PROFILE: Susie Glasgow
Susie Glasgow is the President and CEO of Kegman Inc., an Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business and a Veteran Owned Small Business providing high quality Sensor System, Information Technology, and Security System engineering, integration, and installation to Government and Commercial clients. She is a hard working business woman and dedicated community leader and is being recognized as the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Business Center at FIT. We asked her about her entrepreneur journey and here’s what we found out:
How do you define success? Waking each morning, knowing that I get to work with the best group of talent in Brevard County.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business? I started Kegman as a part time, commercial/residential security business in 1999 to supplement our family income. At the same time, I was working for a local, small business that provided government services. Through mergers and acquisitions, that small business ended up in the hands of the second largest defense contractor in the world. With this evolution in business size, from small, to medium, to enormous, so grew the procedural complexity of nearly every business process—often at the expense of responsive customer service. Frustrated with these procedural bindings, I became unhappy with how difficult it was to get things accomplished/approved to support the customer. So in March 2011, I decided to leave the large business and take Kegman to full-time operations by opening a government services line of business. I wanted to be able to provide my customer with what they needed, when they needed it, without having to worry about delays due to extensive managerial approvals. Now I am the approval process! Since 2011 we have grown substantially, from two people working at my kitchen table (generating about $23K dollars/year) to over 14 full-time employees that generated over $1.4M dollars in 2014.
What motivates you? There are two things that motivate me most, my customers and my team! One of the most exciting things about my company is that we can provide our customers with professional, high-quality scientific and engineering services to meet the most demanding mission requirements. We excel at delivering results to short notice requests through agile and responsive business practices, technical innovation, while leveraging our understanding of and commitment to our customer’s mission. Delivering results is easy when you have an exceptionally talented team as I do. I am honored and privileged to work with this dynamic team; I know they give me 110% every day and I am committed to do the same by them. Over the past three years, I have work diligently to provide my team with the best possible work environment, benefits package, and resources available. EXAMPLE: My team visited a customer (Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)) in 2012 in preparation to bid an analog radio upgrade project. What we discovered was that the radios needing upgraded was used in the MSHA Trapped Miner Locating System (a seismic system used to locate trapped miners) and that the entire system was no longer sustainable. So my team bid a replacement analog radio system with an option to modernize the entire system to bring the system into the digital world; “for the same price!” Result: MSHA now has more portable, sustainable, and responsive digital system to use when called on to locate trapped miners.
What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
1. Strong Business Management Skills.
2. Being wholly focused on and committed to the customer’s mission.
3. Surrounding one’s self with Grade-A talent.
4. Networking with other business professionals.
5. Planning, planning, and more planning.
To what do you most attribute your success? Kegman would not be what it is today without not only the Kegman management team and employees, but the folks that believed in us as well. When I decided to bring Kegman into full operation I began by searching for expert Small Business Advice in our community to jump start my company. My first stop was SCORE, then the SBDC at Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College), the PTAC, Florida Institute for Technology Women’s Business Center (FIT WBC) and we went from there. These organizations helped connect the dots between my dream and the knowledge I needed to succeed—all I had to do was ask. As an Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), the challenges were many and the hurdles high—I remain in awe of and grateful to the many exceptional people that helped me tackle each challenge and clear each hurdle. Brevard County is a great place to live, to work, and to start or expand a business. I think it is important to contribute to our community and so I am fully-committed to do the same for other small businesses in our community—paying it forward.