想象科技集团 Partners Succeed Through Friendship and Diversification

September 21st, 2021 by Elizabeth Marvel, Office Technology Magazine

Chad Schwartz, founder, and Rudy Parga, CEO

A strong partnership defines the relationship between Chad Schwartz and Rudy Parga, co-owners of BTA member dealership 想象科技集团 (ITG), 总部设在钱德勒, 亚利桑那州. Schwartz founded the company in April 2010, and Parga, who also serves as CEO, joined ITG in 2018. Schwartz and Parga have very different backgrounds, but each brings special expertise to the table that has contributed to the dealership’s success.

施瓦茨选择了一条更常见的道路, first working as a dealership service manager and then as a sales rep. “25年前, I had no industry experience; I didn’t know much about the industry at all,”施瓦兹说. “I applied to be a service manager at a firm called Copy Brothers and I got hired ... 处理P&我的责任. I had just gotten out of 业务 school and knew nothing. I didn’t even know how to run a copier. Looking back, it seems crazy, but that’s where I started.

“I was young and most of my friends were in sales, so I saw the income they were making and I thought: ‘There’s no reason I can’t do that’,”施瓦兹继续说. “So after a couple of years as service manager, I moved into sales and I loved it. I was making great money and I was having fun, and then our company was sold. It wasn’t that it was bad, it was just different after that and I became a little disenfranchised ... One of my sales managers and her husband, who was the president of the company, asked if I wanted to start a 业务 with them,”他说. “We ended up doing it and started our dealership in 2006. We grew pretty rapidly — from $0 to $8 million to $9 million in three years, all organically.”

In 2009, Schwartz sold his shares in his first company and partnered with the owner he worked for at the beginning of his career to start ITG. “We started with very little money and no base — zero customers,”施瓦兹说. “CQ9传奇没有网站. CQ9传奇的门上没有牌子. We were working on a shoestring budget. 大概是1美元.8 million in our first year and $2.CQ9传奇的第二年是800万. By year five, we were at about $5.500万到600万美元, and that’s where it started to turn a little bit, where instead of panicking every payroll and just grinding harder, it started to get at tiny bit easier.”

在这一点上, Schwartz thought about buying out his partner, as he wanted to do more with the dealership. 幸运的是, a conversation with Parga (who knew very little about the office 技术 industry at the time, but had worked with many 业务es in his 20-year career as a trial attorney) spurred him on. “Rudy was a litigation attorney here in town and ran one of the largest law firms in 亚利桑那州 that happened to represent my dealership,”施瓦兹说. “I knew him through that relationship, and we were also on some boards and in some 业务 groups together.”

During Parga’s law career, he dealt with many 业务-related issues in the courtroom. “A lot of the issues I used to represent clients in involved helping them secure and protect their confidential information,”Parga说, connecting his experience to the office 技术 industry. He also helped develop a new 业务 within the firm that did document review for companies in very large litigation cases; it grew to become a $16-million subset of the firm. “I happened to be at lunch with Rudy one day and I said, “你知道, 我只是挣扎,”施瓦兹说. “‘I think we can really blow this thing up to the next level, but I have a partner ... and I feel like my hands are tied, but he is willing to be bought out. 我只需要把它做完.’

“I wasn’t really asking him to join me — I had no idea he’d want to do something like that — but he said, “我感兴趣的,”施瓦兹继续. “So we spent eight or nine months creating a plan and negotiating with my partner. We ended up with a two- to three-year plan to buy him out, which we did.”

In April 2018, Parga joined ITG as CEO and co-owner when the pair bought out Schwartz’ partner. The partnership has been a perfect match since. “鲁迪的人脉非常广, we share a lot of the same philosophies and we’re good friends,”施瓦兹说. “We really just mesh as far as our decision making, CQ9传奇相信, CQ9传奇如何工作, and how we feel about our employees and our culture. In my first 业务, I didn’t have those things in my partnership. It really makes a difference when you’re exactly on the same page. It doesn’t mean that we agree on everything, but we work extremely well together.”

Parga agrees, emphasizing their commonalities. “当我和查德相遇的时候, we had a lot of common perspective in terms of our 业务 philosophies and our values. We both like building and creating things ... When we met for lunch and he was discussing what he was building and creating, CQ9传奇俩都有这种感觉, 从CQ9传奇不同的角度来看, the future of the office 技术 dealership was one in which the dealership could be diversified and offer a platform that allowed 业务es to have a one-stop shop where they could receive solutions from the imaging side, as well as other types of equipment solutions, but also get solutions from the cybersecurity and 管理服务 side ... What we’ve really tried to do is integrate all aspects of our 业务 where our focus is on the security of our customers and clients, but we’re offering an overall solution.”

Once the pair bought out Schwartz’ original partner, ITG’s growth accelerated tremendously. The company went from $9 million in revenue in 2019 to $12 million in 2020. “From when the pandemic started to the end of this year, CQ9传奇的利润可能会翻倍,”施瓦兹说, anticipating the company will end up at around $18 million in revenue by the end of 2021.

而该公司提供利盟, 锋利的, Toshiba and Xerox products and solutions throughout 亚利桑那州, there is much more to the 业务 than imaging equipment — it has diversified into additional areas that include document management, 邮寄设备, VoIP phone systems and IT solutions. “The 业务 environment is changing,”施瓦兹说. “We all know print is starting to slow down, if not retract. So we were asking ourselves, ‘What are the next 10 years going to look like?’ The more we looked into IT services, 管理服务, cybersecurity and document management, the more we realized we needed to get into these areas. We have [about half] of the 70 largest accounts in 亚利桑那州 ... and they’re all spending money on something. So we’re just trying to find more of that revenue ... whether it’s in mailing, cybersecurity, IT, etc.”

One of ITG’s main offerings is IT services, and for good reason. “If you look at it from our perspective — from a 业务 standpoint — if you go around to get an MFP contract that pays you $3,000一个月, 这是很多工作,”施瓦兹说. “你必须雇一个代表. You probably spend eight months working on a deal. Then you get it and you’ve got to buy the equipment. It is just a ton of work to get a $3,000-a-month copier contract. 好吧, 在IT界, any company that has 30 employees or more would spend $3,我签了一份IT合同. 这只是数学问题. If you look at it, where is the opportunity? And where is there less competition? 好吧, 在CQ9传奇看来, 至少在CQ9传奇的市场上是这样, the competition in IT services and 管理服务 is getting stronger, but there are so many companies that are just one guy in a truck. We made the commitment to really invest — and we invested a lot of our own money in personnel [the company has about 20 in-house IT people between help-desk employees, solutions architects and cybersecurity specialists]. We don’t outsource much of anything in our IT department. The guy who built our IT was the head of IT for the University of Phoenix ... He built us a Fortune 500-type offering that we could offer to companies that have 50 employees or 80 employees. It was very costly to get it going, but I strongly feel that we have one of the most robust IT offerings in town.”

“The only thing I’ll add in terms of why we’ve made such a strong pivot and investment: Our world is more interconnected and will continue to be, 在任何行业 ... everything it has — whether it’s output devices on the equipment side or things on the IT side — is connected and everything is on a 业务 network,”Parga说. “We really pride ourselves in being able to have solutions that can integrate all these different functions.

“One thing that’s really good for us in terms of our ability to expand existing relationships as well as grow new 业务 is that we have different types of solutions,”Parga继续说. “A client may be focused on a particular solution, like a new cloud-based phone system. CQ9传奇去那里, we earn the trust and the confidence with the phones, and then pretty soon we’re having the conversation about their cybersecurity, or they’re expanding and need a more robust mailing or imaging solution. We really bring a good offering at the end of the day.”

Parga and Schwartz have advice for dealers looking to diversify. “When we’re out there in the 业务 community, CQ9传奇真的, really good at listening to what our clients’ pressure points are and giving them solutions to those pressures,”Parga说, advising dealers to diversify into their customers’ areas of need.

“Once you get into IT, you start diversifying because you find opportunity,”施瓦兹说. “We got into it thinking: ‘We’re going to do this and that,’ and once you start getting into these different areas, 你的客户开始问, “这个怎么样? 你们能做到吗?’ And you look at these 业务es and ask if they make sense. What we look for are things that our client base is requesting that entail a recurring revenue. Every year we put a list of new technologies together, asking ourselves if we should get into them. I haven’t talked to too many dealers who have said, “是的, we’re thinking light years ahead and trying to do research on all of these things.’ So, I think that’s one of our strengths.”

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