Thursday, January 10, 2008
By Myron Kukla
The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND — Mike Harris and Mat Nguyen’s computer networking firm Worksighted has grown dramatically in the eight years since they founded it.
Armed with degrees in computer science, business and math from Hope College, the pair started the firm in Nguyen’s parents home after graduating.
The two had worked together on an intern project at Johnson Controls. The experience sparked the idea to start their own company.
“We opened with about $7,000 in cash and credit-card capital. But work started coming in right away and, within a year, we were renting a small office on Eighth Street in downtown Holland,” Harris said.
Eight years later, the 29-year-old is Worksighted’s vice president of information systems. And the firm has expanded its clientele to include firms across North America.
“We started as an (information technology) and Web development company doing network management for small and mid-size companies in West Michigan,” said Worksighted President Mat Nguyen, 28.
With offices in the Lumir Building at 130 Central Ave., the company has 10 employees and a satellite office in Troy, runs a Web development subsidiary and provides networking expertise.
Harris said the firm expects to close 2007 with nearly $2 million in sales.
Last year, the partners spun off the Web development and e-commerce business into a subsidiary called Blue Sky Sessions Inc. That was done to better focus Worksighted’s resources and attention on networking, Nguyen said.
Among its clients are the North American office of the new Hella Behr Plastic Omnium. The Lippstadt, Germany-based partnership HBPO GmbH manufactures components for the auto industry.
“We never thought we’d be setting up plants in Mexico for a German company,” said Nguyen, noting the business link came from work done by its Troy office.
Worksighted is setting up computer infrastructure for the City Flats Hotel being built in downtown Holland by Charter House Holdings LLC., of Holland Township.
“I am a real fan of Worksighted,” said Charter House Controller Bruce Weiderman, who has IT management responsibilities for the firm.
“Because this is a business hotel for business travelers, we wanted the best technology systems we could get and Worksighted-sourced things, like a voice-over Internet phone with touch-screen keypads that could be used for displaying advertising when the phone is not in use,” he said.
Nguyen and Harris both attribute Worksighted’s success to client service.
“Our corporate philosophy is to over-serve the customer and build long-lasting relationships based on trust,” Harris said.
“Almost all of our work now comes from direct referrals from customers who have worked with us and like what we do.”