This week marks 31 years since my professional career started right after graduating from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Commerce degree!
Thought I'd take this opportunity to thank so many terrific people who have supported and helped me along this awesome journey! Thanks to Carmela for her love, support and always being here for me. Here's to our 26th wedding anniversary in June! To Haley and Syd for their love and keeping things in perspective on what's important along the way. Our family vacation this year was a special one with just the four of us.
Here are some of my favourite highlights to share with you of a wonderful journey.
My first day was April 25th, 1988 at Computerway, subsidiary of Epson Canada. The manager provided a quick overview of the two main computers; the 286 or AT and the 8088 or XT..... and that's how it all started by learning specifications, talking to first time buyers and answering their questions. Not many options to choose from except monochrome screens available with green, white and the latest with amber text.
Around 1994 the Internet was starting to catch on and e-mail was being used first internally and then to the world. The wealth of information on the 'Net was incredible for all of us "early adopters" and it was always interesting to see what most people were looking for. (Hint: it was non-business related).
Joined CCD for 5 years from 1991 to 1996 as corporate sales. It was exciting to see a small company grow over the years. Spent most of the time "pounding the pavement", getting a lot of no's and doors slammed. The consistence and perseverance paid off in the long run.
The Retirement - lasted for 6 weeks in early 1996. For some reason it felt right at that time for a career change. I laugh back when I think about this but it was a defining moment to shape my future. I was so glad when Shawn called asking me to consider joining AlphaKOR. It was a very easy decision to make since Ali, Mazen and Shawn provide the best service second to none.
We were very ahead of the curve in our discussions about websites in 1996 and Y2K in 1997. Most businesses were not ready for either conversation. The early website discussion was about having your company domain name and adding an e-mail address under your fax number. (For the younger readers you can Google "fax machines").
Moving in the fall of 2008 on the eve of very tough economic times was a bit scary. As most companies scaled back, they leaned heavier on us for support. Our team more than doubled in the six years while at our Mercer location.
In the Fall of 2014 we challenged ourselves with purchasing our current location at Twin Oaks, buying CCD and undertaking major renovations to fit our needs. One of my favourite days was June 18, 2015 for our Open House with Mayor Dilkens, Chamber President Matt Marchand and WEtech President Yvonne Pilon took part in the Opening Ceremonies before we cut the "ribbon" to open our 12 000 sq. ft. two acre location!
As we have evolved from humble beginnings in a 600 sq. ft. retail space to where we are today, we truly have to thank The AlphaKORians, for all they do. Your gift of the tree: "4 Partners planted in the community" is very special as it continues to grow at Dieppe Gardens. My Partners, Ali, Mazen and Shawn, working together, pursuing our dreams and aspirations are the amazing guys behind the scenes. Thanks guys for believing in me so I get to do what I love best and tell our story!
Today, AlphaKOR takes care of organizations and companies of all sizes, located locally and abroad. We keep growing and keep leading in Technology with Cyber Security being a hot topic everyone needs to deal with and have a strategic plan in place.
I truly enjoy being involved in a number of organizations and have found it very enriching. Being part of the Windsor Executives Association, WEtech, Build A Dream, WECYAC and being a mentor are a few of my current favourite roles. It is very exciting to mentor at the University EPICentre, St. Clair College and WEtech and enjoy working with entrepreneurs building their dreams. Building our own networking group, the WindsorEssex Circle with Joe Di Giorgio has been a fun pet project connecting many people together to create opportunities.
It is such a great honour when the media and the community recognize our commitment and dedication to service. It is overwhelming when a news story hits and the media calls to interview you as the expert on the subject matter.
I recall going to CBC studios for a news segment on Security Breaches the day the CRA story hit. My Dad called me and told me what a great story it was to hear me talk about the issue. I asked if he understood and he replied "No, but boy you and the reporter talked a lot and did a good job". Thanks Dad, my first mentor who taught us how to take care of people at our roadside fruit stand. Who knew my sales career actually started in 1971!
We have been blessed with many accolades and awards. We always remember where we came from and how we arrived here.
Three of my favourites are: Entrepreneur of the Year, Chamber BEA 2012, Tech Mentor of the Year, WEtech 2017 and Mid-Size Company of the Year, Chamber BEA 2014. By the way, I dedicated the Tech Mentor award to the AlphaKORians who have inspired me to share their stories and all their great stuff they do when mentoring entrepreneurs.
Thanks to the AlphaKORians, our loyal clients, associates, friends and families for being a part of our success.
Looking forward to the next 31 years of this journey and beyond!