When I first started in this business 16 years ago, my family would call me a nomad because I was constantly traveling from military base to military base trying to drum up business. Originally, I was going to college for sports medicine, but I left to work in telecommunications and almost immediately, I became hooked. It was a whole-new world for me. I went back to school and became Cisco, BICSI [Building Industry Consulting Service International], and RCDD [Registered Communications Distribution Designer] certified. I enjoyed the cutting edge, fast-paced aspects of IT.
Trison Services started in 2003 with three others and myself. We were basically traveling consultants offering infrastructure and IT services, but we’ve since branched out and have experienced significant growth despite the economy. Last year, we had 300-percent growth without a single sales person and the first quarter of this year, we’ve contracted more than we did for all of last year. In many ways what we offer is unusual, but I always envisioned Trison as being multifaceted and I think it’s what gives us our competitive edge.
Very few companies offer IT and construction services, but when we completed an upgrade for the National Guard’s Regional Training Institute (RTI) we realized that IT and construction can go hand in hand. RTI required a great deal of work, including construction, HVAC upgrades, lighting, and custom-IT infrastructure. As a result of this project, we’ve branched out even further and now have a new specialty-coatings division. It’s a total departure from anything we’ve done before, but once we recognized there was a need for it, we knew it was something we had to offer. These specialty coatings can extend the lifespan of existing structures, so this service is especially beneficial to sites where money can be saved by extending the life cycle of a structure.
Working with such a passionate, amazing team of people makes things a lot easier, but there are still challenges in this industry. Finding qualified talent can be a huge hurdle. We come across a lot of people who have the educational background, but they don’t have any hands-on experience. Textbook knowledge is great, but it’s not very useful without any experience in the field. Working with government agencies can also be very challenging. Contracts can be awarded, but funding may not get approved for a year. The sales cycle is very long. You could put a lot of time and effort into a particular proposal—and that equals money in the business world—but it could be a very long time before you’re actually reimbursed. A couple of years ago the competition was very stiff. Many companies were bidding on government work, but they didn’t have the qualifications or experience necessary to do the job correctly. Thankfully the government is no longer just looking for the best price; they’re looking for the best value.
As we’ve expanded, it’s been a little difficult for me to let loose and delegate. I put my heart and soul into this company and I built it with my own hands. When you see your dreams coming true, it doesn’t always look or feel the way you think it’s going to. Sometimes your expectations for people don’t always pan out. I’ve learned that a big part of this job is finding the right people to put on the bus and helping them find the right seat on the bus. This is a great industry for Latinos, but it’s just a good industry—period. You have to be willing to pay your dues. A lot of what we do requires getting dirty. It’s a great opportunity for anyone eager to learn, but ambition can only take you so far. You’ve got to be a go-getter. A lot of people told me I was wasting my time, but I’m living proof that if you put in the time and the hard work, anything is possible. Don’t just dream—dream big.