"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" – living by that credo has helped make Ginny Williams the 2011 Maryland Small Business Person of the Year. Williams, Managing Partner and Founder of archSCAN, LLC in Annapolis, Maryland, became a business owner out of necessity. She was just five years away from her planned retirement when her position as Regional Sales Manager at a blueprinting company was eliminated. She had enjoyed a successful career in the construction industry where she had done everything from wallpaper hanging and interior design to reprographics and electronic archiving. She was anticipating a slower pace and more recreation with her pending retirement but suddenly, she wasn't sure what her future held. Then the phone rang.
She received a call from a former client, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, asking for her assistance in turning all of their traditional paper construction plans for their parishes and schools into electronic documents. Four months and 12,000 documents later, Williams had completed the archiving project, creating 12 digital copies of all of the church's records. This process led Williams to the realization that certainly many other institutions, companies and organizations must be in a similar situation. Unfortunately, 9/11 had shown a spotlight on the need to be prepared for any emergency and in those crucial situations, quick and easy access to vital records is critical. From this simple fact, archSCAN was built.
Williams started archSCAN in 2002 from her home and spent much of her time during the company's early stages pitching the concept of document archiving to prospective clients. It was a new concept, but one she was sure would take off. Williams was secure in her skills as a professional organizer and document archivist, but not so sure about running her own business, so she turned to SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business. SCORE assisted her with business planning and various financial matters. Through the years, her counselors have changed, but she has always received valuable, sound guidance on how to grow her business.
The archSCAN concept is elementary, but essential, for anyone who needs to preserve unique historic documents, have access to floor plans and to consolidate large volumes of fragile paper. Essentially, archSCAN organizes the client's documents, sorting similar files and eliminating duplicates. They then begin the process of scanning each document into user friendly, easy access software, bookmarking each item to quickly locate it when needed. The digital files are then delivered to the client on external hard drive, flash drive or CD-ROM. Williams's clients include the Smithsonian Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, American University and numerous private corporations. She also donates her services to Habitat for Humanity and other civic organizations.
By 2009, archSCAN had shown a 69% increase in gross sales. Through her steadfast commitment to high quality products and excellent customer service, she has grown archSCAN to a company that now employs 10 people, working in a 4,500 square foot facility.
Ms. Williams will be honored at the 27th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Breakfast on Friday, May 20, 2011. Awardees include the Maryland winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week Awards Program and the Baltimore District Office's Top Ten Lenders from fiscal year 2010 and Top Certified Development Company from fiscal year 2010. Visit the event website for more information on the award nominations process and this year's event.