2011 Rhode Island and New England Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
James R. Lavoie and his partner, Joseph M. Marino, co-founders of Rite-Solutions, a service-disabled veteran owned small business based in Middletown, are innovators in the tech sector that build advanced systems and engineer software, largely of a classified nature for the Navy.
Considered unorthodox by some, they manage their company from the bottom-up, supposing that great ideas are born when everyone – no matter their station within the matrix—has license to propose a new innovation, and all workers share in its birth, development and deployment, or the alternative, its death. An internal stock market of the brain trust kind, Mutual Fun as Lavoie calls it, where employees can buy into a good idea to advance it, or sell a poor one to stop it.
Not unlike the Dow Jones’ version, ticker icons represent stocks, e-mail alerts forewarn, and internal blogs opine and debate the worthiness of each offering. From concept to production, conceivably, those fresh ideas that make it through this intellectual gauntlet cause Rite-Solutions to pursue a new technology, refine an efficiency process, or create a new business or product.
Jim in particular has gained notoriety for his unique approach to small business development and creative thinking, and as a disabled veteran has championed the cause of others like himself – actively advocating for new legislation and policy that affect service-disabled veterans who own a small business.
A Navy veteran, Jim served with the submarine force during the Vietnam era, later using his GI Bill to earn a degree in electronic technology. From there, while working as an electronics technician at Electric Boat, a promotion to the training department led to further technical schooling and an advanced competency in computer engineering.
Lavoie left Electric Boat for Analysis & Technology in 1979, a small, high tech firm located in Stonington, Ct. At A & T he developed his managerial skills and leadership style, which can best be described as “forging new paths” as opposed to following the well paved road. Point in fact, Jim was admired within A & T for his ability to turn conventional wisdom on its ear and to find new, creative, and better ways to conduct business and motivate employees.
Lavoie was promoted to president within A & T of a subsidiary he named Integrated Performance Decisions (IPD). Referred to as the geeks by Jim, his team of software engineers quickly became the cornerstone for innovative thinking within the company.
In 2000, Jim and a small group of associates set out on their own to start Rite-Solutions.
He has leveraged Rite Solutions and their cutting-edge technologies to support the healthcare systems of the active duty military and Department of Veteran Affairs. Through his initiatives, the company provides medical business re-engineering solutions to the Army’s Medical Command and the Department of Health, combining advanced software architectures and applications development to better maintain the health records of service members.
In addition, Jim is pursuing other opportunities to support service members and their families with proposals like the Veterans administration’s $12 billion procurement opportunity where he has formed a team comprised of four other service-disabled veteran-owned small business technology companies combined with other Rhode Island small businesses. The award of this contract to Rite-Solutions could represent a “game changer” for accelerating Rhode Island’s economic recovery efforts.
Jim also participates in Rhode Island Small Business Development Center’s PATH program. Professionals Available to Help (PATH) is chartered to connect successful business owners with others to ensure the future of industry in the state. The program offers free advice and assistance to small business owners to help launch and grow their companies.
Most recently, Jim provided mentoring and support to EVAS, an industry-leading provider of accessible plug and play computers specifically designed for people who are visually, physically, hearing or learning disabled.
For his outstanding commitment to the veteran community, and distinguished excellence operating a small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is honored to present James R. Lavoie with the 2011 Rhode Island and New England Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Award.