If you had told me this time last year that we would still be adjusting our lives around a global pandemic, I wouldn’t have believed you. What an interesting year it has been for the EVOTEK community, the industry, and the world. For many business leaders, it has been a time to reflect on how much change has happened and take stock in what value was created as they look towards the future. 2020 was one of the most difficult periods in history, but fortunately, EVOTEK was in a position to help in a meaningful way. In return, customer confidence in our team drove the company to record results. I am proud of the trust and focus our team maintained through this very challenging time for so many.
Handling the Unknown
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the world around us. I carry a lot of pride in how our leadership team leaned in, sacrificed, and focused on how to support our people.
The pandemic redefined how we treat our people.
Like everyone else, we didn’t know what was in store for us and had no way to predict how much change would be injected into worldwide commerce, let alone American business. With a strong moral compass and a defined set of company values, we focused inward on our people and culture. We gave our team a strong sense of job security by overtly communicating that we would run the company to zero before we allowed the business climate to affect our people. We improved the cost of health benefits by 30%. We implemented several zoom-based touchpoints with the team to provide constant communication of what we were seeing across the company. In hindsight, the initiatives we launched helped us prepare for what was to come. Back in 2016, I wrote an article titled “Time for a New Playbook,” where I discussed building a different type of organization that puts our people first. Little did I know how meaningful that shift in company mindset and culture would be.
The results we had were the strongest year of growth.
In terms of helping companies beyond our own, we were well-positioned with a range of relevant offerings. Our heritage in properly placing applications between the data center and cloud was extremely important. In addition, our investment in cybersecurity has led to our fastest-growing business yet. I can go on and on about the organization and how we supported our customers, but I really believe our people made the difference because they were confident in their footing and support. It’s one of the reasons we ask prospective employees to view this as the “Last Job You Will Ever Have.”
The Only Constant in Life is Change
EVOTEK came into the industry with big ideas on how to do it better. We restructured the company, hired different types of talent, and attracted senior leaders well in advance of a natural growth trajectory for a company of our size. We have now been around for seven years, with roughly 150 people on staff, and a target to achieve over $450M in revenue this year. EVOTEK is doing exactly what we set out to accomplish while also creating a better way to serve.
You could say that we are in our teenage years now. Adolescence is a funny thing though, and we refuse to get stuck in our old ways. We know that what got us this far will not take us to the next level, and we are motivated to transform the way we serve the EVOTEK community. We are focused on how to optimize internal and external functions to maintain a constant state of attention to the customer experience. We are excited to see where this transformation takes us in the years to come.
Mental and Physical Health
More than ever before, the demands on our people and their families have become a daunting challenge. Working from home has begun to blur the lines between work and family time. On the other hand, there was a lot of good that came from the transition to remote life, which I’ll touch on first. I had more meals with my family than any year prior. I had more evenings and weekends to spend time with my loved ones, and it also brought me closer to my kids. This is such an important time that we will never get back.
However, it also put new demands on myself and our employees, learning how to balance work from home, school from home, and isolation at home. For 25 years, I traveled nearly every week and then went 18 months without an airplane ride. While San Diego is a wonderful place to live, the abrupt stop to travel, socialization, and not being able to see family and friends really posed new challenges for me. I know I am not alone in these challenges.
EVOTEK worked hard to provide mental and physical breaks. We launched an internal and external health challenge where we encouraged our employees to take time for their physical well-being. Some employees even reported losing 50- 100 pounds. In addition to the challenge, we promoted days off and added company shut down days to ensure we could get people to unplug. I believe this is one of the contributors to our organization’s success, but also to each of our own employee’s success as well.
Sharing Good in The World
It has always been a goal of mine to do more beyond my typical workday and make a difference where I could. I am looking forward to our team helping get our two non-profits off the ground, Project Gratitude and Women in Technology.
Project Gratitude was inspired by EVOTEK’s employees’ shared commitment of giving back. The purpose of the foundation is to support members of our community who served our country in the armed forces through different programs focusing on housing, healthcare, and education.
Women in Technology is a scholarship fund that was established to empower and educate more women with the tools they need to enter the tech industry. I believe that a diverse workforce is a stronger workforce and that gender parity in tech can be a reality. Through this foundation, we seek to inspire candidates while also honoring influential people in technology that are no longer with us.
Through these two programs, I know we can make a difference in our community. Whether it is organizing an event to help the homeless veteran community in San Diego, packing meals for the hungry, or creating a scholarship and mentorship opportunity for a young woman wanting to break into the technology industry, these small steps can create a ripple of big change.
I know this journey is far from over, and I look forward to what we will look like in another seven years. I am so very proud of the EVOTEK family and community for the impact we have made in such a short time. In April 2020, when we really did not know what to expect, we showed our true colors outward into the world. We understood that “Leadership is Protecting People and Culture During Challenging Times.” We could have been wrong, but to us, it didn’t matter. In the end, what mattered most was protecting our people. This is what will always matter to us.
Happy 7th Birthday EVOTEK!!