2 PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008
Lead management ROI
By Karen Gentry | Portal WEB LINKS
GRAND RAPIDS – Double-digit www.xrite.com
growth for The Annuitas Group is being
fueled by more and more businesses waste” from 70 to 50 percent, is minus-
turning to the virtual company to help cule compared to the extra hundreds and
them manage sales leads. thousands of dollars in sales that can re-
Company founder Jay Hidalgo said sult.
his company helps businesses increase “An 11-percent reduction in dropped/
the return on investment of their market- lost leads, combined with a one percent
ing and sales efforts. improvement in lead-to-order conversion
“What often happens is many compa- rate, increases annual gross profit by 136
nies don’t have the expertise or time to percent,” according to Annuitas Group’s
PHOTO: KAREN GENTRY
focus on a lead management process,” printed materials.
Hidalgo said. The company’s services include lead
The Annuitas Group helps businesses generation, lead management, marketing
with a lead management process inde- lists, research, procurement and market-
pendent of the sales force. ing effectiveness.
“Our company can come in and as- Central to the Annuitas Group is Jay Hidalgo is co-founder of the Annuitas Group, a virtual company that helps companies
sess, recommend and implement and do Vtrenz software, a Web-based service with lead management solutions. The company often assists companies with Vtrenz, an au-
so in a quick timeframe,” Hidalgo told from Atlanta-based Silverpop. Vtrenz is tomated solution to help companies improve measurable returns on sales and marketing.
Portal. an on-demand marketing automation
A national report in 2002 showed that software tool that helps organizations oped by marketing people, not IT people. business. They may have a lack of quali-
70 percent of all sales leads are never generate demand for their products and Annuitas Groups helps businesses that fication criteria or different groups
acted upon because they don’t reach the services, close more sales and measure purchase Vtrenz but may not know how to within a company use different weights
right person at the right time, according the impact of marketing activities. This use it effectively. According to Vtrenz re- and measures to determine a lead’s vi-
to Annuitas Group. It has also been year, Silverpop announced it was fur- search, medium-sized companies with ability. Effective lead management pro-
proven that 45 percent of the leads re- thering its partnership with The $25-$50 million in sales don’t know where grams have one central repository and
ceived will buy from someone. Hidalgo Annuitas Group to offer consulting ser- to start when it comes to sales leads. process for leads to be qualified. Most
said upfront costs for an effective lead vices nationwide using Vtrenz. “Proper lead management programs companies don’t have a plan for ongoing
management program, reducing “lead Hidalgo said Vtrenz is software devel- start with qualifying a lead,” Hidalgo lead nurturing for those leads that are
said. not sales-ready.
Leads are scored as warm, cold or hot
using technology tools based on criteria Annuitas history
of a lead. Hidalgo founded the Annuitas Group
Annuitas Group outlined several ele- three years ago with his brother Carlos
ments of a proper lead management pro- Jr., who is based in Dallas. About five
gram. All leads should be entered into a years ago, Hidalgo developed a lead
lead management database coming in management practice area for Hidalgo &
from a central source. Immediate contact DeVries, a marketing and advertising
should be made with respondents, ac- agency owned by his father Carlos Sr. As
knowledging their requests for informa- the add-on area solidified, the brothers
tion. Speedy fulfillment of requested in- decided to start a company centered on
formation and timely follow-up with the lead management with Herman Miller as
respondent to determine needs should its first customer.
take place. For leads not yet ready to While Hidalgo & DeVries focuses on
buy, a “lead re-marketing” contact pro- research and marketing strategies, the
cess should be in place as well as a Annuitas Group is more process-ori-
closed-loop process to confirm sales. ented. Jay’s expertise and background is
Most companies cannot definitively in financial, insurance and manufactur-
describe what a lead looks like for their ing, while Carlos Jr.’s expertise and expe-
rience is in software and the high-tech
“It’s a good blend,” Hidalgo said.
ERM provides expert environmental,
social, health, and safety due diligence The Annuitas Group continues to do
around the world. We help our clients work for Herman Miller and currently
reduce risk, maximize their ROI, and has about 25 clients nationwide, includ-
enhance their reputation. ing X-Rite and some companies in the
The Annuitas Group has gotten the
word out about its services through
LinkedIn, other online marketing, opti-
mizing Web sites and leveraging partner-
ships like Vtrenz.
The Annuitas Group has no similar
“We’ve been told by some of the lead-
ers in the industry that what we provide
Environmental Resources is very unique,” Hidalgo said.
Management He said the number of sales and busi-
Holland, Michigan ness executives viewing managing leads
616-399-3500 as a big problem has been the biggest sur-
www.erm.com prise to their new business venture. L
PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008 3
COVER STORY <<
Tracking software delivers
By Keith Essenburg | Portal WEB LINKS
HOLLAND – It was a risk Michael Ru-
therford felt he had to take. eoStar proved such a success from
Founder and head of a successful soft- the start that Microsoft named it one of
ware development firm, Rutherford its Certified Gold Partners in three com-
knew that the software program that had petencies: business intelligence, data
put his Rutherford & Associates on the management solutions and ISV/software
map was based on outdated technology. solutions. Rutherford and Phillips said
Called Rutherford SX, the software had that as far as they know, eoStar is the
proven a hit among the beverage delivery only Microsoft-endorsed food and bev-
industry. But the groundbreaking soft- erage distribution software available na-
ware, first developed in 1986, was begin- tionally.
ning to show its age and could not take Rutherford & Associates also was
advantage of later technology, such as named last year as a Strategic Partner by
smart phones, tablet computers and other MillerCoors, one of the largest beer dis-
hand-held devices spawned in the 1990s. tributors in the country. A Strategic Part-
So Rutherford pointed his Holland- ner designation means that Rutherford &
based company in a new direction, de- Associates works closely with
voting himself and his 40 employees to MillerCoors to implement and maintain
the development of a product that would eoStar to better the MillerCoors distribu-
become known as eoStar. tor system.
“We decided, ‘Let’s rewrite our soft- Rutherford said that in the last five
ware from scratch,’” Rutherford said of years, eoStar has grown from being the
his decision in 2001 to scrap SX, the new kid on the block to the number one
company’s flagship product. product distribution software for more Michael Rutherford, left, and Jovo Phillips, right, of Rutherford & Associates have
“It wasn’t an easy decision because than 420 companies that annually developed a software that helps large beverage distributors like Kent Beverage keep
we found ourselves throwing out every- wholesale and distribute $1 billion track of orders, sales and inventory. Shawn Gary, center, of Kent Beverage, called the
thing we had done. We tried to do it with worth of beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks, software the backbone of his company.
the old code, but it was too hard.” water, snacks, candy, tobacco, dairy and
The firm sold a program for vending other consumer and industrial products. so many off-the-shelf software programs distribution companies, Gary said eoStar
machines to candy giant Mars Inc., giv- Shawn Gary, VP of Kent Beverage Co. in that companies like Kent Beverage can makes short work of tracking sales of
ing it the capital to shift its focus from Grand Rapids, said his company began us- use to supplement eoStar’s capabilities. multiple products by various sales-
production and marketing of Rutherford ing eoStar three years ago and its impact on “It’s the backbone of our company people.
SX to the development of a successor. the second largest wholesaler in Michigan right now,” Gary said, adding that Kent Prior to Kent Beverage’s switch to
Jovo Phillips, VP of business develop- has been huge. Beverage uses the software to track sales, eoStar, the company used software it had
ment, sales and marketing, said the main “It allows us to use data in so many manage inventory, and produce invoices produced in-house and even marketed to
difference between SX and eoStar is “the different ways. You just have easy access for the beer, wine, and soft drink prod- other distributors.
technology under the hood.” to everything.” ucts it distributes. “These guys are some of the best pro-
Unlike its predecessor, eoStar takes Gary said one of the most appealing Describing Kent Beverage as “pretty grammers I’ve ever met in my life,” Gary
advantage of today’s technology, making features of eoStar is its compatibility with diverse” compared to most wholesale said. L
it more user-friendly and incorporating
requests and ideas that SX customers
provided the company.
Among the features incorporated into
eoStar is its compatibility with off-the-
shelf hand-held devices and its ability to
interface with the World Wide Web. As a
result, eoStar users can look up a new
customer’s address, get directions to the
address and even obtain a satellite image
of the customer’s facility.
Phillips said that because the beer, wine
and liquor industries are heavily regulated,
eoStar includes software that guides users
through the maze of regulations that,
among other things, forbid alcoholic and
non-alcoholic beverages from being trans-
ported on the same truck. eoStar also in-
cludes software that calculates taxes, keeps
track of beverage production dates to en-
provides the following Service Centers Located in Albion,
sure that products are delivered while still services without fees:
fresh, and keeps a running tab on ware- Recruitment assistance
Interview facilities & applicant screening
Battle Creek, Coldwater & Hastings!
house supplies to keep suppliers from run-
ning out of fast-selling brands. Employee training Albion Battle Creek Coldwater Hastings
Rutherford said eoStar also helps with Job postings Service Center Service Center Service Center Service Center
routing information, helping beverage Tax credit savings information 101 N. Albion Street 135 Hamblin Avenue 210 Vista Dr. 535 W. Woodlawn
distributors calculate the most cost-effec- Wage subsidies Albion, MI 49224 Battle Creek, MI 49017 Coldwater, MI 49036 Hastings, MI 49058
tive delivery schedules and what it will Michigan Works! Programs are equal opportunity employers/programs.
cost to add a new customer to the route. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request. Michigan Relay Center (800) 649-3777 (Voice and TTY). Supported by the State of Michigan.
4 PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008 PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008 5
>> CHAT ROOM CHAT ROOM <<
What is your group beginning in 1999 as an Oakland County space and floor space for vehicle pany is the strength, productivity and so-to-speak, on local markets. An and more on how we will use technology
doing to promote the initiative with only 44 members, Auto- modifications and prototype as- happiness of our employees. From this underperforming local market will make to improve the efficiency in all of our
local tech industry? mation Alley has grown to become a re- sembly. ElectroJet also has over two perspective, technology companies - it hard for us to cultivate a rich and di- companies. Yes, software development
Huisingh: AimWest is a nonprofit pro- gional initiative with more than 960 acres of land for field testing of along with any other companies - will verse crop of new high-tech companies. and medical device production are cer-
fessional association and we are focused members from Macomb, Genesee, Oak- products in a vehicle chassis. find our state to be a great place to locate. Secondarily, it can be difficult to get tainly a glitzy part of the recipe for our
on promoting the growth of the interac- land, Livingston, St. Clair, Monroe, ElectroJet can be characterized as a Bosnjak: The most important variable access to venture capital. Once a young success, but of even more importance is
tive and technology industries through- Wayne and Washtenaw counties along design house with the ability to when technology companies look to start company begins to hit stride, the focus the application of appropriate technol-
out West Michigan. with the city of Detroit. build low volume prototypes in- up or expand is the talent and education of should turn fairly quickly to expansion ogy in all of our companies.
Three times this year we are hosting Through Automation Alley’s entrepre- house. Large volume manufactur- the workforce. Michigan is well placed in in markets that reside outside of the Technology is leveling the playing field
networking opportunities which start at neurial services, more than $3.6 million ing takes advantage of highly this regard because of our excellent univer- state. Expansion takes money and risk, in markets, and if properly implemented,
5:01 p.m. and are free for our members has been invested in 22 start-up technol- ROB HUISINGH GEORGE BOSNJAK KEN ROGERS skilled local contract manufactur- sity system. Michigan is certainly not and conservative private lending is not it can reduce costs and improve efficiency.
and guests. We pick a comfortable ogy companies, resulting in more than AimWest Board of Directors, The Right Place Inc. Automation Alley ers that meet the strictest standards thought of as a hotbed like California and particularly well-suited to the require- By this standard, the future holds success
venue, supply free food, give away some 150 new jobs in Southeast Michigan. Membership Chairman Business Development Executive Director for manufacturing and service. Texas, but with a strong foundation, there ments of this market sector. for any company, high tech or low, that
great gifts (last August it was an iPod Since Automation Alley began con- www.aimwest.org Manager www.automationalley.com ElectroJet currently has working is no reason we cannot compete nationally. Bosnjak: Funding and human capital properly leverages technology to improve
Nano) and make it possible for great lo- ducting trade missions in 2001, more www.rightplace.org prototypes in ATVs and lawn trac- Rogers: In Southeast Michigan alone continue to be the greatest barriers to business and process efficiency.
cal technology talent to meet with each than $130 million in contracts have been tor utility engines. These systems there are more than 300,000 technology startup and expansion of technology com- Bosnjak: As the Michigan economy
other and prospective clients. generated in sales, investment and eco- have been power and emissions workers and over 8,000 technology estab- panies in Michigan. Funding will continue continues to diversify, technology com-
Other events are designed to be dy- nomic development for attending compa- be unveiled on Nov. 12 at a luncheon at used by commercial and nonprofit organi- tested with exceptional results. lishments. We graduate approximately to be an issue as long as we are in our cur- panies will inevitably play a larger role
namic and participatory learning oppor- nies and the program has created more the Troy Marriott. zations. Last year the event sold out. Automation Alley provided seed funding 12,000 engineers every year from our local rent economic circumstances. Human capi- in our overall economy. Also, as technol-
tunities centered on technology topics of than 200 new jobs. Bosnjak: Bookings.com, part of to ElectroJet and ElectroJet participated in universities. We are a global center for engi- tal can be addressed by attraction and reten- ogy becomes more prevalent in every as-
interest to West Michigan. In many cases Each year the Alley hosts more than 100 What is your group’s best Priceline.com, made the decision to es- the trade mission to China in 2006, where neering. We are the R & D center for Michi- tion strategies that aim to keep talented col- pect of business, the vast majority of
we draw in a panel of local experts who events, everything from networking ses- tech success story? What tablish a major online support and call promising joint ventures were created. Con- gan with 184 such facilities. We are not a lege graduates in Michigan. The Michigan Michigan’s companies will be “technol-
answer questions from a moderator as sions that average 300 attendees, to semi- makes that company/project center in the city of Wyoming. Support- tracts are currently being finalized. “wanna be.” We are that global technology economy continues to see the payoff of the ogy companies” in one way or another.
well as from our participants in atten- nars on how to do business with the mili- stand above the rest? ing the company’s international online center that Automation Alley is branding. investment in the education system. Rogers: Technology will be at the cen-
dance. tary, information financial seminars, entre- Huisingh: We have two events that are travel system, this expansion certainly Why is Michigan a good Rogers: We need more venture capi- ter of our economy. Technology will be a
Bosnjak: The Right Place hosts a preneurial events and marketing how-tos. very well attended and the topic of much puts West Michigan on the map as a place for technology What are the top two tal. In order to achieve more VC funding focus of our manufacturing. The R & D
monthly educational meeting of tech Our headquarters in Troy continues to interest. The first is called Tech Trends quality region for technology-based com- companies to start up or greatest barriers for tech we need to better identify the technolo- centers located here have technology as
companies and IT professionals called be a central hub for member activity and and it’s an annual event hosted by the panies to expand. relocate to? How do we companies to locate in gies we have here and focus. Taxes are their focus for new vehicles. Medicine
the Fourth Friday Forum. This educa- last year more than 5,000 people at- technology expert and entrepreneur Rogers: ElectroJet Inc., located in compare nationally? Michigan and what needs to also an issue in Michigan. We need a will be an important factor in our
tional meeting is intended to facilitate tended a meeting or event at our facility. Keith Brophy. The next event will be Whitmore Lake, has developed small en- Huisingh: Michigan is a great place to be done to correct them? more business-friendly tax structure. economy. That sector is already our larg-
networking in the IT industry and pro- Each year in conjunction with the held on Feb. 18, 2009 and it gives us an gine-specific fuel injection systems and is live, work and play. In very real terms, Huisingh: It’s no secret that our est employer and that will only increase.
vide information on relevant IT topics. Anderson Economic Group, Automation opportunity to look at the greatest tech in the process of commercializing these this means that employees enjoy a high economy is in the process of Looking 10 years into the Military and homeland security will con-
There is more information available at Alley produces a report that compiles gadgets and newest trends. proprietary technologies to help meet up- quality of life. This is a great place to transitioning away from a dependence future, how do you see tinue to be a factor. Michigan will still be
the Right Place Web site: data on the state of the technology indus- The second is called Lunch with coming emissions regulations. ElectroJet raise a family. It is common to meet on the automotive sector. Diversifying technology companies the center for automotive research for
www.rightplace.org try in Southeast Michigan. The data in- Google and it will be held on April 22, was founded in 2003 and is currently pri- people who started their careers in Chi- our commercial and industrial activity is playing a role in Michigan’s North America. Alternative fuels and en-
Rogers: Automation Alley is continu- cludes information on the number of em- 2009. This is West Michigan’s opportunity vately funded. ElectroJet’s facility in- cago and New York but have returned to inevitable, but it will take time and it’s economy? ergy will be a factor. If you want to be in
ing to brand Southeast Michigan as a ployees, wages, patents, and university to hear directly from the search engine gi- cludes an electronics lab, machine shop, Michigan to start a family. going to be painful. Most tech companies Huisingh: It might be beneficial for us the prototype business in America, you
world-class center for technology. Since R&D. The results of the 2008 report will ant about how Google Technologies can be fabrication area, work benches, office A critical part of succeeding as a com- grow locally first. They cut their teeth, to focus less on technology companies need a business address in Michigan. L
6 PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008
Pod pals pop
By Lisa Mackinder | Portal
KALAMAZOO – Aaron Vronko, co-
owner of Rapid Repair, always liked the that number. Based on first quarter earn-
idea of wearing a lab coat. ings, he projects this year’s figure to beat
“I pictured myself more of a scientist 2007 sales.
or a researcher,” he told Portal, referring “We’ve been fortunate that we’ve
to his childhood ambitions. done a really good job in incorporating a
Vronko’s Kalamazoo-based business – strong campaign in search engine optimi-
which specializes in small electronics re- zation and so we’re right at the top of the
pair of iPod, iPhone, Zune and other de- organic search results,” he said.
vices – does a lot of the leading work, he He credits the search results as the big-
said, on finding some of the design prob- gest factor in growing the business.
lems and discovering fixes. Operating “In the beginning, we weren’t at the top
out of a 3,000-square-foot facility on for those search results. But as we contin-
West Main Street, it averages 500 repairs ued to develop, we slowly attained those
per week. Ninety percent of its business top positions. Now we’re first or second.”
comes from the United States, but Rapid There are also more iPods out there.
PHOTO: JOE BOOMGAARD
Repair has clients in 65 countries. According to Vronko, when Rapid Repair
“I’m still doing OK even without the started, third generation iPods were
coat,” he said. pretty new and only four to five million
In the last year, Vronko has crisscrossed had been sold. Currently there are about
the country, appearing on all four television 150 million units in the marketplace.
networks and various radio stations, in ad- “Now we have a much larger target
dition to interviewing with print media. Ac- market,” said Vronko. Aaron Vronko, co-owner of Rapid Repair, works on an iPod at the company’s Kalamazoo
cording to Vronko, Rapid Repair has been The media exposure has also helped offices.
featured on NBC KNTV San Francisco, grow the business. “You get hooked on that and it really pair continues to train its customer ser-
NBC 9 Denver and CBS 6 Atlanta and ap- In Vronko’s opinion, the business has keeps you there.” vice representatives as technicians.
peared in Entrepreneur magazine. been successful due to a few factors – the According to Vronko, Rapid Repair lo- “I would say any one of them is at a
And it all began just four years ago first being consistent, prompt service. cated in Kalamazoo because of the sophis- point where they could probably step up
when Rapid Repair co-owner Ben Levy Average turnaround on most repairs ticated information technology workforce. to the role of technician in probably less
broke his iPod. After a bit of fooling with ranges between 24-48 hours. Establishing He believes Kalamazoo’s workforce to be than half the time it would normally take
it, Levy searched online forums about relationships with industry-related sites technically savvy because of the presence to train a technician,” he said.
problems with the devices. At that point, is another contributor. of a large research university. Both Levy Rapid Repair has a variety of services
the two friends decided to launch a busi- To Vronko, iPods are like mini-com- and Vronko have degrees from Western – including sales and repair. Vronko said
ness out of their apartment. puters. Michigan University. Levy’s is in com- approximately 50 percent of repairs
The company’s Web site officially de- “We’re a bunch of guys who have a basic puter information systems and Vronko’s is come from LCD and battery replacement.
buted in 2004. Initially, Rapid Repair – then technical aptitude and mechanical apti- in business management. But direct parts sales to other repair cen-
called iPodmods – performed about five re- tude,” he said, noting the pair like having “People are available a lot of places,” ters continues to increase. Rapid Repair
pairs per week. After six months, that num- something that will interact back with them. said Vronko. “I think the people in has a customer in the U.K. that pur-
ber grew to 25-30 per week. A year and a A computer does that, he said, more Kalamazoo are especially underutilized.” chases $1 million in parts every year.
half later, it leaped to 500 per week. than any other machine or mechanical He feels that stems from a lack of “We get inquiries all the time,” said
In 2006, Rapid Repair had sales ex- instrument. Rapid Repair staff like to high-tech companies moving in and set- Vronko of business-to-business parts
ceeding $2.5 million. In 2007, Vronko make little changes and see the effect of ting up shop in Michigan. sales. “That’s because more people are
said sales reached a little higher than those changes. With a staff of 12 people, Rapid Re- beginning to see more and more that they
are worth fixing.”
Among its many products, Rapid Re-
pair sells 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and U2 iPod ac-
cessories. It also offers photo, shuffle,
nano, mini and video accessories. The
company launched its own iVue Crystal
Clear Panels, which allow owners to see
the iPod’s innards. Despite little or no
marketing effort, said Vronko, the prod-
uct continues to sell “unbelievably
well.” He attributes iVue’s success to the
100,000 unique visitors that visit Rapid
Repair’s site every month.
With the July 11 release of the second
generation iPhone, Rapid Repair initi-
ated an iPhone buy back program. Ac-
cording to Vronko, Apple sold about 6
million first generation iPhones. Believ-
ing many of those purchasers to be early
technology adapters, he said, “They’ll get
the next one as soon as it comes out.”
In the first week, Rapid Repair received
several hundred buy back requests.
Vronko sees continued growth in
Rapid Repair’s future. He said there are a
couple of market segments that display
synergies with what Rapid Repair does.
“We will try to jump in feet first with
some of those markets.” L
PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008 7
File Maker But that’s just one benefit that Great
Lakes Database offers companies. The
company can create a wide range of data-
“Our specialty is database conver-
sion,” he said. “That’s where we take an
older database and upgrade it to the lat-
By Katerie Prior | Portal bases for just about any market. est version of FileMaker so all the files
email@example.com “You can use FileMaker for hundreds are converted smoothly and everything
of reasons,” he said. “We can create data- works as it should.”
HOLLAND – In his line of work, Greg bases for tracking customers and contacts, As industries like healthcare and tech-
Adams, the CEO and founder of Great ware. He enjoyed working on the project so managing specific department processes, nology continue to expand in West Michi-
Lakes Database frequently hears stories much that when it was complete, Adams inventory management, quotes, and in- gan, Adams believes there are a number of
like this: an organization needs a new continued to learn more about FileMaker. voicing. You name it, we can do it.” companies that can benefit from becoming
database to boost its existing workflow “As a database tool, FileMaker is very Already known within the FileMaker a client of Great Lakes Database.
and maybe interface with older, existing flexible,” he said. “It helped us create a community as a conversion specialist, “I hope in the next 3-5 years to have
software. Above all, the database needs lot of different custom applications.” Adams’ expertise is also attractive to more clients in the community,” he said.
to be easy for users to learn and intuitive His expertise eventually led him to a companies who need to upgrade their “There are a lot of practical applications for
for them to follow. new position in Chicago where Adams cre- antiquated database or have it interface databases in a business. I know there are a
So, what happens? The organization de- ated databases for companies like CDW, with another software. lot of companies that we can help.” L
cides to go with a large corporation that devel- Liberty Mutual, the University of Chicago
ops databases and buys an expensive pro- and Wrigley. At the same time, he contin-
gram. Unfortunately, the workers complain ued to build on his knowledge of
that the software is difficult to use, fails to FileMaker. While he enjoyed his success,
work with the older database, and simply Adams knew he wanted something more.
doesn’t help them do their jobs. In the end, “I was a graduate of the Haworth School
management scratches their heads wondering of Business at Western Michigan University
why workers are still using the old system. and I always dreamed of starting my own
For Adams, situations like this are business,” he said. “I just never guessed that
easily remedied. If the company had it would be in custom database design.”
turned to Great Lakes Database, a Hol- Adams got the chance to follow his
land-based company that specializes in dream when he and his wife moved from
custom databases, Adams would sit Chicago to Holland to be closer to their
down with his new client, find out what family. After moving into the area,
it needs, and create a database that spe- Adams decided the time was right to
cifically met those requirements. pursue his dream and opened Great
“Great Lakes Database has the experi- Lakes Database in July. In that short
ence to guide organizations and agencies amount of time, Adams has already gar-
of all sizes through the discovery, design nered several clients. 1975 Waldorf NW, Suite C, Grand Rapids, MI 49544
and development of solutions,” Adams “Starting up like this can be a real p 616.453.2324 • f 616.453.2624 • www.dkengconst.com
told Portal. “We can customize a data- challenge,” he said. “But now is the time
base for their business in a cost- and to build a customer base and get a degree
time-efficient manner.” of exposure.”
Not bad for a company that just re- The volatility in the economy has ac-
cently opened its doors. While Great tually helped. Adams credits the recent
Lakes Database is a young company, its push among companies to cut costs as a
history can be traced to one of Adams’ factor in his favor.
first jobs, working as a tech support per- “Because Great Lakes Database is a
son for an Indiana company. smaller company, we can create custom
At the time, the position required Adams databases more inexpensively than the
to learn FileMaker, a database design soft- bigger corporations,” Adams said.
GRAND HAVEN —
Luanne Brown, president
and CEO of eTool Develop- Hepinstall McConnell Rasch
ers, was elected to the
SEMA (Specialty Equipment GRAND RAPIDS — Partners in Technology
Market Association) board hired Denise Hamill as a senior search consult-
of directors for 2008. ant/manager, Susie Payne as a search consult-
ant, and Kris Witters as HR/accounting manager.
GRAND RAPIDS — Open Systems Technolo-
gies Inc. (OST) hired Brad TerEick as senior tech- GRANDVILLE — Trivalent Group announced
nology architect and Vance Baran as senior ac- Mark Hepinstall as virtual chief information of-
count executive. ficer. Hepinstall has 17 years of experience. Tina
McConnell was named solutions delivery man-
GRAND RAPIDS — CPR announced four new ager. She has 20 years of experience. Nick Prill
engineers, Kathleen Shroyer, Phil Ryskamp, was named service desk team
Matt Smith and Allie Miller. Beverly Buffinga, leader, Adam Rasch as a PC
Mike Clarke, Marty Goodrich and Hollie Barton technician to provide on-site
were hired as onsite engineers. Tom Keusch IT support for Proaction Be-
joined the IT Education sales team with over nine havioral Health Alliance. The
years experience and Ken Wisniewski joined as company also named Dennis
technology advantage account manager. Simons as systems engineer
Simons to provide on-site IT support
KALAMAZOO — SalesPage Technologies ap- for Proaction Behavioral
pointed Brian Vislusky executive director of Health Alliance. Charles Williamson was ap-
strategic account management. pointed service desk operations. L
8 PORTAL • FOURTH QUARTER 2008