staff augmentation, trouble ticket processing, 24×7 help desk, server and application support, professional services, hosted communication services, remote and collocated infrastructure, and disaster recovery platforms. Specific to McCormick ACF, Synoptek is providing complete end-user support both on-site and through a 24×7 Tier 1.5 help desk. This allows the ACF to focus on patient care while Synoptek manages the IT healthcare environment.
  • Trustwave, a leading cybersecurity and managed security services provider that helps businesses fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce security risk, enabled the McCormick ACF to go from no cybersecurity architecture or design to full implementation and continuous support in less than a week. Trustwave layered powerful managed threat detection and response services on top of newly implemented firewalls to monitor, detect and eradicate bad actors and malicious activities to help protect the triage and its connection to patient records housed at Rush Memorial Hospital.

Together, Stratosphere Networks, AVANT, and the IT partners listed above have developed a replicable plan of action to rapidly convert and build out spaces into temporary healthcare facilities. To learn more, visit: https://www.stratospherenetworks.com/.



About Stratosphere Networks

Stratosphere Networks provides comprehensive managed services – including managed cybersecurity, managed IT and co-managed IT services – and trusted advisor services to businesses across all industries. Our team of IT experts strives to empower clients with exceptional service from our state-of-the-art Network Operations Center and Security Operations Center. The company is HIPAA compliant and has earned recognition as a leader in the realm of IT managed services, receiving accolades such as the Channel Partners 360° Business Value award, the MSPmentor 501, Crain’s Best Places to Work in Chicago and more. Visit www.stratospherenetworks.com for more information.

About AVANT Communications

AVANT Communications is a platform for IT decision-making and the nation’s premier distributor for next-generation technologies. AVANT provides unique value to its extensive network of Trusted Advisors with original research, channel sales assistance, training, and tools to guide decision-making around IT services that promote business growth. From complex cloud designs to global wide-area network deployments to the latest in security services, AVANT sets the industry standard in enabling its partners and clients to make intelligent, data-driven decisions about services, technology and cost-effective communications. For more information, visit www.goavant.net, or connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Brian Jaeger
[email protected]
(352) 682-7636