- 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 doing this 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 computer engineering at CH2MHill as my first civilian job. Shortly after this, I met Tracy Huntzinger who also had the entrepreneurial bug. He and I decided to start Optimum Networking and get into the IT business. Information Technology and business have 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 am most proud of the company we have built over the past 26 years. We started with hardly any capital, 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 each of us cares about everyone else. We get along very well, and work hard to provide tons of value for our clients. That’s what I’m most proud of.
- What are some of your favorite memories over the years?
My favorite memories center around the toughest challenges we’ve taken on. We have managed several mergers and acquisitions (for our clients). We recently had a client who purchased assets from another company. We had to untangle all of those assets and develop a solid design. This design introduced new pieces, integrated old pieces, migrated all the data and got them up and running in their new environment. There was a contract and budget we needed to work with called a Transition Service Agreement (TSA). This required us to get the systems up and running within 90-120 days. We were up to this challenge and completed the work within that time frame. We were nimble enough to work through this challenge and we had enough knowledge and experience to pull it off without a hitch. This is one of the things I’m most proud of.
- 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 looking at all the new technologies and tools out there. Staying up to date with technology will always 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 United States that are also in the MSP (Managed Service Provider) space. We openly talk about technology that work well and technology that do not work well. We discuss different tools we’ve tried that are beneficial or not so beneficial. This helps us focus on what it is most important, and validates what we are doing well or not so well. Also, it helps identify where we should be in the long term. It makes us work on the business instead of in the business. If I wasn’t in a peer advisory group, I would be limited to working tactically inside the business. This forces me to step away and gives me a 30,000-foot view. This provides a better angle to work “on” instead “in” the business.
- If current or 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 want our clients to know that Optimum is not just another vender. We are part of their IT team and we bring a lot of value and experience to the table. We have invested a lot of time and resources into our tools and the processes we deploy. I would like our clients to know that we are a partner with them, and we care about their technology strategy, data, information and business as much as they do.