We honor local owners, tech of the year at annual convention at Lake Tahoe

CMIT Solutions of Boston owner Dave Minker

CMIT Solutions of Boston owner Dave Minker, proud owner of a new FOTY statuette.

We had a blast the evening of April 26 on the gorgeous shore of Lake Tahoe, where a few hundred members of the CMIT Solutions family donned their formalwear for our annual awards banquet. It’s always a fun, relaxing event with a serious purpose: to honor the local owners and technician who have distinguished themselves most over the previous year.

Our president and CEO, Jeff Connally, handed out 12 awards during the Rat Pack-themed banquet (we had an orchestra, Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe impersonators, tributes to Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Peter Lawford and a special treat — a recording of our COO Frank Picarello Jr.’s father, Frank Sr., a great crooner himself). Jeff introduced a brand-new distinction: induction into the CMIT Solutions Hall of Fame. The first-ever inductees were John and Sue Smythe of CMIT Solutions of Everett, Wash., the Pacific Northwest area developers who had a huge night (see below).

The Smythes not only have established their business as one of CMIT’s top performers but have done so while coping with Sue’s battle with multiple sclerosis, which required her to change her diet and lifestyle. Thankfully, the changes have brought her symptoms under control.

Our highest honor, the Franchise of the Year award, went to CMIT Solutions of Boston owner Dave Minker, who has increased his company’s total revenue by $520,000 in the past year.

The FOTY award goes to an owner who has achieved significant growth over the previous year and ranks in the top quartile in revenue among our 128 local owners. It was the first FOTY for Dave, who’s been in our system for quite a while, since April 2004.

“The class of folks who have won in the past are business owners I deeply respect and admire. To join that group and be recognized for it in a public way is incredibly gratifying,” Dave says. “In such a highly competitive market, the fact that we’ve been able to maintain our clients and staff through good times and bad is a testament to the work we’ve put in and the quality of CMIT’s support of its partners. It’s really difficult to find an organization like ours, where people truly care about the work they do.”

The other winners:

Best Success Story: Larry Kerrigan, CMIT Solutions of Cambridge, Mass. Kerrigan negotiated a contract with the local office of Churchill Forge Properties, a management company with offices around the country — then helped broker deals between 15 other CMIT owners and the company’s locations in their areas.

Best Marketing Leadership: Tom Burtzlaff, CMIT Solutions of Columbia, Md. Burtzlaff has demonstrated a commitment to build the CMIT brand; brought a consistent, cohesive message to his market; dedicated his business to the long-term impact of marketing; and seen success over time through his diligent efforts.

Technician of the Year: Brian D’Arcy, CMIT Solutions of Fayette/Coweta, Ga. D’Arcy is an irreplaceable asset to the business, consistently providing excellent support to customers and collaborating well with CMIT engineers. Owner Doug Bates refers to D’Arcy as “the yin to my out-of-control yang.” D’Arcy’s expertise, professionalism and commitment have contributed greatly to the location’s incredible growth.

Managed Services: John and Sue Smythe, CMIT Solutions of Everett, Wash. The Managed Services Award goes to the local owner or owners who garner a significant amount of their total and service revenue through managed services sales, displaying consistent annual growth and a commitment to deliver them to clients. The Smythes earn more than 70 percent of their revenue through managed services and have a client loyalty rate of more than 95 percent.

Momentum: Doug Bates, CMIT Solutions of Fayette/Coweta, Ga. The Momentum award recognizes sustained, significant annual growth for at least three years, demonstrating keen entrepreneurial skill to grow sales and operations evenly and avoid revenue plateaus. Bates drove absolute growth of $260,000 in 2010 and $407,000 in 2011.

Breakout Performance: Eric Baryol and Thor Severson, CMIT Solutions of Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev. The Breakout Performance award goes to the location with a significant increase in gross and managed services revenue in the previous year (minimum 18 months in the system); Baryol and Severson grew theirs by more than 30 percent.

People’s Choice: John and Sue Smythe, CMIT Solutions of Everett, Wash. The People’s Choice Award is voted on by the other CMIT local owners and awarded to owners who have used innovation to reach their goals, stayed active in their communities and collaborated well with other owners. They fully embrace the CMIT brand and system. Jeff noted that the Smythes have followed the CMIT system since their location’s founding in 2006; provided leadership throughout the Pacific Northwest even before becoming area developers; and served as linchpins for the company’s validation process. “No one has joined CMIT since 2006,” Connally noted, “without speaking to (them) as part of their due diligence.”
Tenacity Award: Emory Simmons of CMIT Solutions of South Charlotte, N.C. The Tenacity Award goes to the partner who has overcoming challenges to achieve success. Simmons founded CMIT Solutions of South Charlotte in mid-2008, just as the nation’s economy was souring and small business owners were cutting their spending. Despite the hard times and bad timing, Simmons persevered and is growing steadily, buoyed by clients in the developing health services industry.

Area Developer of the Year: Tony Puzzo, CMIT Solutions of Greater Hackensack, N.J. This award goes to the AD who has increased the number of offices in his coverage area; worked diligently with his owners to drive revenue increases; received positive feedback on the Franchise Research Institute’s annual FranSurvey; and increased the revenue of his or her franchise unit by at least 75 percent. Puzzo, who oversees northern New Jersey and three counties in New York state, increased the revenue of his area by 87 percent and provided consistent leadership in the franchise system and area developer group.
Rookie of the Year: Bob Riesenbach of CMIT Solutions of Cherry Hill, N.J. The award goes to a top performer who has shown consistent growth in revenue, participated in marketing campaigns, embraced the CMIT system and collaborated with their peers.

President’s Award: Shirley Peterson, CMIT Solutions of Fort Worth Downtown. Connally gives this award to the owner who best exemplifies CMIT’s core beliefs: character and integrity; a passionate commitment to clients and a record of keeping them; dedication to personal and professional growth; devotion to family and community; a sense of fun and humor; acknowledgement of the responsibility and privilege of being a CMIT Solutions owner. Peterson displays a great sense of humor and love for her community and travels to Austin every month to talk to new owners in training. Peterson, who opened in 1999, is our longest-tenured local owner.

Local owners also received awards from our corporate partners:

Continuum: Largest Growth Q1 2012, Dave Minker; Rookie Q1 2012, Bob Schwegler of CMIT Solutions of Pennington, N.J.; Best Utilization of Services, Beth Burnside of CMIT Solutions of Erie, Pa.
Dell: Top Revenue Silver, Doug Bates; Top Revenue Gold, Dave Minker; Top Revenue Platinum, Jason Arabian of CMIT Solutions of Central Rhode Island.

Congratulations to everyone who took home their trophies! We’ll do it again next year in Miami! And hey, entrepreneurs — want to join us there as an owner of your very own, bursting-with-potential CMIT Solutions franchise? Download our franchise information report to learn more!