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John Lynch of Woolverton Printing Company in Cedar Falls, Iowa, can proudly trace the origins of his company all the way back to his great grandfather Roy Woolverton, who founded the business when he first started providing printed materials to local churches in Osage, Iowa in 1897.
In 1920, Roy Woolverton moved the company to Cedar Falls to pursue commercial printing contracts and also to provide college education opportunities for his children. John’s grandfather William Lynch, married to one of Roy Woolverton’s daughters Cornelia Woolverton, guided the company through its most critical trials after the 1945 arson fire, which destroyed most of the building.
William supervised the reconstruction and had the company back in full operation within five months after the fire. The company continued to grow under John’s father, Richard Lynch’s directions in the 1970s and1980s and Richard still serves as the company chairman of the Board of Directors.
With a successful marketing plan created by Delores Lynch, John’s mother, in 1984, their church clientele expanded. Parts of the marketing plan are still used today, which includes a toll free line for churches to call in orders. Approximately 14,000 churches use this service and place up to 200 orders daily.
Even though the foundation of the company is strongly rooted in the past, the company is focused on creating a successful future. Since John Lynch became CEO and President in 1992, Woolverton Printing Company has seen a significant increase in both sales and number of employees. Augmenting the traditional church product line and mainstay with commercial and government printing contracts is the key to Woolverton’s rapid growth. In 1999, Woolverton passed a milestone by moving from downtown Cedar Falls to its present location in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park. Moving to the new location made it possible for the company to add a six color press, which required additional space and atmospheric conditions. During the move, Woolverton received two Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loans through the Black Hawk Economic Development Corporation in Waterloo. The loans were used for two critical equipment purchases for printing production.
The business has expanded even more since its 1999 move. The company has continued to invest heavily in the latest printing equipment. The 2001 expansion added a warehouse and production facilities for mail order. In 2003, Woolverton also added the fully electronic Internet-based customer integration software solution, featuring new computer to plate (CTP) capabilities, to its printing production allowing full electronic flow of printing orders to production.
Along with vice president Mitch Weinberg and sales manager David Hartley, John and the rest of the staff at Woolverton continue to add to the foundation of success that Roy Woolverton first started building back in 1897.
Kaikor Construction Company, Inc. is a Honolulu-based general contractor specializing in concrete structure contracting, with services including bridge construction and repair, precast installations, foundations, marine superstructure and pervious concrete, a porous, more environmentally-friendly material than the traditional concrete material. Although a well-established company with a 25-year history, Kaikor has remained a nimble operation, successfully navigating the ever-changing business environment and adapting to Hawaii’s unique island economy.
Garrett Sullivan, CEO, has been at the helm, shifting the business’ position and engaging employees in proactive problem solving. With his leadership and innovative approach, the company competes with the larger contractors by focusing on core competency and being a leader in a specialized field.
Focused on cultivating a healthy workforce environment, the CEO supports the Kaikor team by providing tools and training to help them master their trade and maintain a competitive advantage. Sullivan and his employees are involved in community service projects, supporting key projects with Moanalua High School, the Hawaii Foodbank, Kidney Foundation and Hawaii International Child. With 36 employees currently on the payroll, Kaikor is consistently recognized as one of the “best places to work” in Hawaii. Employees also enjoy 401K and health plans and other wellness benefits.
This savvy CEO is also a resource to his industry, balancing the competitive edge as a provider of niche products with the attitude that helping others in the industry raises the standards overall. Sullivan is on top of best practices for his industry and is an active leader in the General Contractors Association and the Construction Financial Management Association, an organization that measures financial performance in the construction industry.
In 2002, Kaikor Construction received assistance from the SBA in the form of a 504 loan to assist in the purchase of their current office and warehouse facility in Kalihi. Sullivan has steered Kaikor through economic downturns, emerging more profitable and reslient each time. Since inception, Kaikor Construction has completed more than 407 projects valued at more than $147,000,000, with on-time delivery every time.
Garrett Sullivan has been named SBA’s 2010 Small Business Person of the Year for the City and County of Honolulu.
It all started with two women entrepreneurs and a 12’ x 10’ foot office. When Barbara Hines and Nancy Froome started SSD in 1983, they were widely recognized as pioneers in the male-dominated software industry. Today, with a third partner, Nick Romano, they are known for their staying power in an industry that has experienced dramatic changes over the past 26 years.
Founded as Software Services of Delaware, Inc., the company now does business as SSD Technology Partners, a name that encompasses the spirit of how the three principals conduct business. Constantly adapting to the changing market demands of the technology sector, SSD held its ground over the years and grew into a $5 million technology firm with 27 employees.
The company provides technology expertise to small and medium-sized businesses, non-profits and universities. SSD’s services include consulting, programming, business continuity solutions, network architecture, management, and maintenance.
The company’s long-term success is deeply rooted in its 26-year relationship with its bank, Wilmington Trust. In the first few years of operation, the partners reached out to Wilmington Trust for financing. Although the bank felt SSD had the products and services to meet the needs of a niche market, it knew it needed a sound business plan for strategic growth. At their banker’s advice, the partners worked with SCORE-Counselors to America’s Small Business, for guidance in managing the business and marketing their products. Through its early years, SSD relied heavily on the sound financial advice from SCORE and other mentors.
As SSD grew, its partnership with Wilmington Trust grew. In 1994, the bank financed a $140,000 SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan to help SSD expand into new markets and offer new services to tech-savvy businesses.
Although programming was SSD’s initial focus, Hines and Froome started offering helpdesk and hardware support to their clients. They hired Romano as a programmer right out of college. His expertise proved invaluable and in 1985, at the age of 21, he became vice president of research and development, completing the management team.
Success came early when the team developed an accounting package for a Delaware non-profit that was later adopted by more than 350 non-profits nationwide. Sales of this niche program contributed to increased profits and the need for additional employees. The company expanded and relocated several times over the years, and today occupies a 5500 square foot office with 27 employees.
SSD overcame many challenges over the years. The dot.com industry collapse in the 1990s forced many of its clients to close or downsize. The business responded by restructuring its operations. The Y2K challenge forced it to discontinue a product that was a major source of revenue. The partners then turned to network integration which led to increased hardware sales.
In 1999, 75 percent of the SSD’s revenue was from hardware sales; today it represents only 10 percent. Consumers no longer need complete systems like they did in 1999. This industry change hit SSD hard, forcing it to once again transform its services.
SSD’s innovative software solutions contributed to its staying power. Its Messenger 911 program improves the emergency response time for volunteer fire companies throughout Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City. SSD’s Axiom software program was initially developed to help Villanova University improve its student record keeping. It is now used by colleges and universities nationwide.
Although these software programs were adopted across the country, SSD remained focused on its original mission, to provide small and medium-sized businesses with technology solutions. The increased need for technical support services and maintenance in the past decade led the company to once again restructure and expand its services into Managed Services contracts.
Giving Back to the Community
The three partners have made community service a major focus of the business. SSD’s employees actively participate in programs that benefit local charities, including the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Delaware Hospice, Wilmington Women in Business, Blood Bank of Delaware, and the Boys & Girls Club.
After the theft of two tractor trailers full of donated food, SSD and several of its vendors donated the hardware, software and installation of a high-tech video surveillance system valued at $10,000 to the Food Bank of Delaware.
SSD’s ability to adapt to constant market changes is a testament to its staying power. But it is its commitment to the highest level of customer service, as evidenced by its client retention rate of 98 percent in the past decade, that drives its success.
From the modest beginnings of a small 10’ x 12’ office, Barbara Hines, Nancy Froome and Nick Romano have overcome many obstacles to build SSD Technology Partners into a 26-year success story with clients from New York City to Alexandria, Va.