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From Military Service to Small Business Person of the Year

Gabriel Ruiz, AITC, Inc.

Orlando, FLA. - Gabriel Ruiz, LTC USA (Ret)., President and CEO of Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. (AITC), was recently awarded the 2017 North Florida Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Ruiz was also recognized as the 2016 North Florida District Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year. AITC is a Central Florida based firm, specializing in the assessment, design, and implementation of Information Technology solutions to the government sector (including federal, state and local). AITC is part of the SBA North Florida 8(a) Business Development portfolio and has been awarded over 15 contracts since 2013.  

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses, designed to help them compete in the federal contracting arena. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Visit the SBA website for more information on the 8(a) Business Development program.

AITC has utilized the services of the Small Business Development Center (SBCD) at the University of Central Florida (a resource partner with the SBA). The SBDC provides counseling and technical assistance for free to small business owners, as well as low cost trainings and workshops. Ruiz also utilized a $350,000 SBA line of credit for his business in 2014.

Ruiz has grown his company from a 17 person operation in 2013 to 31 employees in 2016. The company has also increased revenue from $5.4 million to $14.7 million in that time frame. AITC has also expanded from a single location to over 5 locations that service dozens of international customers. The company has expanded to a 40,000 square feet space in central Florida and owns a warehouse that accounts for almost one-third of the space. The company also does business globally including to places like Korea, Germany, Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.

Ruiz started AITC initially to serve as an Information Technology consulting resource to other companies pursuing business with the Department of Defense. Prior to starting the business, he served in the U.S. Army for 26 years as a Communications and Technology Acquisition Officer. He retired in 2006 as a Lieutenant Colonel. During his tenure in the Army, he contributed to IT upgrades at over 100 military installations.

Ruiz credits his success to both his experience and formal education. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon campus, where he received his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and his ROTC Commission. In 1995, Gabe completed his Masters of Science in Information Technology and in 1996 his MBA from Western International University, in Phoenix, AZ. Ruiz is also a graduate of the Army’s Communications Officers Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Computer Science course, and the Command and Staff College.

In 2014, the company faced a financial crisis driven by a 50% reduction in revenue due to the postponement of several key contracts. The company was able to make it through the crisis by aggressively marketing itself and hiring additional staff to help with efficiencies and new contracts pursues. The company also broadened its services to include Audio/Visual,  Medical Simulation, and logistic support. The strategy resulted in more business and a positive net profit in that year and each year after that. The company also continuously improves by obtaining new accreditations and certifications.

Gabriel Ruiz, LTC (Ret.), President and CEO of Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. can be reached at 1351 Sundial Point, Winter Springs, FL 32708 or at (407) 914-2484. The company’s website is www.aitcinc.com.

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