Involta recently added to its management team with the hiring of a new CFO, Jim Buie. Learn more about him and the role he will play at Involta in the interview below.
This interview was recently published in the Corridor Business Journal in Iowa.
After years in the Denver area, what drew you to Eastern Iowa and Involta?
My attraction was to the emerging technology community and Involta's entrepreneurial culture. I've watched the technology talent grow steadily in Eastern Iowa over the last 10 years as the economy diversified through innovation. Involta has been a leading player along the way helping build this exciting ecosystem of technology that's attracting talent, entrepreneurs, and investors from around the country. I am thrilled to be part of the journey.
What will your role be in guiding Involta’s growth?
My primary role is to ensure we grow the business profitably while meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers. To keep pace with the market, it’s critical that we utilize input from both our customers and industry research, data, and analysis, to help guide company decisions. I've been spending the majority of my first 90 days listening to customers and collecting data. This information is challenging us to think about what we can do more of, do better, and do differently to grow profitably and succeed.
I would add that our company growth over the next few years will look like a faster paced version of how we have grown the business to date; a combination of opening new facilities and adding to our service offerings through acquisition are on the horizon. Specifically, we will be expanding our infrastructure with the addition of two new facilities this year in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. These expansions add over 60,000 square feet of new enterprise-class data center space to our footprint.
How does the data center services industry allow organizations to focus on their core business operations?
In the industry, and particularly at Involta, we simplify IT service delivery using a multi-tenant model to provide higher quality at a lower total cost of ownership. We eat, sleep, and breath the business of providing secure, cost-effective, and superior solutions. My best CIO compliment was from a Fortune 500 customer that told me he slept better at night knowing his crown jewels were at Involta and not an in-house data center. Like many mid-market and enterprise companies, his budget would never allow him to build the redundancy, efficiency, and overall quality to match the superior infrastructure of Involta or keep up with technology changes. There's a big benefit from our industry for small businesses, too, as we make previously unaffordable IT expertise and facilities available by sharing our costs across the customer base. At Involta, our team of experts – people who deliver – work hard every day to provide superior infrastructure and operational excellence so our customers can stay focused on growing their core business.
What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
Most people are surprised to hear I've led sales, marketing, and operational groups in my career. I am a life-long learner and have taken something from each of my career experiences that make me a better, well rounded business leader. I enjoy the numbers but definitely have been characterized as an atypical finance leader in that I also enjoy the social and deal-making aspects of business.
What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Every entrepreneur needs to know it's ok to fail. The mistakes and business failures made early in your career are equally, if not more valuable, than the successes. The collective experiences, good and bad, help you confidently navigate the future and provide insight to customers too.
What are your passions outside the office?
During the summer I really enjoy golfing. Thankfully the winter and weekends full of family time at this stage of life spare me from too many rounds of bogey golf. My wife Brandi and I have three boys between the ages of 8 and 13 that keep us really busy with football, baseball, or soccer most every weekend - either practice or tournaments. It's fun to watch them compete in sports they love to play. I will enjoy a good local Iowa craft beer on occasion – especially to celebrate Involta milestones.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
It's hard for me to imagine doing anything else. If I weren't saving to put kids through college I'd attempt to be a ski instructor / ski bum to get a free ski pass. At my age, though, I'd be teaching four-year-old children to keep up and would probably get injured in the terrain park.
Leading by influence is important. How would you hope that your leadership style influences others?
It would mean a lot to me if my actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. It's an exciting time for technology and Iowa!