Small Business Person of the Year: Blue Moon Industries; a Pillar of Technological Excellence in Rhode Island

Small Business Person of the Year: Blue Moon Industries; a Pillar of Technological Excellence in Rhode Island

Gary Palardy, President and CEO of Blue Moon Industries, began his journey into business at the age of 17 where he started as a co-op student working for the computer division of Raytheon (Data Systems). Gary credits much of his success to the mentors he encountered there and the success driven mindset instilled in him. He began working in minicomputer design, writing machine-level diagnostic software and software to stress test various peripheral equipment. Gary soon moved into working with operating systems design and development but with the introduction of the microprocessor the market changed. An explosion of opportunity presented itself and required a new way of thinking towards; in was an environment in which Gary would thrive.

By 1991, an opportunity to create his business for selling, implementing, and supporting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems presented itself and he created Blue Moon Industries. Blue Moon was created to provide business software and related consulting and software development services. Most of the product is based in the Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains), a leading midmarket ERP system.

Gary worked diligently building the business while he self-funded expenses with monies earned through his engineering consulting practice. By 1994 Gary had seen enough growth to dedicate him to the new business full-time, overseeing strategy and further growth while transferring his skills to developing business software. In 1996 Blue Moon Industries released its first software module and in a testament to its effectiveness the module is still available today. As of 2016 Blue Moon has developed more than 20 add-on software modules for Dynamics GP, primarily to add critical distribution operations functionality to the system. Their products are in use in over 1,200 companies, exported to approximately 10 countries, and they are considered one of the leading Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) by both Microsoft and the Microsoft Dynamics community.

With all Blue Moons’ success there have been difficult periods during their existence. Like many business the recession in hit them hard. With their primary customers, the manufacturing and distribution sector, suffering such loss Blue Moon found their revenue decreasing by more than 30% (over $1.1 million) with losses totaling nearly $550,000. In 2009, in an effort to reduce operating expenses they were forced to downsize their staff reducing payroll by 30%. The remaining staff agreed to defer portion of compensation for 1-2 years to be paid with interest and principals deferred 1/3 of compensation for 3 years. Blue Moon also had to narrow their focus on three key areas to stay afloat; software products for manufacturing and distribution, custom software development, and building more relationships with software companies looking to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP. For three years they implemented this tightened strategy and in 2012 it began to pay off. Gary applied for an SBA 7a loan for $225,000 and a $75,000 Patriot Express line of credit and as the economy strengthened they used the SBA funds to increase their marketing efforts to the Microsoft channel and leveraged collaborative marketing opportunities with larger, industry-leading companies like HighJump, SPS Commerce, and ADD Systems. The SBA funding helped Blue Moon win some very sizeable projects and they leverage growing profits into carefully hiring consulting and software engineering resources.

When Gary is not helming Blue Moon Industries he volunteers as a coach for youth hockey and baseball (10 years for each sport), clocking about 300 hours each year to practice, games, and preparation. Gary also sits on the North Smithfield Planning Board, having served two years thus far. He was recently elected as the Chairman of that board and has also submitted his name for consideration in the town’s Parks and Recreation Board. Gary has previously been on the Advisory Board to Rhode Island College’s School of Management to which Blue Moon maintains a relationship in support of their internship program. Gary has also shared his services with the Advisory board to Rhode College’s Computer Science Department for approximately 10 years and provides advice on curriculum content and structure, their internship program, and reviewing senior projects.

For his demonstrated success, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Gary Palardy, President and CEO of Blue Moon Industries, as the 2017 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year.

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