Yes, 5 years has past… How many 5-year old companies can claim to have over $200M in bookings? How many of those did it without gobs and gobs of venture money? How many of those can claim 4-years in a row to be recognized for culture? Or received over 2 dozen prestigious industry awards? Should I continue? You get the idea…. And yes, that comes from a place of being extremely proud of what we have collectively accomplished.
As I reflect on the last 5-years, each year was drastically different from the last. From finding people willing to take the leap with me, to convincing creditors to bet on us, and to gaining customer confidence, none of the years the same. I always thought that sooner or later companies reach their “normal.” But wow, I hope we never do. This company was supposed to never get bigger than we are right now, but in some circles, there is a belief we are not that far from eclipsing a billion dollars.
WORLD CLASS LEADERSHIP TEAM
Before I get into industry thoughts, I have to highlight how proud I am of our company, our people and what we have built. 5 years ago it was only me, Jamie Shikiya, Ned Engelke & Julian Quintana…then we added Jeff, and then Mari…and saw a whole new level of possibilities. Then we started adding former CISO’s, former CIO’s, former customer executives, Jason Myers, Jaeson Galli. I could go on and on, but any one of our leaders are industry best, and somehow we ended up getting all of them here in one place. Many, many years ago, Jeff Klenner told me, “give me a group of dysfunctional and talented salespeople and I’ll give you a team of 300%.” I could never have imagined how right that sentiment was, looking at how we are going to market.
MAKING A DENT IN THE INDUSTRY
I remember when I was talking to Jeff Klenner about joining EVOTEK. We talked about making our mark and described it as “making a dent in the industry.” When I look at what we have accomplished, no doubt there is a dent! But like reaching the top of one summit, there is always a taller summit. Or specifically, we set out to do what we intended to do, but now our mission has changed. We have an opportunity in front of us to create what our customers need, that doesn’t exist.
INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Did I mention we hired well?
Artificial Intelligence – We just ran our first AI Summit, created by John Hinson, our Director of AI, hosted at Nvidia’s headquarters. Consistent theme from customers that we are talking about AI in the enterprise in a way that oculi help them. Amazing to me, that the vendors in the room talk bout the partners that are selling the AI infrastructure without knowing anything about AI. Crazy to me that vendors with zero investment or know-how on AI. Love that we are leading from the front on AI.
Cybersecurity – We have 3 legit, former CISO’s on staff, Macy Dennis, Matt Stamper, Matt Shufeldt. Taking a program level view of cybersecurity has changed the game for us. Rather than security software, we are helping our customers improve their overall security posture, which in most cases is heavily geared towards people and process first. As our fastest growing practice, we see no slowing in-sight for demand for our advisory services. It seems that every conversation we have nets out a project.
Platform Engineering – Led by a former CIO and Vice President of DevOps, Dustin Milberg, connecting the traditional platform, to modern platforms require in-house knowledge of how workloads work on prem, in the cloud and how they transfer in-between. This practice, positioned correctly, is a game changer for our customers.
Mobility – Led by one of the industry’s brightest minds in wireless, Shaun Neal, EVOTEK is leading the charge on wireless deployments of new construction, sports venues, mission critical hospitals and corporate wireless first campuses. From augmented reality to tracking location and user behaviors, EVOTEK truly is delivering something no one else it talking about.
ENGINEERING THE FUTURE
When we started out, we wanted to reach far beyond pre-sales engineering and came up with the title “IT Strategist,” as I wanted to create a group that spoke with our customers with a hard slant toward strategy, rather than selling things. While the title was creative, it completely describes what our technical team provides to our customers, as partners for our Account Management teams.
Customer relationships have always mattered for me in my career. That is still true. Probably always will be. I can’t say enough good things about the best account managers in the world. Their customers trust them. period. Notice I said “their” customers. Which brings me to my next topic, of how we view our employees.
THE LAST JOB YOU WILL EVER HAVE
How can we make such a bold statement?! We value our people as our top asset. More than that, we view our people as a family. What’s amazing is nearly 1/3 of our employees came from companies that didn’t value them, or at least their behaviors didn’t demonstrate that they care. Doesn’t mean we don’t make tough decisions, but it shows we think through how our decisions will impact our people. In addition, we have since day one shared our profitability with our people.
EVOTEK’s mission has always been to protect a small group of people and their families.
The most awesome part of EVOTEK is we have no outside investors. No debt. No outside interests. This means if we come up with an idea today, we could be executing tomorrow. We have a few things on the horizon, but I don’t want to cloud the most special part of today, as today our tribute is to EVOTEK’s 5th birthday. Thank you to our people, who have been here for awhile, or joined along the way. Thank you to our partners who have believed in us since day one, and those that have joined along the way. Thank you to our customers, who have trusted us. Happy 5th Birthday EVOTEK!!