What kind of consulting services do you provide?
"We do IT (Information Technology) consulting, but we do so much more than that. We act as a trusted adviser to our clients on how to grow their business, how to leverage technology, and we help with all types of facilities issues, like copiers (and) phone systems, as well as building projects."
What made you start your own firm?
"When I lost my job in 2001, I felt vulnerable, even though I had gotten a job right away. I had reached my professional goals and had become a CIO (chief information officer), but I didn't want to leave myself vulnerable again. So I started consulting at night and on the weekends."
How did you move from the part-time world to a full-time employer?
"In 2006, I did a Stateside active-duty tour with the National Guard, and when that was over, I left the corporate world. I had some contractors working with me at first, but it wasn't until 2009 that I hired my first employee. In 2010, I had gotten a $40,000 entrepreneur's grant from the National Guard, and we used it to hire a disabled veteran and take our business to the next level."
How are you doing now?
"Over the last three years, we have seen growth that averaged 58 percent each year. Last year, it was 61 percent. My goal was to get to $1 million, and we did that, so my next goal is to get us to $2 million, and we will probably be at $1.6 million (this year). We just hired two employees to bring us to 12, and I would like to be at 14 or 15 by year end."
Is it difficult to find qualified help?
"Yes, that is my biggest challenge. When I started the company, I thought it would be sales, but it is very difficult to find technical people who are competent and have a great attitude and enjoy serving others. Every one of my employees could leave and make more money, but they stay because they believe in what we are doing here."
What is your customers' greatest demand?
"They want their problems resolved quickly. They have a business to run and a technology interruption really irritates them. They want someone to be responsive and address their problems quickly. Our clients enjoy great service — the traditional response time in the industry is four hours, but most of our customers get their issues addressed within an hour. I decided to be less profitable and have a larger staff so we could take care of our customers."
What do you think your customers' greatest need?
"They need a trusted adviser, someone they can come to with their problems and questions about growth and how to leverage technology to grow their business."
You do pro bono work as well?
"Yes, our commitment is to continue to give back, even as we grow. We do all the tech work for the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Center, and we have worked with Catholic Charities, Dismas House and Homes for Our Troops. Worcester is a great community, but it is needy and the needs surpass what we have."
What makes you so committed to giving back?
"Looking back, I see how fortunate I am. I just believe in giving back and helping others to success and achieve their dreams. I am the first one in my family to go to college, first to get a degree and the first one to join the military and stay in. When I was in school, I played soccer and I learned about teamwork, and when I joined the military, I learned all the military values, and I decided I wanted to live my life according to those values."
And you ran the Boston Marathon last year?
"Yes — I did it in combat boots and fatigues, with about 60 guys from the guard. They wouldn't let us wear our backpacks, but it was an incredible feeling, and running a marathon was something I always wanted to do."