What is now one of the largest managed IT service businesses in the country started out in 2000 as a side project for Corsica Tech Founder and President, Dale Walls. At the time, he was a 20-year-old Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps, overseeing 30 Marines who managed and supported a 2,500 user network. At the end of his military enlistment in 2002, Walls returned to his hometown of Centreville, MD and turned that side job into a full-time business.
Today, Corsica Tech has offices in New York City and Houston, in addition to its MD Headquarters. The company has over 40 full-time employees and manages over 8,000 systems for businesses across the country.
Check out the Q&A below to hear directly from Dale how we got here, where he sees it going, and some things he’s learned along the way.
Q&A WITH CORSICA TECH PRESIDENT DALE WALLS
Tell me about Corsica and how it got started.
Originally, I was in the Marines doing enterprise-level IT. Through some connections, I gained a handful of customers that I would go in and fix their computer and network issues after work. Later, after completing my enlistment with the USMC, and seeing for myself the growing IT demands facing small and mid-sized organizations, I decided to incorporate what was at the time a sole proprietorship.
At what point did you know you had a winning formula with Corsica?
I think it really hit me when we’d attend conferences and could compare our success, size, and customer-base with other providers from all around the world.
It wasn’t too long before we realized that Corsica had more employees, was more of a stable organization, and had a larger customer base that most in the business.
In the past 15 years, what would you say has been the biggest change in this industry?
The biggest change over the last 15 years has been the steady adoption of cloud-based services and the mobile marketplace. Today a business or organization can meet the IT needs of their organization without a heavy financial investment in local hardware or infrastructure.
How do you keep your services current, in an industry that experiences so much change and innovation?
We focus on providing solutions that are solving current challenges rather than staying married to “old ways.”
I’ve seen the failure to be adaptive to change in IT be the demise of both providers and internally staffed IT professionals. IT solutions evolve every 18 months or so and we must evolve with it or get left behind just as fast as the old technology itself.
What is the greatest business lesson you've learned in your years as an entrepreneur?
Once you decide to start a business, your new job is to be a Business Owner. So even though you may be an expert in your trade, once your start a business you have to expand that expertise into all the various other aspects of running and growing that business, such as finance, operations, personnel, etc.
Looking back on the company's 14-year history, what accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the roots we’ve established in our market areas, the positive response we receive from customers regarding our staff and services, and our continued growth each month.
What vision do you have for Corsica Tech 20 years from now?
Really the same as we are now — a service-oriented team providing innovative solutions to our customers’ IT needs. The “what” or the specific services we deliver are going to continue to change, and we’ll continue to adapt. But the “how” won’t. Twenty years from now Corsica is still going to be committed to putting the customer first.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
You have to learn to delegate. And then to hold your team accountable. Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to fail. Like the saying goes, “It’s not win or lose; it’s win or learn.”
How much of an influence does your military experience have on how you built and continue to manage and grow Corsica Tech?
I’ve always considered my experience with the USMC to be a competitive advantage in running this business. I think it’s been one of our key differentiators. As a Marine, we learned to stay focused on the mission, and now our mission to provide quality IT services is our focal point every day, all day.
What qualities do you look for in your employees?
I look for potential, and a demonstrated work ethic. When a candidate demonstrates that they’re ready & capable to learn and put in the work to be an asset on the team, then their chances of getting hired are good.
Why should a business choose Corsica Technologies as its IT Partner?
A business should choose Corsica because we’re an experienced team of professionals, unequivocally committed to the service of our customers. We’ve got a demonstrated track record of being a quality, value-based, caring provider that our clients can count on. We’re not here to SELL you. We’re here to SERVICE you, and that’s the difference.
As a hands-on owner, what do you like best about going to work every day?
I love my team. They’re all just good people who genuinely want to do a good job. I’m very proud of them and the work they do.