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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Dec. 27, 200112:00 PM EST

Tech firm riding out the cycle

by: Glenn Tschimpke

by Glenn Tschimpke

Staff Writer

When Gerard Mayers started The Technology Firm a year and a half ago, the stock market hadn’t slumped yet, the World Trade Center was still standing in Manhattan and Information Technology was still a hot phrase among businesses. Not that IT has been wiped from corporate “to do” lists and stock traders’ hot tips, but there has been a cooling off lately among all things tech. But Mayers isn’t worried. The 26-year-old president of the fledgling Southside IT firm knows that all things go in cycles.

“Technology is always going to be here,” Mayers pointed out. “Technology doesn’t move backwards. It moves forwards. Just like the stock market is piecing up bit by bit, it’s going to go forward. I think more emphasis on technology is definitely the trend. It’s just on how to harness the technology to really formulate a positive impact on your basic business processes that affect your bottom line. That’s where the trend is going to be.”

That’s the niche The Technology Firm is aiming for. Mayers explains that his company is an information technology consulting and development firm. That could mean just about anything, but he continues: “It ranges from project management to networking to advanced web development and software development and things of that nature,” he said. “We basically come in and assess clients’ short term and long term goals and then we formulate a team and plan of attack for it and we then implement it for them.”

Focusing mainly on small and medium-sized businesses, Mayers and company assess where a client wants to be, technologically speaking, and then makes it happen. Be it basic web site development where a client company’s information is placed on the Internet like an electronic brochure or fully interactive Extranet capabilities in which Intranet functions are extended to external offices and business partners, The Technology Firm strives to improve their clients’ technological capabilities.

“It’s not really just web design,” he said. “The Internet is really moving more toward Internet application development. What that means in layman’s terms is software programs that were running on your desktop can now be accessed via the Internet. We’re talking more advanced software development and more advanced applications running across the Internet platform as opposed to the simple brochure website.

“What the advantage is for our clients is accessibility,” he continued. “The Internet now is almost accessible whenever wherever through hand-held devices, laptop computers, portable wireless devices and things of that nature.”

The Technology Firm is a homegrown First Coast business. Mayers met his two business partners, Chief Operating Officer Ricardo Anglin and Chief Technology Officer Ashley Pierre, while at the University of North Florida. The three worked on school-related projects together, became good friends and talked about future career plans. Mayers worked various IT-related jobs when not studying for his bachelor’s degree in computer science. After Mayers graduated in 2000, The Technology Firm was born.

The three twenty-somethings now carry a staff of five full time employees as well as access to a cadre of consultants to carry out their slogan, “Simply smarter.”

“We’re a young firm, but we are definitely positioning ourselves to be one of the more progressive IT companies in Jacksonville,” he said.

A slower economy can mean thinner wallets for prospective clients, which makes the task of convincing prospective clients that technology is their friend difficult.

“IT can be scary,” explained Mayers. “It’s new technology. Of course, new doesn’t always mean better — but it can be better. When you can harness new technology to do things better . . . that’s probably the biggest challenge is showing businesses and clients how to do things better. Basically I’m doing things smarter using technology to do things smarter. That’s why it was invented. That’s why it’s there. It’s to help us streamline our basic processes better. Our processes can be automated. Conveying that to businesses and having them open to seeing different ways technology can make their businesses run smarter.”

Running a fledgling business can be demanding. Running a fledgling IT business in the wake of the dot com disasters can be scary. But Mayers is confident his way of doing business will pull his company through the uncertain early years.

“We are a young local firm,” he said. “I think our biggest incentive is we really focus on personal service. Because we are young and we formulate teams, we get a lot of input from a lot of different sources. So we’re not one-dimensional.”

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