In early January, Usherwood Office Technology announced that Ken Stinson had been promoted to company president. He’d spent more than six years with Usherwood as vice president of sales, during which time the dealership had witnessed a 49% increase in revenues. Prior to joining the Syracuse, New York-based firm, he’d spent 12 years in the office technology realm, including positions with Xerox.
What makes Stinson unique is that he is the first non-Usherwood family member to pilot the organization in its 45-plus year existence. We chatted with Stinson for a Two-Minute Drill segment to learn more about how his background and success in generating revenue may be translated into a leadership role at Usherwood, along with how he intends to attack some rather ambitious growth goals.
You have the distinction of being the first non-Usherwood family member to assume the role of president. Talk a little about what this opportunity means to you.
Stinson: It means a tremendous amount to me. It’s an honor. It’s incredible when I think of Charlie Usherwood Sr. and the entrepreneurial spirit it took to start this company with his wife Carol back in 1976 out of a converted convent where his family lived. Then Lou Usherwood, along with his brother, Charlie, continued that spirit when Lou purchased the company from his father in the `90s. Lou’s bold vision for growth and the future of Usherwood, along with Charlie’s technical expertise, took the company from one location in Syracuse, New York, to being a northeast regional power covering 18 markets over seven states. So to be entrusted as the first non-Usherwood to hold the role of president is a responsibility I find genuinely humbling.
What are your personal goals for your first year at the helm, and what are you hoping to accomplish as a company?
Stinson: This year is about investing in the continued growth of the business. That means continuing to add great people in every area of our business. Our people are our greatest asset at Usherwood, and we need to continue cultivating an environment of teams working together with the singular goal of thrilling our clients. As others within our industry pull back support and services, we want to double down on providing world-class support and technology and services that secure our clients’ technology infrastructures and advance their employees’ productivity.
During your six years as the vice president of sales capacity, company revenues grew 49%. What were some of the growth keys?
Stinson: First and foremost, a fantastic leadership team of Lou, Charlie, and Lindsay Usherwood, and my partners Cliff Laws, COO, and Andrew Flamik, CFO. They are an amazing team. As a result of Lou’s courage to move bold and cold into the New England market, we grew from seven to 18 branches covering seven states in just four years. In addition, we created five distinct regions with an investment in regional managers for sales and service to lead these areas. Combined with our continued focus on growing our technology offering to our clients and ongoing investment in our people, these have been a big reason for our growth.
CEO Lou Usherwood aspires to double revenues over the next five years. What is it going to take to make that a reality?
Stinson: Every member of our team works together every day to provide the highest level of support and service to our clients that entrust us to keep their business’s infrastructure safe and productive. We must continue to grow our managed IT services offering as it will continue to be a significant growth area for Usherwood as we move forward. We will also continue to be an aggressive growth company adding geography, branches and employees. We plan to do this organically, but we are also always open to the right acquisition opportunities. We look for companies that complement our offering and share Usherwood’s core values.