IT-oLogy would not be able to provide the events and services that we do without the help of our awesome educational, non-profit, and business partners. When one of our partners celebrates a big milestone, we want to share and celebrate with them! VC3, a Columbia-based IT company providing computing products and services around the country. We caught up with David Dunn, VC3’s CEO, co-founder, and chairman to discuss his time with VC3.
Simply saying VC3 offers “computing services” is so vague! What does VC3 actually do?
We are very excited that this is our 20th year providing IT solutions! VC3 provides a full range of IT solutions to hundreds of organizations including: Managed IT Services, Private Cloud Services, Hosted VOIP, Custom Web Applications, Sharepoint Consulting, and Website Design & Hosting. This year we are launching our first software as a service (SaaS) solution, Cognito Forms …check it out at www.cognitoforms.com.
Tell us about VC3’s start and formation. Why did you start the company?
I started VC3 in February of 1994. At the time I had been working at NCR Corporation which used to be a very large employer in Columbia. AT&T had bought NCR and was planning for staff reductions. They were offering cash buyout packages to anyone willing to leave. I had just had my first child but decided it would be a brilliant idea to sell everything of any value I owned, move in with my in-laws, take the buyout and work for myself as an independent consultant. It’s comical for me to think about now, but at the time I think the extent of my business plan was “Hey, I know lots of cool stuff about computers and I think people would be willing to pay me for that!”
As the founder, chairman, and CEO of a technology organization, what does an average day for you look like?
Hah! There is no average day, which is probably what I like the most about my position. I tend to read business and technology news rabidly every day but other than that, my day can be made up of any number of tasks including: strategic planning, financial planning, organizational planning, meeting with customers, business partners and employees, the list goes on (and of course, there’s always my least favorite item and the one no one told me about – reviewing legal contracts…). I prefer constant change, so this suits my personality.
How would you describe the work environment at VC3?
The nature of our industry is that a) there is continuous technological advancement and b) information technology is so important to our customers that there are no “small” issues – everything is important and needs to meet our customers’ expectations. Employees who excel at VC3 are those who love…and are quick to learn…new stuff, love to teach others, have the problem-solving and customer service ‘genes’, are good multitaskers, and good communicators. We know this can be an intense environment to work in, so we do everything we can to create an open, casual environment, where we relax those things we can control, like dress code, internal communications, and we have fun together through office events and activities, etc.
What would you say are VC3’s strengths, both internally and externally?
Internally, everyone probably says this, but our key strength is our people. We believe we have some of the top technologists in the Southeast, if not the Nation. Our size is a big strength these days as well – our customers have a lot of people at VC3 they know they can rely on. Externally, we continue to strive to offer our customers cutting-edge technologies that provide them the greatest return on investment.
What are you looking forward to for the future of VC3?
We have begun the process of opening up an Alabama office and expanding throughout the Southeast. This will be our first new office opened in about 10 years and we are hoping to refine a strategy that allows us to open multiple offices in other states every year. We are also releasing the Payment capabilities of our Cognito Forms product. Cognito Forms is the first of what we hope will be many Cognito Apps. We think it is great technology and we hope it will be a strong growth platform for us.
Think back over the past 20 years at VC3. What has been the most rewarding experience so far?
I don’t know if “rewarding” is the right term but I distinctly remember the first time our payroll crossed $100k for a month. All I could think of was “Wow, I’m responsible for over a million dollars of annual income to employees…” Of course, the next thought was “Oh s***, I’m responsible for over a million dollars of annual income to employees…”
VC3 has a close partnership with IT-oLogy. How and when did you personally find out about IT-oLogy?
Approximately five years ago I was contacted by Terry Floyd at TM Floyd about partnering with IT-oLogy to manage their data center and the IBM Z-Machine that was being donated by IBM to the University of South Carolina’s Research Foundation. We were already looking for new office space due to growth, so after that initial contact we worked with IT-oLogy and TM Floyd to find space suitable for all three organizations and a data center for the Z-Machine.
Why did VC3 get involved with IT-oLogy?
We fully believe in and support their goal of introducing more people into the IT industry…no matter their age, so the partnership made sense to us. It also gave us an opportunity to be more involved in our community.
What has been the most rewarding part of the partnership so far?
It’s exciting to know that we are an active part of getting more people into the IT industry. I’ve also enjoyed the personal relationships I have built with people at IT-oLogy. Watching IT-oLogy grow and expand into other states is very rewarding, we are honored that we are able to contribute and support their mission.
Finally, we want to learn a fun fact about you! What is your favorite beverage?
A glass of Angel’s Envy Rye…and we will have some to share at our Open House Happy Hour on September 30th beginning at 4:30pm, please stop by and join us!