Most businesses are lucky to make it to their fourth anniversary let alone their 40th. 

But Optical Storage Solutions Inc. (OSS) has been a business staple in Lebanon County for over four decades.

Founded by Donald Auker as A/K Computers in 1981, the business initially sold computers to the general public and worked with commercial clients, according to Judi Lentz, who handles marketing and software support for OSS. 

Today, the company has five full-time employees and is still based where it was founded in the 700 block of Cumberland Street, Lebanon.

“A/K sold computers and before a lot of companies had network administrators, they went into businesses, law firms, schools and was, basically, the IT department for those businesses before IT departments became super popular,” said Lentz. “We also ran cable. We set up the networks, we ran the cable through the ceiling, through the walls, so that computers could be networked together.”

One secret to business success is to remain ahead of your competitors, which Lentz said is a long-standing tradition at the former A/K, which formally became OSS in 1993.

‘Don was always trying to stay on the cutting edge and find the latest thing, and optical disks started to become the way to store images and data,” said Lentz. “So that’s where the name kind of came from, vs. hard drives, which weren’t able to store massive data at that time like they do now.”

The company began to shift its focus as part of its mission to be an industry leader when Auker responded to a Request for Proposal for a software project in Luzerne County in September 1993.

“Luzerne County was trying to come up with what we do now – come up with a computer system to store their images,” said Lentz. “There was a housing boom and all of the paper deeds, mortgages, everything that they filed, all that paper had to be stored and the bookshelves were really getting full. They were afraid the shelves would start to fall on people.”

Although their software and program development had started well before the RFP was submitted, that filing prompted Auker to complete what would become LANDEX. The software programs enables municipal governments to store their images, records and other data electronically. Auker also hired Dennis Brightbill as the company’s vice president. 

Thirty years after the creation of OSS, LANDEX is used in 30 Pennsylvania counties, including Lebanon County, plus three in New Jersey and two in New York state.

Lentz said LANDEX has multiple uses for counties that purchase and install its software. Lentz added it is compatible with various municipal entities including Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, Surrogates, Clerk of Orphans’ Court and county clerk offices. 

“It’s a software that they can record the documents, take in the funds, take in the fees they are recording for any given document they are recording,” said Lentz. “They do the indexing, which is all of the data, so all of the names, the municipalities, the parcel numbers – whatever information they want to index that the public or title searchers would search by to do a change in ownership for any given property.” 

LANDEX can also be accessed by the public to search records migrated from their paper origins. 

“Whether they are searching for genealogical purposes, going back to see who owned grandpa’s farm or searching to make sure there are no outstanding mortgages for the next person who is buying the property, that it is a clear and free title,” added Lentz about other LANDEX functions.

Dawn Blauch, recorder of deeds for Lebanon County, said her office is pleased to offer online access to its official records database service via LANDEX.

She encourages users to visit to see which data and image records are available for the years that have been stored electronically by department’s employees. (The county’s assessment office also utilizes LANDEX for parcel certification.)

Lentz said LANDEX has two components, one for frequent ( and the other for infrequent ( searches. Besides different pricing structures, Lentz said the webstore allows those users to store images in their histories while the remote service permits individuals to print or download a PDF to their computers. 

Lentz said the beauty of LANDEX is its 24/7 availability, and added that OSS employees do not have access to any information county officials have loaded into the software program.

“Everything is on the county’s network, we don’t hold any data for the county,” she said. “When using LANDEX or its webstore, you are using the county’s website to pull the data.” 

Another hallmark of OSS’s success is the company’s customer relations outreach. Lentz said the company sponsors an annual client conference in State College to gain feedback and works to address whatever needs their customers bring to them throughout the year. 

That accessibility led to the design and implementation of OSS’s Record Alert program – a system that was recently launched in Lebanon County’s Recorder of Deed’s office near the end of September.

Read More: Records Alert program launched in Lebanon County

“I believe the very first county to ask for that was Monmouth County, New Jersey, who came to us and said they wanted to be able to alert someone by their name,” said Lentz, who noted that happened between two and three years ago. “Record Alert first started by name registration. Well, people can have the same name, John Smith. If you have a very popular name, you’re going to be getting alerts.” 

Lentz added that other clients, including Lebanon County, wanted to avoid sending confusing alerts via common name, so OSS developed the capability for property owners to be notified by their Uniform Parcel Identifier (UPI) number. In Lebanon County, property owners can find their UPI number on their tax bill, which is called GIS ID#, and via a search through the Recorder of Deeds’ homepage. 

Looking to the future, OSS is preparing to launch a record alert system for notary publics and is always poised to find solutions for their customers.

“We are continuing to evaluate and monitor the land records marketplace to keep LANDEX evolving and growing to meet the needs of our customers; both in the county Recorder of Deeds/Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court offices, as well as for the public access to their recorded documents,” said Lentz.

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James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; Lancaster...