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Happy Birthday IT Resource

Friday, November 08, 2013

It was 14 years ago this month that IT Resource opened its doors and welcomed customers. What started as two partners working from a small west Michigan based office has turned into a full scale operation with over 20 employees, each of whom possess a wide variety of certifications in a number of technology fields.

We've partnered with some of the best companies in the tech industry: Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, EMC, and HP, just to name a few. And while we've grown, built, and migrated over the years, the one thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to our customers. Because of your loyal support, we've been able to flourish, and for that we thank you.

We're looking forward to a long lasting relationship with each and every customer and friend who made this possible. Here's to another 14 great years!

Tee Time

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our annual golf outing took place last week and as usual, we had a fantastic showing of customers, friends, and vendors there to join in the fun.

Deidra McClelland of The Skye Group and It Resource's Molly Reid are ready to get started.

Justin Graeff and Carrie Borchers prepare to head out.

Golfers listen to a few announcements by Gary and Leo  - don't forget to look for the prize holes, and as always...have fun!

Tim Felstead looks forward to a day on the course and Andrew Watson gets the job of sitting on hole 17 to be a witness in case anyone makes a hole-in-one and wins the car from Fox Ford!

A big thanks to our marketing team, Andrea Snyder of STUDIO3TWENTY and Kim Helmers who planned our entire day.

Leo's foursome is beating the heat. Pictured here are Mike Kounelis of Skillman Corporation, Dan CLeary, Leo Reap, and Courtney James of Skillman Corporation.

It Resource's Carolyn Martin wants to make sure the putt goes in so she checks it carefully. By the way, she does make it in :)

Thanks so much to everyone who came out - we had a wonderful time and can't wait to see you all again next year!

Women in Technology: Turning the Tables

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When it comes to women in the workforce, society and the media traditionally place them in nurturing or social fields such as nursing, teaching, or administration positions. With time and a savvy business acumen, that stereotype is changing as we are seeing a shift in women joining fields that are traditionally held by men. June is National Women in Science and Technology Month, it celebrates the roles females play in what is traditionally considered an industry dominated by males.

In the United States, only 20% of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are held by women. As technology begins to take over every aspect of our personal and business lives, it only seems natural that more women would, in one way or another, find themselves embracing the field, and allowing their own career paths to lead them towards technology.

The Tables are Turning
“When I was growing up there was a scarcity of women in leadership and highly visible positions in STEM, other than women teaching science and math and even then, the men outnumbered the women in those departments,” explains Carrie Borchers, Director of Sales at IT Resource. “Today, we have Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard CEO), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo! CEO) and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) all over the news so it will be interesting to see if this plants seeds of opportunity in young minds.”

As more women fall into the technology field, whether it be on purpose, or by way of a happy accident, we will see more of a shift. Amanda Regnerus, Vice President, Marketing, US Signal Company, explains that historically woman have worked in help or service industries. “I'm sure statistically, there are less than 20% of jobs in the service industry that are held by men. As time goes on and we continue to move toward gender equality in the workplace, these numbers may even themselves out.”

Perhaps another reason we see such an unbalance in the workforce is because of the gender roles created by media and other family members. Kim Helmers, Sales and Marketing Assistant at IT Resource explains that if women follow the career paths of other females in their lives (sisters, mothers, etc.) who held positions in healthcare or retail, they may have a lack of interest in the technology fields simply because of what they were exposed to at home.

Is Gender A Barrier?
Being the minority in your field can come with its own set of struggles, but the outcome is directly related to how you handle the situation. Lori Brandt, Help Desk Manager at IT Resource, fell into technology, then followed up her self-learned knowledge with a related college degree in the field. She explains that she feels her degree validates her knowledge, but the path didn’t come without resistance. “I don’t feel that I had many struggles once I made the decision to base my career in technology. Doors were always open to me, but they did not open on their own. I had to make the effort to go to the door and open it.”

Most of the women I spoke to did not see their gender as being a barrier for their success in this field. In fact, a few even pointed out that it’s not so bad being the minority. “When I go to an event or environment when there are one or two women and 50-60 men, it’s a lot easier for people to remember me, as opposed to one of the many ties and flys,” said Borchers.

Along those same lines, Regnerus indicated that she thinks it’s a great opportunity to be a part of a field that is always evolving, growing, changing and continually challenges you to learn new things. “I love the field of technology and don't look at my gender as a barrier.  But, that's just me, I don't really look at anything outside of myself as a barrier to success.”

I began to see a common trend among these women. All successful in their own right, and each understanding the skills it takes to succeed in the workforce. Molly Reid, Senior Account Executive at IT Resource, explains that in a field that requires a plethora of skills to survive, she is happy to be someone that can critically think to handle problem solving, decision making, and  analysis for her customers. “I love to see a client that has a problem, get it resolved and know that the engineers and I helped so that they can focus on making their business thrive,” says Reid.
Abundant Opportunities In An Ever-Changing Field
Whether women are interested in technology in college, or fall into the career later in life, there is always opportunity for them to thrive in this ever-changing field. Catherine Lazarock is the owner of Symplicity Communications, a Grand Rapids based telecommunications company. She encountered a lot of criticism when generating her start-up, but she believed in what she was doing and seven years later she is running a successful business. She recalls how she stumbled upon the technology field and how it changed her career path. “My background was public relations and marketing and a job change brought me to the door step of the technology industry.  I like to think that I was pushed off the cliff,” says Lazarock. “This industry is so exciting, with fast, evolving products and a huge market, what’s not to love?  I literally can go anywhere in the world and sell technology services.” 

Women Can Make A Statement
Given the hurdles and challenges these women have faced, would they recommend this mostly male field to up and coming females? Sarah Van Elderen, Marketing & Event Coordinator, US Signal Company, says young females should not be afraid of joining a field where they are the minority. She indicates the most important thing to remember when selecting a career is to find something you love. Van Elderen says she came from a techie family so she had always been interested in the field, but it wasn’t until she landed at US Signal, which she describes as a “right place, right time” situation, that she embraced the technology field as a career. “I came in as a Pricing Analyst with no telecom experience, and learned everything about telecommunications, network services, and cloud hosting from the ground up,” says Van Elderen. “My biggest accomplishment is more of a general feeling of success. When I look back to four years ago when I started at US Signal, it’s amazing to me how much I have learned and how much I have grown.” But, VanElderen explains, there is a flip side. “My biggest struggle has also been the amount of information I have had to learn. Because technology is always changing, there is always new information to learn.”

While there will be struggles, when you enter an ever-changing industry, Lazarock says “Embrace it!  There are so many opportunities for women in technology. Because it is dominated by men, women can truly make a statement, and quickly, within this industry. Because we are the minority, naturally we are going to stand out if we create a solid niche and move forward with strong integrity.”

The advice and beliefs that each of these women shared was not simply related to the technology field. As successful business women, they all think on a global scale, which translates across many platforms when it comes to advising other young women.

A New Image For “Tech Geeks”
Technology is an industry that’s here to stay, and the image of the lone “tech geek” working in the basement is being overtaken by a new wave of intelligent, up-and-coming people who are paving the way for this flourishing industry. This field is changing the way we think, the way we live, and the way we work.

“The term “girl geek” is actually somewhat of a compliment to me. In recent years, the term “geek” doesn’t have so much of a negative connotation anymore. A geek is now someone who is incredibly intelligent and ahead of the game on technology,” says Van Elderen. “To be referred to as a girl geek would make me feel as though I’m part of the inner circle of technologically savvy people in this era. I don’t think I have reached girl geek status yet, but I hope I’m on my way!”

Carrie Borchers, Director of Sales, IT Resource

Cloud Computing With The West Michigan Whitecaps

Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Join IT Resource & US Signal in the Super Suite at Fifth Third Ballpark on May 20 from 9:30a-2p to learn more about Cloud Computing & watch The West Michigan Whitecaps take on The Bowling Green Hot Rods. Food & beverages will be provided throughout the game.

Plus, drop off your business card during registration to be entered into the drawing for an iPad Mini at the end of the presentation!

On Deck: Registration 9:30a-10a, Presentation 10a-11a, Opening Pitch 11a

*Seating at this event is limited, register today! Contact Kim with questions at or 616.837.6930.

Recognizing the Not-So-Small Business

Monday, April 29, 2013

Did you know that May is National Small Business Month? Since 1963, the United States has recognized small businesses and the impact they have on American culture and economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create approximately two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

When you look into the size and contributions of a "small" business you'll find they're not so small after all. The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) breaks down the size of the business based on the industry. For example, a manufacturing business is considered small if it has 500 to 1500 employees. Other industries are defined based on their sales volume. General and heavy construction companies' annual receipts may not exceed $13.5 to $17 million, depending on the type of construction. Despite the name "small business" you can see that an organization that falls within these parameters has the potential of doing some major business.

IT Resource could be defined as a small business as well, and so could a number of the customers we serve. Regardless of the size of your business, you still need technology solutions that can keep up with and exceed your competition, and give your business the edge it needs to drive growth – all without breaking your IT budget. Our experience with highly technical, large enterprise solutions, combined with our commitment to the small business marketplace allow us to offer enterprise-level results at a cost that even the smallest business can afford. We provide our customers with solutions that are necessary for business operations like unified communications, e-mail & messaging, virtualization, and backup solutions at a fraction of the cost of enterprise systems. Just because you are classified as a small or medium sized business doesn’t mean you can’t have enterprise capabilities.

We not only service a large number of small businesses, but we support them as well. We make an effort to choose local when we have services we need administered for our own business. We support the local communities through donated time and money, and by shopping local. This month let's celebrate the "small" businesses of America. Given the incredible amount they give back in terms of revenue generated, jobs created, and supply met, they truly are the backbone of our society.

Stay Up To Date and Competitive in your Industry with IT Consulting

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Is your business operating at full efficiency and maximizing productivity, or do things seem to be moving at the same pace they always have? Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day operations that we overlook processes and before we know it, there is truly a better way of getting things done. That's where IT Resource can help. We provide professional knowledge and solutions for high level consulting and IT design. If your IT infrastructure is inflexible, lacks security, or has out of date software and applications, we can help. Our certified consultants can offer solutions that provide your business with big data, cloud computing, and increased mobility. 

The goal of our high level consulting is to validate that your IT aligns with your business goals. Our consultants have the experience, analytical skills, and full attention to evaluate any IT incompetence and provide objective advice, all within a detailed design proposal. This will maximize your IT opportunities in order to gain a competitive edge in your industry. We offer a more personal approach and thoroughly investigate each client’s environment until we get the details we need for the best and most successful solution.

Technology is constantly changing, therefore your business objectives are probably changing as well. Often times, system upgrades and new technology can be put on the back burner because of demanding work schedules. Let us worry about your IT while you worry about your day-to-day business. We can support your current IT department for a single IT project, we can take constant control of specific IT functions, or we can serve as your entire IT department and provide continued support. 

Allowing us to provide your IT solutions will result in fewer mistakes and a trusted streamlined process. If you’re building from the ground up, it is vital to have IT representation from the start. This helps guarantee a unified install to maximize IT functionality down the road. While providing a unique proposal, we also limit construction cost overruns, and bring the project to completion on time, within your budget. 

We work with clients not only in the state of Michigan, but also throughout the midwest, including Wisconsin and the greater Chicago area. Call us today at 616.837.6930 - we would be happy to take a look at your IT infrastructure and let you know how you can implement changes to increase productivity, efficiency, and performance.

Energize Your Business 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

One high-impact day. Three dynamic keynotes. Nine hard-hitting breakout sessions. See keynote speakers Dick Vitale, Rebecca Ryan, and John Jacobs, along with IT Resource’s Director of Sales, Carrie Borchers, speak at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Event, Energize Your Business, on May 7. It’s your chance to dress down and gear up with the latest tips, tools, and techniques for revving up your team, marketing your organization, and growing your business.

Space is limited for this exciting event, register today!

Let’s Help Those Less Fortunate

Monday, November 26, 2012

The holidays are a time of giving, and there’s no better place to give than in your own backyard. From now until December 21 we’re collecting non-perishables and personal hygiene products to donate to Coopersville Cares. Drop off your donations at our office. Let’s work together to see if we can collect more than we did in 2011. Every little bit helps those in our community.

Some of our donations from 2011

Open House Celebration!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A big thanks to the many friends, customers, vendors, and community members who came to celebrate our open house! This year marks our 13th year in business and the completion of our office expansion. As members of three local Chambers of Commerce, we were thrilled to have them participate in our ribbon cutting ceremony, making our expansion official.

Here we are celebrating with our friends from the lakeshore, the Grand Haven, Spring Lake, & Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce.

Our celebration continued with the help of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. As new members of this group, we are so excited to jump in and be a part of such a great organization.

We've been long standing members of the Coopersville Chamber of Commerce. In fact, our Director of Sales, Carrie Borchers, is the president of the Chamber. No expansion project would be complete without this group in attendance.

To offer a memento, the Chamber allows you to keep your ribbon and attendees can sign it. It's a nice little gesture to remind us how fortunate we are to be able to continue to grow and expand our business.

As guests began arriving we offered tours through our space. One important area of our office is the data center, and our associates Kevin and Carrie are showing people what really happens with all those servers. In addition to the data center that we house on-site, we've recently expanded our cloud-based hosted and disaster recovery solutions by adding a second data center site operating out of the US Signal Managed Data Center in Grand Rapids.

A group of attendees from the Grand Rapids Chamber stayed around to mingle and see our new space.

Customers, friends, and vendors enjoyed themselves throughout the evening. Our stellar sales rep Molly Reid (second from left) was on hand to answer questions and provide tours.

No open house would be complete without a little support from family. Our Managing Partner, Gary Lutz, had his parents, sister, and brother in attendance.

Our engineers took some time to show our longstanding customer, Gina Otterbein of Northern Physical Therapy, the new space.

Thank you again to everyone who came out to celebrate with us, and for the continued support you've shown our company over the last 13 years. We are truly grateful to have such wonderful customers and friends. Here's to another 13!

Helping West Michigan Businesses Save Time, Money, and Headaches

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Imagine being able to save your company both time and money, and reduce the amount of headaches while you're at it. Aligning yourself with a qualified IT partner can get you just that. When proper IT systems are not in place it's very easy for a company to lose valuable time and money, and not even realize it until it's too late. We often come across businesses that don't know where to begin when it comes to assessing their current situation. Some know they have an issue that needs resolving and others are just looking for ways to upgrade their current system. Either way, we're always happy to come in and help. 

Let's do lunch!

We often set up lunch & learn events to meet with businesses who have questions on certain IT solutions and products. Our technical sales team will determine your needs, educate you on services and products that would make your business run smoother, and show you how the proper IT solutions will save you money, time, and hassles in the long run. These events are simply a learning process. Are you wondering whether virtualization is right for your business? Do you wonder if your current IT staff has the time and experience to take on a large project or if it would be more cost effective and less disruptive to work with an IT consulting team? Do you need the assistance of an IT professional on a regular basis, but don't have the resources to hire them on as a full time employee? These are all things we can help you with.

Some recent projects we’ve done to help customers leverage their IT investment include moving a customer to Microsoft’s cloud based Office 365, reducing their overall expenses on Microsoft Office licensing; we also completed a 17 physical server consolidation and virtualization project which resulted in a cleaner footprint with energy cost savings, and reduced Total Cost of Ownership of physical devices in their Data Center.

Contact our sales team at to set up a time to do lunch - we'll come to your office and learn about your IT systems. These events are perfect for businesses who are based in the greater Grand Rapids, Muskegon, or lakeshore areas, have 20+ employees, and are looking to revamp, upgrade, or increase their current IT systems.