- What helped you decide to found/become an owner of Optimum Networking?
I decided to found Optimum Networking because I always wanted to become an entrepreneur. When I was a Marine, I used to build PCs and sell them on base to various other Marines. I really enjoyed that and I kind of had a bug for it. I realized when I got out of the Marines that bug never left me. I started working in engineer
ing at CH2MHill as my first civilian job and met another gentleman named Tracy who also had an entrepreneurial bug. He and I decided to start Optimum Networking and get into the IT business. IT has always be
en a passion of mine and business has always been a passion of mine. Coupling those things together seemed like the right thing to do.
- As an owner of Optimum, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the company we built over the past 26 years. We started with hardly any capital whatsoever and we’ve been able to build up a great team of professionals. We have a great culture here; it is like a family where everyone cares about everybody and get along very well. We all work hard to service our clients and provide tons of value for them. That’s what I’m most proud of.
- What are some of your favorite memories over the years?
My favorite memories have to be around some of the tough challenges we’ve taken on. We have managed several mergers and acquisitions (for our clients) over the past several years. We had a client who would purchase assets from another company, and we would have to untangle all those assets and put a solid design together to put in new pieces and integrate old pieces, migrate all the data and get them up and running on their own environment— all within a short period of time, usually withing 90 to 120 days. There was a contract and budget we needed to work with called a Transition Service Agreement (TSA) where they have a requirement to get off the systems within 90-120 days. We’ve always been up to the challenge to get the work done in that time frame. That is one of the things I’m most proud of, to be nimble enough to work through that and have enough knowledge and experience to pull that off without a hitch.
- You’ve been doing this a long time. What keeps you fresh and “in the game?”
One of the things that keeps me fresh is always looking at the new technologies out there and the tools that we need to keep us sharp. To accomplish this, I joined a peer advisory group a couple of years ago. This allows me to sit down with other professionals across the country that are also in the MSP space and we openly talk about things that work well and don’t work well and different tools we’ve tried that are beneficial or not so beneficial and it helps us decide about the things we should be thinking about and validates what we are doing well or not so well. Also, it helps identify where we should be long term. It makes us work on the business instead of in the business. Otherwise, if I wasn’t in a peer advisory group, I would be working tactically inside the business. This forces me to step away, give a 30,000-foot view which is another angle to work “on” instead “in” the business. Also, the nature of IT is always changing.
- If current of future clients need to know one thing about optimum, what would it be?
I would say it is the care factor. We absolutely care about our clients and we really want to partner with them. We don’t want our clients to feel like we are just a vender to them. We are part of their IT team and we bring a lot of value to the table with many years of investment in the various tools and processes we’ve put together. So, I would like our clients to know that we are a partner with them, and we care about their data, information and business as much as they do.