I’m Mike Dunham, co-founder of The IT Squad. I’m from White Bear Lake, MN, a suburb of St. Paul. I’ve been earning money since I was a kid. My first job was working for my dad’s office when I was 12 years old. I worked throughout the school year in the evenings and weekends and held jobs throughout the summers. This continued during college as well. After graduating from college, I stumbled into a company that does business consulting for small businesses. It allowed me the vision and experience to see how many entrepreneurs run their businesses. I spent a lot of time analyzing small businesses and helping the consultants in figuring out how to grow those businesses. As a result of those efforts, I went to work for one of my clients (Loviel Computers) as a salesperson and showroom manager. This brought me the firsthand knowledge of the need for sales as well as the ability to manage the expenses associated with running the business.
I took that knowledge to my next employer, Connectivity Systems, Inc. Connectivity had recently received a round of funding and wanted to start up a video division to go along with their premise wiring and phone system business. I was able to build up the department to have several technicians going and blend the practice into the main offering for the public sector portion of the business as well as doing some high-end video conferencing solutions. I also learned here about how important it is for management to stay unified in their vision for running a company. The ownership began to disagree and it ultimately doomed the company as the owners went their separate ways and took their respective parts of the company with them.
My next position was with JDL Technologies, a firm that specialized in the education market, providing networking for K-12 schools. I really had fun with this one. I had the chance to participate in a project for the US Virgin Islands Department of Education’s entire education network, which included VSAT communications, point-to-point wireless data and a host of other technologies that were new to me. I then applied this in a project for PREL, an organization that provides education content to over 200 island populations in the South Pacific. Besides several great trips to Hawaii to configure the solution, it also involved a trip to NASA to witness a rocket launch to have a satellite we were to rent capacity on being launched into space.
While wrapping up my projects at JDL my mentor, Skip Karbo, asked me to join him in building up a little software company from Utah called Altiris. We started out as the first field sales team in the company, cultivating the central US and Canada. We eventually staffed and managed several sales teams as Altiris continued to grow. Skip left Altiris to work with another startup while I continued at Altiris through its IPO and several acquisitions, earning various sales honors along the way.
After working for these several companies as I built up my career as a salesperson, engineer and manager, I decided it was time to go out on my own. My wife Kerry and I started The IT Squad and used it as an incubator for several businesses. We’ve been running these various businesses for the past 8 years.
Our first business was MirrorDisk, which was an online backup and recovery business targeted towards small businesses. We were a little bit ahead of the current “cloud” trend with our software as a service play. We were able to build up a nice customer base and ultimately sold the business to one of our vendors.
During that time, we took the opportunity to start up a consulting practice, helping middle to large enterprise customers implement Altiris management software . We eventually partnered up with a local businessman and named the practice Veloce Group. We grew the practice to include over twenty employees, some of whom were FTE, others contractors. After only a year, our company was acquired by an global company (GSS InfoTech) that was trying to grow its US presence in the Midwest through acquisition. We spent the past two years transitioning and integrating our practice into that firm.
After completing the integration, I took a position with a global security software and services firm to explore implications on security and mobility. In addition, I took on a project helping a manufacturing company integrate four new facilities it acquired. This required implementing all systems for a private MPLS network, upgrading them to VOIP phones, implementing instant communication and other services, migrating and training users and thousands of other tasks.
Most recently, I have been working with some partners to set up a managed service practice for small businesses to manage and secure their technology. I can’t wait to write the next chapter in this exciting career.
If you’ve enjoyed this, please link up with me at my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-dunham/7/b14/834