Monday, August 18, 2014

I have been called a LOT of things...

... but "fascinating cat" has never been one of them until now!

UCG is very pleased and honored that our company was featured in Michael DeAloia's column Tech Czar Talk in the Sunday, August 17 Plain Dealer Business Section. We appreciate that Michael succinctly captured the essence of our 28 year history, and would like to share his article with you. We hope you enjoy it.  - Jim Kandrac

Tech Czar Talk: Reinvention is key for tech companies

Evolution is natural law in life and in business. Evolution weeds out the weak and rewards the clever. This week's column celebrates the evolution in our local technology ecosystem and highlights the benefits of investing in evolution as opposed to fighting it.

Hardware Broker to Managed Services Provider. If you ever get to spend a few moments with James Kandrac of United Computer Group ( treat yourself. Good soul. Fascinating cat and perhaps the least well-known, but successful, tech entrepreneur in this region.

More than 25 years ago, Kandrac founded United Computer and has been the steady hand of leadership ever since. Coming out of college, he thought he wanted to work for "Big Blue" - IBM - but after an internship there he thought the environment might stifle his entrepreneurial flair. He vividly remembers coming home to his wife and 6-month old baby and lamenting his IBM fate when his wife offered up, "I don't care if we live above a bar on W. 25th Street, you have to love what you do." And soon thereafter he launched United Computer Group.

Originally, the company was in the brokerage business of selling new and used IBM equipment to local companies. It was a good business for a number of years but Kandrac could read the tea leaves that foretold hardware companies losing margins and relevance. He then repositioned the company as a national leader in the IBM iSeries. And for many years succeeded. But again, he took thought about the future of the company and a few years ago heavily invested in managed services - back-ups/restores, remote disaster recovery hardware, remote managed IT - and the business is booming again.

Three generations of businesses under the stewardship of a single man.

United Computer Group currently services more than 1,500 companies across the globe. He is now investing in facilities and marketing. He has done well in positioning his management team by only hiring great listeners and individuals who love to solve problems for the company's clients. Every seven years the company must re-engineer itself. It must evolve in the ever-changing, tumultuous IT landscape.

Michael C. DeAloia, author of Tech Czar Talk
Special to the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio