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Federate Service Solutions

30955 Northwestern Highway
Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Jennifer Ferris

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
As a company we haven't done anything formal. We take our team out to the job sites as much as possible so that they have a good understanding of what they are supporting every day. We also attend local trade shows as they arise so that there is continued exposure to new technologies. Personally, I have gained a lot of knowledge from some of the business development classes that Zingerman's ZingTrain offers. They have a lot of out of the box ways to approach team work and employee recognition that I have adapted into our company culture.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first customer billed was actually a major department store that is now nationwide and among the Top 25 retailers. Today, we have done work for over half of the Top 10 retailers in the U.S. We did gain our initial base of customers through acquisition of another company. However, the positive end of that for us is that we were able to retain a good portion of those customers as we grew and we continue to service them today.

Where did you find your first employee?
Through acquisition of another company which was based in Atlanta, Georgia. Soon after acquiring this company, we brought most of the team to their new headquarters in Michigan.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We just started bringing in interns about two years ago, and last year we promoted our first one who is now on track to become a project manager.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Initially, we were able to secure receivable financing through TCF Bank. More recently we have depended on private receivables funding. It was tough during the downturn (and has been since) to secure bank financing since banks have changed credit policies and financing arrangements.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
We are a small, family-oriented company that is fine tuned to be a lean, mean machine. We have a tremendous work ethic and do everything in teams which provides support, versatility, and response that most companies like us cannot. We know that we aren't the biggest company on the block, but we compete with the best of them and we do a good job of it, too.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
Do it. We live in a great place. A state that is extremely dynamic in what it offers in both talent and environment. People don't realize it, but we are climbing back to the top in job recruitment rapidly and this is namely because of the constant need for engineering and technology positions. We have had hard times here, and maybe not everyone feels it, but there is a vibe between those of us who have made it through. We are all rooting for success and it's this strong bond that keeps the seams of this state together.

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