What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
We take advantage of as many educational and development programs as our management team can fit into their hectic schedules. Examples for me include: Leadership Detroit, Edward Lowe Foundation Events
, miscellaneous Detroit Chamber seminars, Mackinac Policy Conference
, miscellaneous A2Y Chamber events and seminars. I also make it a practice to read a business book per month. I keep a queue of books that I want to get around to, and choose from the queue depending on the current priority of issues facing our company. My favorite book is Good to Great
, and I revisit it at least once a year.
Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our very first customer was Great Lakes Ceiling and Carpentry. I was going to school at the University of Michigan and began helping Tim Turvey out with his computers. Soon we started Dynamic Edge
, and he remained our first customer.
Where did you find your first employee?
Like many start-up companies, friends were the first place I looked to find employees. Over the years we have gotten much better at finding people for the company through different avenues.
Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Yes, we have prompted an intern to employee status in our company. We have also had a number of interns that have been very talented and went on to have very successful careers. We feel that internships provide students and upcoming talent the opportunity to find out what they like to do while building skills they need along the way. I think the biggest lesson that interns take away from our company is how to ask questions and really get to the bottom of the request, specification, or problem they are facing. All too often interns come to us having never worked through a real problem, at school they are given all of the facts and details, so they lack this critical skill.
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Nope. Never had to.
What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
I would say the biggest advantage is the Great Lakes. Just kidding. Michigan has the best talent pool we have found when it comes to technical people. This is the main and only advantage that I am able to point out for our company. One of the difficulties we are going to face over the coming years is how to keep the reputation of having great technical talent as we redefine our economy.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
I would give the same advice to anyone starting a business: love what you do and pick people you want to work with. This is a critical component of a small business as the entrepreneur has to perform many responsibilities as the company begins to grow. There are many late nights and weekends. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, and working with people who are fun, talented, and committed, you will never make it through the first two years.