IT service provider eyes new markets
April 26, 2004
At age 24, Jeff Bowling sold his business and considered retirement.
Eight years later, he’s preparing a major push into new markets for Telxar, the Sparks-based information technology firm he launched instead of becoming one of the youngest retirees in the region.
Bowling won’t yet talk about the cities where Telxar plans new offices, although he says they are locations where the company already has a substantial base of clients.
That still leaves a lot of possibilities as Telxar’s list of clients includes about 1,500 companies worldwide about 200 of them in northern Nevada.
For those clients,Telxar provides wideranging package of services.
It develops and hosts Web sites and provides co-location servers for companies that need highly reliable networks.
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For businesses with 20 or more personal computers,Telxar provides 24-hour service.
The company writes custom software.
And it sells hardware ranging from workstations to servers and routers.
That wide scope exposes Telxar to competition on nearly every front, and much of the competition comes from outfits that specialize in only one or two segments of the industry.
Telxar gives as good as it gets in the competitive fray.
In its contracts to provide service and support, for instance, the company charges a flat rate rather than an hourly charge.
And it guarantees that it won’t increase customers’ rates for the life of their contracts.
“It took five years to figure out the financial math so that would be profitable,” Bowling says.
Equally important, he says,Telxar answers the phone.
“There’s a lot of market share available after hours that the 8- to-5 companies won’t take,” Bowling says.
One of the company’s clients, for instance, asks that Telxar update its system at 2 a.m.
on Saturdays, an hour that causes the least disruption to the client.
Because of the importance Bowling places on impeccable service,Telxar doesn’t outsource code-writing.
Nor does the firm purchase space in another company’s data center and rebrand it as its own.
As a result, Bowling believes his company has a dominant market share among the companies it serves in northern Nevada.
Another, less welcome result has been a number of passes from companies interested in acquiring Telxar.While Bowling’s 100 percent ownership of the company gives him an unassailable position to turn away outfits interested in buying Telxar, he worries that a spurned suitor could pour resources in a bitter battle for market share.
The company employs about 20 people at three facilities around the Truckee Meadows.
The upcoming geographic expansion will require five to 10 additional workers in northern Nevada alone.
Some of those new workers may come from a company-sponsored initiative to identify technology-minded high school students and train them for jobs in the industry.
The work with high school students is especially close to the heart of the owner of Telxar because he got his start in the industry as a 14-year-old.
His mother worked for a mining company and told executives her son had sharp computer skills.
It wasn’t long before he was writing software for the company.
In high school, Bowling owned a janitorial company he’s never needed much sleep and sold it when he enlisted in the U.S.
After the army, he founded a mechanical design and performance company that made engines for personal watercraft and motorcycles.
The sale of that company resulted in dreams of retirement for the young entrepreneur.
Technology beckoned him back.
“I just couldn’t get away from it.
I love this business,” Bowling says.
“I found a calling when I was younger.”