Years ago, I set an intention to build a company that had three main goals:
- To create a place where people wanted to work.
- To deliver differentiated value to our clients.
- To be financially secure enough to continuously deliver on the first two.
As our company turns eight, I wanted to share and reflect on how those intentions shape the present and future at EVOTEK.
In 2014, I started EVOTEK and envisioned a company that would provide a safe workplace for all our employees to take risks, reach their financial goals, and make a difference within the community.
Our culture has enabled EVOTEK to run toward complexity, change, and adversity, knowing that we all support each other in a safe environment. The best example of our culture comes from the nearly 200 amazing employees we have and what they have achieved, driving exponential growth before, during, and after COVID. This was made possible because of our shared values, where employees have a voice and the freedom to experiment, iterate, and evolve without fear.
I enjoy sharing the story with our employees of former MLB baseball player Reggie Jackson, famously known as “Mr. October”. In 1973 and 1977, he was the World Series MVP, hitting ten home runs, collecting 24 RBIs, and batting .357, and yet nobody remembers he was the all-time leader of strikeouts with 2,597. In turn, I always wanted to create a place where people could take a swing and not fear losing their job or admonishment for taking that swing.
It is a great feeling to remember all the accomplishments in our 1st eight years, none of which would have been possible without creating a safe place to share opinions and ideas and to collaborate with every single employee that has come through EVOTEK.
CREATING A PLACE PEOPLE WANT TO WORK
Our people are the organization’s backbone, not only in what they deliver every day; but in the ideas, they have brought to shape our company. In most companies, you must “earn your stripes” to be taken seriously or be given a seat at the table. At EVOTEK, getting hired is considered “the stripes”, and ideas are valued on day one. This has shaped the company in a way I could never have imagined. We believe that if employees feel like family and feel safe, they will be best positioned to serve the EVOTEK community. With a unique go-to-market strategy and a differentiated value proposition to our clients, we truly have become a company of our people.
“I am part of all that I have met.” ~ Alfred Lloyd Tennyson
I have always believed that taking care of employees first and making sure they don’t have to worry about healthcare or whether we would make it through the year would create a team that took care of our clients. We pay 100% of our employees’ healthcare, and during COVID, we committed to our employees that we would not downsize regardless of what happened. This resulted in us growing our business by 85% in 2020. Our employees were enabled to focus their time on assisting clients on how to connect and work securely from anywhere in the most prolific acceleration and adoption of new technologies the world has ever seen.
Additionally, we are continually working to extend the EVOTEK community outside of our employees, families, partners, and clients. We strive to expand this community to all those in need. Whether it’s our first-ever community day, which we rolled out November 4th, or giving each employee a day off to make an impact serving others or themselves with a mental health day. We want our people to feel secure at EVOTEK and truly believe in our family.
A DIFFERENTIATED VALUE PROPOSITION
EVOTEK, from its inception, has known that clients needed more than a value-added reseller (VAR) as they faced new and ever-evolving challenges in governance, risk, growth, and global competition. These fundamental challenges were not solved by traditional sourcing and deploying technology. EVOTEK also set out to build a company that could provide expert advice for the C-Suite and throughout their respective organizations. Becoming an extension of our client’s organizations has been a differentiator in helping them make better decisions and align the use of the right technologies to achieve their strategies and organizational goals. We have focused our differentiation on three main areas:
- ADVISORY SERVICES
- STRATEGIC SOURCING
- ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS
ADVISORY SERVICES is how we lead our client engagements with a focus on understanding objectives and aligning our organization of advisors with expertise across the multiple domains of cloud, cybersecurity, networking, and workplace technologies.
We have intentionally added former practitioners, CISOs, CIOs, enterprise architects, and engineers across multiple verticals in Finance, Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare, and Technology. This deep domain knowledge and real-world expertise have allowed us to differentiate our client engagements by helping with strategy and best practices in execution while supporting the optimization of their technology lifecycle.
STRATEGIC SOURCING was incubated by our earliest clients, asking us what they should buy and how they should source it. This need fundamentally appeared as clients moved away from appliances/point purchases to subscription/flexible software agreements, and it isn’t always clear how to align those technology purchases with the variable nature of their business or strategy. As the proliferation of cloud and security tools creates thousands of new and emerging players, we are helping our clients build a repeatable process to discover, evaluate, consume, and adopt these technologies to match their individual requirements.
ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS was born as clients asked us to build customized platforms to support hybrid cloud, IoT, and workplace applications across multiple OEMs. We found the approach of architecting, engineering, and optimizing across the many new emerging technologies, as well as the market leaders, have created more possibilities to generate a competitive advantage for our clients. Our clients, in turn, have become the largest source of business development, and EVOTEK will continue to differentiate ourselves and bring on those with the desire and skills to assist others.
CREATING FINANCIAL STABILITY
Heading into 2023, we have been profitable every year since our 1st year, and I am proud that we continue to improve our balance sheet and cash position. This has allowed us to invest when others are downsizing rather than sitting tight to ride out a downturn, knowing that opportunities will be abundant during uncertain times.
Creating EVOTEK was not about creating cash flow to support lavish vacations or material possessions for myself but creating a place where financial stability and security could unlock the creativity and individual pursuits of all the families that are a part of EVOTEK. I truly enjoy hearing the stories of EVOTEK families getting started, children going to college, employees being able to afford their first home, and the joy that comes from these stories.
While achieving profitable growth is important, and we are bullish on the outlook, it’s most important that our employees, partners, and clients feel vested in our achievements, as they are the catalyst for our expansion and growth. This will no doubt mirror how they feel about being a part of our joint success.
FINDING COMFORT THROUGH DISCOMFORT
They don’t call it growing pains for nothing. Where there is change, there is also growth. If we can remove the element of fear of the unknown, we can truly open the door to achieving new goals. The element of failure can keep us from playing the game of life.
What many people don’t know is that EVOTEK was not the first integrator I started. In late 2005, I created a similar business that failed for several reasons. When I started EVOTEK, I did so with the knowledge of what didn’t work, the experience of what not to do, and the motivation to find a better way. I focused on culture and the operational side of the business before I went after scale.
Starting a company opened me up for many variations of failure, and those past failures fueled EVOTEK. I knew I would have to take comfort in the waves of change our company would endure, knowing that with each change, something new would blossom. We are, once again, in a new wave, and I know these new faces, fresh ideas, and feedback will fuel our future. The door is open, and we are ready to enter the world.
BUILDING A LEGACY
The world has changed, and employees and clients want companies to have a purpose beyond profit. They expect CEOs to listen and stand up for basic values, and every CEO needs to listen to their employees and ask themselves: “How can I help my community, my country, the planet?”. If we do that, every one of us can be a platform for change. It has always been a goal of mine to do more beyond my typical workday and make a difference where I can. I am looking forward to our team helping get our two non-profits off the ground, Project Gratitude and Women in Technology.
We will continue to evolve, build culture, differentiate our value proposition, and build financial stability. All of this will help us continue to grow our people together as a company and a community.
This is much bigger than EVOTEK’s 8th Birthday. This is the 8th Birthday of the EVOTEK community and a celebration of jointly evolving the world around us through technology.