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Larry Nichols

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
Up until now, Member Driven Technologies has not utilized any programs except for internal training. We recently were approved for a MEGA tax credit and a City of Southfield property tax abatement, which we will use to assist us in opening our second data center facility in Southfield. We also recently applied for a Michigan New Jobs Training program in Oakland County.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
MDT was started by several Michigan Credit Unions as a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO). The objective was to start a technology company which would consolidate the credit unions' IT resources - financial, technical, human and facilities. So our first customers were actually our owners who all pay for our services the same as all of our other clients do.

Where did you find your first employee?
After the CUSO was formed, I was hired as the first employee. The next employee I hired was transferred from one of our owners to assist with the startup.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Yes, we have on one occasion.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Our owners provided the initial startup capital. Other than that, our growth has been 100 percent self-funded.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
One of the biggest advantages that Michigan offers MDT is its large credit union population. This large pool allowed MDT to grow locally first, which helped keep our costs down in the early years. We were also able to hire a large percentage of our employees directly from credit unions. This enabled MDT to fully understand the unique attributes and needs of our credit unions clients.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
The one area that this region could improve upon is increasing the number of experienced employees with IT-related backgrounds. The one area we struggle with is finding the right experienced programmers, network engineers, security engineers, etc. The hiring process for us tends to be time-consuming and expensive.

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