Customer Stories
CBARC at Oregon State University

CBARC at Oregon State University

Learn how Debbie at Oregon State University's CBARC improved communication and safety with MessageDesk, efficiently managing large groups and emergency alerts.

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Previous Provider:
Corvallis, Oregon
CBARC at Oregon State University


Debbie is the office manager at Columbia Basin Agriculture Research Center (CBARC), part of Oregon State University in Adams, Oregon. The CBARC team is 30-50 people big, and Debbie manages operational logistics for a team that rarely convenes in a traditional office environment. 

CBARC’s staff is frequently dispersed across various locations, such as vast wheat fields throughout rural Oregon, making consistent communication a significant challenge. This lead Debbie to rely on traditional SMS group chats to communicate with her team

Before integrating MessageDesk into their operations, Debbie spent way too much time tinkering with her SM group chats. This method proved inefficient and restrictive, as network limitations capped group sizes, complicating the process of reaching everyone when urgent updates were necessary, such as closures due to wildfires or adverse weather conditions.


CBARC's remote location and the nature of its work mean that staff are often in the field, making traditional communication methods like group SMS inefficient and limiting. The team's growing size exacerbated the issue, as cellular service providers restricted the number of contacts in group messages, hindering timely and effective communication.

  1. Oregon State provides app-based communication tools like Microsoft Teams and email, which could be more reliable for people operating in rural areas.
  2. Default SMS group chats limited Debbie to 20-person groups, making it difficult to update or change group membership as the team changed easily.
  3. Debbie constantly created new group chats whenever employees were hired or left the organization.

Solutions with MessageDesk:

MessageDesk provided a scalable solution to meet CBARC's unique communication needs. Its ability to manage large groups effortlessly allowed Debbie to send out important updates quickly, such as emergency closures due to wildfires or severe weather, without the hassle of traditional SMS limitations.

  1. Streamlined Group Communications: Debbie utilized MessageDesk to overcome cellular restrictions on group sizes, enabling her to send critical information simultaneously to an unlimited number of staff members, enhancing the center's ability to manage communications efficiently across dispersed locations.
  2. Rapid Emergency Notifications: With MessageDesk, Debbie was able to quickly disseminate urgent updates about closures due to environmental hazards like wildfires and severe weather conditions, ensuring all staff received timely alerts and maintained safety.
  3. Simplified Contact Management: The platform's user-friendly interface allowed Debbie to easily add or remove contacts from communication lists, facilitating seamless management of team changes and ensuring that all necessary personnel received pertinent updates without delay.


  • Efficient Communication: MessageDesk enabled Debbie to reach all staff members simultaneously, ensuring that critical information was communicated effectively to everyone, regardless of their location.
  • Ease of Management: Adding or removing contacts in MessageDesk is straightforward, allowing Debbie to manage communication lists easily as team changes occur.
  • Reliability in Urgent Situations: The platform proved indispensable for sending out emergency alerts, significantly reducing the need for multiple individual calls.


  • Debbie: "MessageDesk works great, I love it. We use it to notify people about closures due to bad roads or wildfires. MessageDesk saved me from many phone calls because now it's really easy to contact everybody."

With the adoption of MessageDesk, Debbie found an effective solution to streamline communications. The platform’s capability to manage large groups effortlessly allowed for immediate and reliable contact with the entire team, regardless of their location. This shift significantly reduced the need for multiple phone calls, saving time and enhancing the efficiency of operations at CBARC.

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