History of ImagIT: From One-Man Shop to Multi-National Corporation
ImagIT has grown so much since our early days. Read our story and find out how we got our name, how we expanded so fast and what the future holds.
At ImagIT Solutions, we’re dedicated to delivering expert technology solutions and reliable services. This was true when the company was founded and we are just as committed to this goal today. From a one-man shop, to our expansion internationally, our values remain: trust, integrity, intelligence, and reliability.
An early entrepreneur
The ImagIT story began in the late nineties when founder Brian Gardner taught himself how to build computers. Brian reverse engineered the family computer a few times to understand it and soon had built his own machine. At the time, Brian was working as a caddy at a golf course in Oakbrook, IL. When the golfers found out that he was building computers that were not only customized but also of great quality, they began asking him to do builds for them. Soon he was making a decent profit, building computers that rivaled the available manufacturers of the time and selling them to businesses in the area. From there, he was asked to build several business computers for a doctor’s office. The office also asked him to set up a print server (there were no network printers at that time), so Brian taught himself how to do so and set that up as well.
“Everything in life is a math equation, people are the common denominators.”
― Brian Gardner, CEO
Brian soon realized that he had enough demand to create a full-time business. In 1999, he founded Imagination Electronics and set up shop in a Regus office building at Oakbrook Terrace. He quickly became known for being tech savvy and soon Regus Oakbrook started hiring him for their IT needs. Eventually Brian’s technical acumen landed him several projects, not only at that Regus location, but in others as well as word began to spread throughout the Chicagoland area of his skills and reliability. Soon all the Chicagoland locations were calling Brian because he had been successful with resolving every issue that arose with their IT equipment.
Throughout this time, Brian continued learning new systems in order to complete the requests he was receiving and his reputation grew as someone who could handle a plethora of IT issues. Brian brought on his first employee, an engineer with extensive Cisco experience. Working together they expanded the business considerably.
After handling IT for the Chicagoland Regus locations, Brian received a call from Regus’ North American IT Manager, Budd Decosta, asking ‘who he was’ and ‘why all of his Chicago offices were hiring him’. While discussing the services that Brian had been providing and the requests he had been able to handle, Budd realized that he could count on Brian and his team to deliver high quality IT services for Regus. Budd ended up asking Brian to officially service all the Chicago Regus locations, one of the first big steps towards a lasting partnership.
During this time, Brian changed the name of the company from Imagination Electronics to ImagIT in a move toward simplicity. The name grew out of our beginnings with Imagination yet looked towards the future and our business focus not just on electronics but on providing a wide range of information technology services and solutions to our clients.
After Brian had been working with Regus in the Chicago area for a while, an issue came up at a New Jersey Regus center and Budd asked if Brian would be willing to help them since they didn’t have anyone available to fix it. Brian accepted and flew out to the center, quickly resolving the problem. Within a short amount of time he was called out to another city in New England to resolve a different issue for Regus. After these jobs he met with Budd to discuss their IT needs on the East coast. Due to Brian and his technicians’ ability to consistently provide expert help, it was clear to Regus that partnering with ImagIT would be a huge benefit. Brian saw the advantages of growing ImagIT on the East coast and agreed to assist Regus with any needed IT work in the area. This was the beginning of ImagIT’s first expansion.
“A good leader walks through every open door but only walks down the right hallways.”
― Brian Gardner, CEO
The Business Takes Off
With one confirmed large client and endless possibilities for growth, Brian took a road trip up the coast to meet with engineers in each major city to interview and find reliable help. Although finding engineers this way was time consuming, he felt it was necessary to ensure that ImagIT would have expert engineers and deliver the quality solutions that ImagIT had already become known for. To this day, we differentiate ourselves by our quality engineers which continue to be carefully vetted and trained. Brian brought on more employees and soon had coverage of the whole East coast from Miami to Boston.
Not long after, Brian saw the opportunity to expand on the West coast as well so he took another road trip through looking for engineers, stopping in each major city for a few days to interview and hire his expert team. With the coasts covered, ImagIT had around 20 engineers on each side of the Mississippi.
Thanks to our relationship with Regus and their expansion, ImagIT had a core client to justify hiring in various markets which allowed the company to grow rapidly across North America. Regus also recommended their tenants to ImagIT, knowing that ImagIT would provide the same quality services that they had come to expect. Once we had an established presence in each major metro we were able to quickly take on other clients and diversify our business. ImagIT grew organically by word of mouth, focusing all efforts on trust, integrity, intelligence, and reliability.
“When I look back there are many people I thank for where I am today. Yes, I provided them with great service at a fair price, but they provided me with much more – countless referrals.”
― Brian Gardner, CEO
Looking towards the future
From its humble beginnings as a one-man shop, Brian grew ImagIT into the global powerhouse it is today. We now have over 400 Tier 1, 2, and 3 engineers in North America as well as an established Tier 1 engineering presence in nearly every country in the world. In coming years, we expect to double our current number of engineers with a focus on our global expansion. We also look forward to departmentalizing ImagIT with multiple tiers of dispatch, procurement, project management, and customer service branch. This expansion of our team will allow us to better support our engineers in the field.
Our sister company, Pronto Recovery and Rentals, helps fuel our growth worldwide as we support their growth in the U.S. By working in different but complementary areas of technology, we can support far more clients and provide a greater suite of services. Similarly, our partner programs with technology companies such as Cisco, Level 3, and Ingram Micro help us deliver solutions for every need our clients may have.
ImagIT Solutions was built on personalized services and partner relationships and we continue that legacy to this day. Our innovative solutions are developed to fit your needs for today and are scalable for your organization’s growth plan. Our team of experts work at the intersection of business and technology to help your organization build for the future while tackling any IT challenges you may face on the way. To learn more about our array of services visit click HERE. Or to learn more about ImagIT, meet our leadership team, and view our competencies and coverage please click HERE.