A Founder’s Story – Taking Calculated Risks

Like most people, I was shaped by my upbringing. I was born into a very blue-collar family. Nothing was ever handed to me. Nothing was ever “free.” I fought for every job I held and worked hard for every dollar I earned. Much of this was learned by watching my grandfather. This was a man who spent his entire career with General Electric and worked his way to the top, running some of their most successful plants. Hard work, dedication and perseverance surrounded me. I couldn’t help but be shaped.

These qualities make up a large part of who I am today. My biggest strength is my drive. I’m driven to succeed and will never give up. I started an IT recruiting firm called AVID Technical Resources in 2003 from my small apartment in Kenmore Square, Boston. Every morning I woke up early, “commuted” to my dining room and began making phone calls. Two months later, I landed my first client. Unfortunately, it was also during this time when I suddenly lost my grandfather. My rock, my inspiration was gone.

Life is full of challenges. However, I believe the true tests are how you overcome them and the subsequent lessons that you learn. In the face of adversity, I used his loss as a motivation. I had my grandfather there with me on every call, each client meeting. He is still here with me today, not only in spirit, but also a 5×7 picture frame on my desk.

I firmly believe that you have to take risks in life in order to succeed. These should not be rash, careless risks, instead they should be well thought out and calculated. When I started AVID Technical Resources in June of 2003, I was taking a calculated risk that I had been engineering for over three years.

Nonetheless, starting a company was still a risk. I only had enough money saved to get me through a few months and did not believe in going to outside investors for assistance. I learned to stretch a dollar as well as anyone and did not spend what I did not have. The result: AVID grew one day at a time. Over the course of the first year, I took every dollar and reinvested it back into the company purchasing each item by its level of priority.

After savings and cautious spending, I finally had enough cash reserve to open the first AVID office in Copley Square, Boston. After six months we “grew” out of our 100 square foot office and “upgraded” to a two-room, 150 square foot suite just down the hall. It was around this time that my business partner, John-Paul Treacy, came on board full-time. We were ready to take on the world.

Three additional office upgrades, and four years later, we purchased a 3,500 square foot office condo in the middle of Boston’s Financial District. Purchasing our own office space, in a city with very few business condos, was certainly a risk. However, it was a calculated risk – we actually reduced our operating costs while building equity at the same time.

In October of 2007 we opened up our 2nd IT recruiting office in Columbus, OH, then our 3rd in the Massachusetts area. Both were calculated risks. Unfortunately, one of these offices failed providing us with a couple of valuable lessons. First, no matter how calculated; a risk is still a risk. Second, in order to build a national IT recruiting company, we need to be on site to personally help train and mentor each IT staffing salesperson tasked with incubating the office.

Since this time, we’ve overcome a tremendous amount of adversity in the technical staffing industry and have continued to take additional calculated risks. When most companies were laying off at the onset of the 2009 economic meltdown, we hired IT staffing salespeople in Q1 of that year. In the IT recruiting industry, the only way to stay afloat during a recession is to have as many salespeople as possible hunting what limited business is still out there. As a result, AVID actually grew in revenue in 2009 and 2010.

Over the years, AVID’s rapid growth in the IT staffing industry has triggered numerous awards and recognition. Every accolade is a direct reflection upon the hard work and dedication of our internal IT recruiters

However, just as important as my accomplishments are the opportunities I have created for my employees. I often sit back and smile when I hear them talk about how they bought a new suit, a new car, an engagement ring or even their first home. As rewarding as the recent company recognition, these stories excite me most as AVID Technical Resources is providing the opportunity for its employees to afford these luxuries and provide for their families.

I think back to making call after call from my dining room table, then our first offices in Copley Square, Boston. These days were long, but full of excitement – an experience that I would not have been part of without having taken risks. Calculated risks.

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AVID (Applications, Voice, Internet, Data) Technical Resources is a leading Information Technology recruiting company. Specializing in placing contract and permanent personnel in both Infrastructure Support and Applications Development positions, AVID has a national presence supporting clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Headquartered in Boston, MA, AVID has achieved tremendous growth since the firm's inception in 2003. This has triggered numerous national awards and recognition, such as being named to Inc. 500 Magazine's list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Privately-held Companies in the US in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Additionally, the firm boasts of having more than 100 five-star reviews on Google from clients and candidates who rave about their experience and interaction with the firm's recruiters.