UDT, 23 Years Later: Lessons Learned by Gerard Amaro
Twenty-three years ago, Gerard Amaro launched United Data Technologies with Henry Fleches. Back in 1995, the company only consisted of Henry and Gerard, and now the company boasts hundreds of employees across multiple states. Reflecting on the past 23 years, Amaro shared some of the lessons he’s learned.
1. Did you think UDT would grow to this scale when you first started the company?
No, I never could have imagined UDT would become what it is today. Henry and I set improvement goals on an annual basis, such as to increase revenue, improve margin, or better operational efforts. We always set the bar high but I don’t think either of us could have foreseen growing to 300 employees and $300 million in revenue, while we were a very small operation working out of Henry’s parent’s home. Every year we learned from our mistakes, set goals and strived to be better and that drive is what positioned us for future success.
2. What are some of the hardest lessons that you had to learn as an entrepreneur?
I often say that I received my MBA from UDT because starting a business and growing throughout the past 23 years has come with invaluable experience. However, many of the hardest lessons I’ve learned center around people. I believe that there are people that exist in the business community that truly believe it is nothing more than a competition. I never bought into the notion that business is only a win or lose situation. I believe a successful business is about building relationships to earn the trust of your partners, creditors, and most importantly your customers. In order to build these relationships, you must be conscious of everyone’s best interest and keep others’ needs top of mind. Henry and I also apply this philosophy to the ‘family first’ culture we built inside of UDT. We are very careful during the hiring process because we understand that great people are the backbone of UDT and hiring someone who does not share our values may be problematic.
Another lesson I’ve learned centers around communication. It is important to keep your employees happy and their workload manageable to avoid burnout. As leaders, we need to be sure our employees are comfortable communicating with us if they find themselves overwhelmed or overworked because it is imperative to retain great people and continue to better our company culture.
3. How do you see UDT continuing to transform?
More services, more services, more services! With that said, UDT will continue to get better every day. We will continue to improve our processes, systems, organization, marketing and messaging in support of becoming a leader in our region.
4. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to move into the tech space?
If you’re going into the tech industry, build a strong services company with a focus on recurring revenue (cloud, managed, secure). Nothing valuable comes easy, so remember to work hard and smart to ensure you maintain a sound work-life balance and always make time for your family.
5. What is your favorite memory of the early days of UDT?
One of my fondest memories of the early days at UDT is pulling all-nighters with Henry, working on big deals … then finding out we’ve won! With a larger staff, comes less all-nighters but I still smile thinking about those days.
6. What is your ‘I made it’ moment?
I haven’t had that one yet but I’ll let you know when I get there!
To read CEO Henry Fleches perspective, click here.