InstallNET's 15th Anniversary
10/21/2011InstallNET's 15th Anniversary
As many of you know, InstallNET began as an idea and fledgling service that was run as a division of Ewing Services. Ewing Services was our local office furniture installation company that was started by my brother, Pat. In 1986, a year and a half out of college, John Dove and I came onboard Ewing Services and eventually took over ownership. We have many stories, funny now, but not always funny at the time, about the trials and tribulations of starting and managing an independent office furniture installation company. When I first started, honest to goodness, I didn't know what a "credenza" was, or a "pedestal", let alone any sort of panel systems.
Office furniture is such a small, close-knit community. We are proud of our accomplishments in those early years of Ewing Services. We had numerous employees that started at Ewing and continued to develop their careers throughout the industry. Mike Spears, with ICI-Maryland, was one of our early employees. He started working at Ewing Services when he was 19 years old. His wife, Debbie, was eighteen when she began as a project coordinator in our offices. Of course they're both "bigwigs" now, but you wouldn't have known it back then. Steve Bonhag worked for Ewing Services for 5 years before he moved on to be a Regional Technical Rep for Haworth. Vince Cellini, Robert Wolk, Reggie Thorne, Herb Toms, Randy Fink and numerous others came through our doors, learned the industry and either developed long term careers in Ewing Services, or moved on to explore other opportunities within the office furniture industry.
Over time, we began running major projects and national accounts. At one point we had over 80 employees and had full time travelling supervisors to handle our national installations. We began to develop relationships with other independent installers around the country, and in 1996 InstallNET was officially born! Don Astin was a supervisor with Ewing Services and he moved down to Atlanta to open InstallNET-Atlanta. Vince Cellini was an operations manager at Ewing Services and he began running projects nationally by contracting out local independent installation companies. Vince became the first official InstallNET employee when we separated operations from Ewing Services and moved to Crofton in the fall of 1997.
In 1996, our first year of revenues for InstallNET was about $97,000, which is now a large month for many Project Managers! By 1998, revenues grew to $980,000 and supported 3 full time employees, Dale Ewing, John Dove, and Vince Cellini. By the end of 1998, Steve Bonhag and Michelle Craig came on board as our 4th and 5th employees. Many of our loyal and dedicated Service Providers have been with us from the very beginning, such as Bill and Melissa Miller with Houston Installation Services, Frank Pyne with Dacor, Mike Teets with Elite Office Logistics, and many others. As I said, the office furniture industry is a small community. We built a family atmosphere that reached beyond our walls by caring for people, helping them grow, and always looking for the Win-Win-Win solutions. Thank you to the many people and partners that have helped shape our company and our industry over the last 15 years.
October 21st, 2011 marks our 15th year anniversary for InstallNET. Many things have changed. Email has replaced faxes. High speed internet connections are now just a standard and required part of doing business. (Remember the old dial up services?) Yellow pages are extinct - you can find anything you want by Google-ing it. "Information" is everywhere, and overwhelming, but "knowledge" is still hard to find through the rubble. We all carry "smart phones", though some of us still struggle with how to use them. Business has become hyper-competitive and continues to evolve, urging us to "adapt or die". Our lives have sped up and work-life balance is a leading topic of business management.
I saw an appropriate webinar titled, "There is No Going Back to Normal." The disruptive changes will not go away. However, there are a few things that have stayed the same...InstallNET's Guiding Principle is "Make a Personal Connection in a fast paced world." That seems to resonate more everyday. Business is about people. Our challenge is to reach out to all we interact with and make business comforting, reassuring, and relevant. That little extra effort is noticed, and is what makes the difference in this "fast paced world". WE CARE.
Our corporate values of "WIN-WIN-WIN", "Open and Direct Communication", "Take Responsibility for Results", and "Continuous Learning" are all based on respecting and appreciating people, and providing an environment where we can grow and help others grow. Thatis what it is all about. And that is not going to change.
Celebrating our 15th Anniversary is a great time for reflecting and appreciating the challenges and successes that got us to where we are today. It is also a time to take a deep breath and look to the future. For many, the thought of constant change is uncomfortable; for me it is exhilarating. We have exciting new challenges ahead in both our business and personal lives that WE have an opportunity to shape. "Social networking", "age of transparency", "crowd sourcing", "collective intelligence", "integration/convergence", "emotional branding", "cloud computing", "mobile apps", and, yes, "business process networks" are no longer harbingers of the future. They are HERE, and we get to play with them. How will we use these trends and developments to shape and change the industry? How will we adapt to them in our own personal and business lives? What will our business look like just five years from now? There are so many great questions that need to be answered, and WE get to answer them!
We have never been closer to achieving our mission of becoming:
"the core service network of the office furniture and facility services industries, based on relationships built on trust, processes that result in industry standards, and integration of technology."
We will continue to use our Guiding Principle, Values, and Mission to help shape our future. By working together we face a future filled with opportunities...to grow, to explore, to change the way business is done, and to help people and companies grow and adapt.
CEO / President
InstallNET International, Inc.