Sealevel: Proudly Celebrating 30 Years in Pickens County

June 17, 2016

Technology has changed a lot in 30 years.

If you were a kid back in 1986, you might have found yourself writing to Santa Claus for the hottest new console, the Sega Master System. Those who were a little older back then might have been asking Santa for one of the brand new Compaq 386s, powerful enough to run Windows 1.0, while praying that you didn’t catch the first-ever DOS virus, Brain.

If you were in the IT industry back then, you might have heard of Tom O’Hanlan. You certainly would have been familiar with the RS-422/485 communication adapter he developed for the IBM PC, which allowed for the creation of better, faster, and more stable local networks.

Tom and his wife founded Sealevel Systems, Inc. in 1986, just as the IT world was about to enter an unprecedented era of innovation and development. Thirty years later, Sealevel is still at the crest of that wave of innovation, stronger than ever and offering a catalog of over 300 products. We’ve developed human-machine interfaces, industrial computers, serial interfaces, I/O solutions, and a range of cutting-edge solutions to help our customers and partners stay at the cutting edge of their industry.

We’re proud of what we’ve done, and we’re proud of how we’ve done it. Our clients are international, but our business is very much local, and Sealevel has always tried to be a company that contributes to our community, right here in beautiful Pickens County.

Tom himself hails from Virginia but moved to South Carolina when he was relocated by his then employers. That job ended, but he loved the area enough to stick around, working as a contractor until he put together the capital to launch his own company.

That company was Sealevel, and we began life in a small basement under a computer store near US Highway 123. A booming business meant that we soon outgrew that office, but we were determined to remain a part of the Pickens County community, so we moved into an old drug store in downtown Liberty, and then moved again to a building we constructed near the airport. All our former premises are now homes to other local business, while our current HQ is a state-of-the-art, 45,000-square-foot facility between Liberty and Easley.

All that time, Pickens County has been wonderfully welcoming to us, and we’ve given back in return. As well as employing around 50 people, we’ve got an award-winning philanthropic program that has provided vital assistance to vulnerable children and families in our area.

We are also closely involved in the great work being done by Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County. Founded by Tom, MCPC works with local schools to provide the hands-on, practical STEM education that students will need to compete in tomorrow’s employment environment. The focus is on empowering these students to take control of their own destinies by working hard and dreaming big. With the right support, they may go on to follow in Tom’s footsteps, driving the next 30 years of technological innovation.

Whatever the world looks like in 2046 — 30 years from now — we intend to be here, both as a leading player in the tech industry and as proud residents of Pickens County. Here’s to the future!