Monday, December 28, 2015 | Virginia Beach, VA
Inside Business Article
Anniversary: Electronic Systems
By: Pete Humes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This story could have easily been a nostalgic tale about a typewriter company that never survived the ’80s. But Bill Kamarek had other ideas.
In 1980, when typewriter manufacturer Olivetti sold its Norfolk dealership, Kamarek bought it with a group of six others. They renamed the company Electronic Systems Inc. and set out to ride the electronic typewriter wave into the 21st century.
It was a short trip.
“I often equate the office technology that we’re in to produce,” said Joyce Chapman, ESI’s director of purchasing and facilities. “It has about the same shelf life.”
The evolution of the electronic typewriter was swift, moving from ink and ribbon to digital displays and eventually full-blown word processing. “As the technology become more sophisticated, so did our company,” said Chapman, who has been with ESI since 1986.
Kamarek knew that the key to future success was staying one step ahead of the curve.
“He was always looking ahead in the industry,” Chapman said. “I can remember when we were still sending typewriters out the door by the truckload, Bill was encouraging – and insisting – that our employees learn about PCs.”
In 1989, ESI purchased Entre Computer Center. “That really launched us into the computer arena,” Chapman said.
In the years that followed, ESI continued to expand, boosted by a dual commitment to customer service and keeping up with the cutting edge. Part of the company’s mission included going beyond simply providing office hardware.
“ESI is positioned very well to be a business partner,” said Jim Haney, director of marketing. “Sometimes that’s overused in the market, but there’s really nobody in the mid-Atlantic that has as broad an offering of solutions.”
Long before there was such a thing as an “IT department,” ESI was building computer networks for its customers and helping them leverage new technology to boost their bottom line.
In 1997, ESI was purchased by Tampa Bay, Fla.-based Global Imaging Systems. The business technology company owns 34 companies throughout the United States. According to Haney, even though they were acquired by Global, ESI still runs as an independent Virginia corporation.
Throughout its 3½ decades, ESI has been led by company veterans who have upheld its founder’s objectives. Kamarek retired in 2001, passing control of ESI to Dan Cooper. Cooper led the company through 2010 before transitioning to the position of executive vice president at ESI’s parent company, Global Imaging Systems.
From 2010, Kurt Schmelz and Anthony Lane worked as co-presidents, until Lane assumed the top spot as president and chief executive officer this past August.
In the 35 years since its founding, ESI has become a local leader in the office technology arena. In addition to providing its core information, document and mailing services, ESI maintains its position on the cutting edge by offering mobile, cloud computing, IT staffing and cybersecurity solutions.
And even though Global Imaging Systems was acquired by Xerox in 2007 and the company currently operates nine offices throughout Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, ESI remains connected to its Virginia Beach community.
“We know our customers,” Chapman said. “We are long-term partners with many of our customers. As their business has evolved, our business has evolved right along with them.”
And as much as the technology has evolved since 1980, Haney is proud to point out that some things haven’t changed a bit.
“Having that legacy and reputation for putting the customer first and doing whatever it takes to get the job done has been a huge benefit,” Haney said. “Our focus is staying nimble, but the heartbeat of ESI is always putting the customer first.”
Inside Business coverage by Pete Humes, full article here.
Electronic Systems, Inc. (ESI) delivers market-leading technology solutions, exceptional service and consulting expertise to businesses and organizations across Virginia. Founded in 1980, ESI is today the Mid-Atlantic region's largest provider of customized, scalable, end-to-end information technology and document technology solutions.
ESI customers enjoy the benefits of a local partner for personalized service, plus world-class products and the most comprehensive technology solutions available today. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, ESI has offices in Hampton, Richmond, Roanoke, and Chantilly.
ESI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox Business Solutions. For more information, visit www.esi.net.