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Rochester Top 100: Tech firm still expanding after 30 years

Rochester Business Journal
March 14, 2014

Entre Computer Services is pushing its growth nationally and abroad. (Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

Entre Computer Services Inc. expects $2 million in revenue growth this year—a year after topping the $10 million mark—to cap off 30 years of providing wide-ranging technology services.

The company’s evolution to information technology managed services, custom application development, network services, IT consulting services and computer hardware and software has helped expand its presence in national markets.

With 91 of its 116 employees based in Rochester, the company’s strong ties to the area have helped to propel it forward. Some employees work remotely, with some as far away as California and others in nearby states such as Maine and New Jersey. The company expects to add 15 employees this year.

“We do business all over the country, but usually it’s the result of a local connection, a Rochester connection,” said Mark Lucas, executive vice president and a partner.

The company was founded in 1984 and changed ownership10 years later.

Lucas, the company’s first employee, and Andre Godfrey, previously general manager of Computerland Inc., purchased the company in 1994 from the original owner with plans to build upon the 1980s business model of selling hardware and software to businesses by becoming a full-service IT company.

“It was exciting times, but both of us had really come out of environments where we had a great deal of experience,” said Godfrey, CEO and president. “While it was a new venture for us, … we certainly had 10 years under our belt before we had begun this (together).”

The company realized how much potential there was in the business after observing outsourcing in the region, officials said.

“It was a very capital-intense model with very small margins, and we kind of noticed that there were companies, most notably Kodak and Xerox, here in this town that began to outsource IT services,” Godfrey said. “It occurred to us that possibly, if those companies with all their resources and dollars … were willing to do that, maybe smaller to midsize firms would be interested in doing that as well.”

Entre Computer Services has survived and grown by noticing opportunities in what customers say, officials say.

“Your customer is telling you if you’re going in the right direction,” Godfrey said. “I don’t mean to minimize this, but there’s no witchcraft to it. We know it is successful if indeed it resonates with other customers and the phone rings.”

The company’s principal focus is managed IT services. Some 25 percent of its business is in Web applications and less than 10 percent is focused on hardware.

“Companies come to us when the software they’re running internally needs something, whether their own internal reporting systems aren’t quite enough or whether they need to rewrite an application,” Lucas said.

One example of the customer focus is with the application eScreenz, which developed out of a customer need. It now has become a division.

The product allows customers such as Highland Hospital to control the screensavers of their computer systems, providing staff with emergency information or behavioral protocols.

The company has grown from roughly 10 employees in 1994 to 116. Close to 75 percent of the business’s clients are local, with less than 3 percent international and slightly more than 20 percent national.

“We’re certainly not everything to everyone, but we are a number of things to a number of people out there, and I think it is somewhat the diversity of those offerings that has allowed us to stay nimble and move (forward),” Godfrey said.

This year the company has plans to expand to new areas of the country and abroad, officials said.

“We would like to see some of the things that we’ve done in other areas in other states bear fruit for us as well, so that we become more geographically independent,” Godfrey said.

Rochester has been a strong headquarters and continues to provide the talent the company needs, Godfrey said.

“It’s a great community for technical talent,” he said. “We’re always very interested in acquiring even more talent, and we believe our growth will continue in 2014 and beyond.”

Entre Computer Services Inc.
Provider of IT managed services, custom application development, network services, IT consulting services and computer hardware and software.
Founded: 1984
Top executive: Andre Godfrey, CEO and president
2013 ranking: 72
Employees: 116
Location: Brighton
Website: www.entrecs.com

3/14/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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