The Vancouver company promises individual solutions and personalized service
VANCOUVER — If you want to start a business, even out of your own home, these days you’re going to need to deal with technology. If you’re opening a store, there’s the Point of Sale interface (often lovingly referred to as the PoS). If you have more than a handful of employees, odds are you’re going to want them linked up in some way.
“Everybody has somebody that does it. It may be the owner’s kid, it may be a company such as Phoenix Technologies, or it may be IBM,” says Walter Yeaw, founder and CEO of Phoenix Technology Incorporated, an IT solutions company in Vancouver. “Somebody is providing support for that organization, because they can’t do whatever they do without technology.”
You can spend countless hours trying to teach yourself how all of this technology works, or you can pay someone to figure it out for you. But a lot of Information Technology (IT) companies often can seem as impersonal as the computers, phones, and other equipment they install and maintain.
That’s the gap Phoenix Technology has filled for many years..
“We want to be their trusted partner,” says Yeaw. “Just like they have an accountant, just like they have a lawyer. Maybe they have a distributor or somebody that they buy their products from, we want to be the technology partner for that organization.”
Yeaw, who grew up in Rhode Island, said he first got involved in the technology consulting business in 1971. “When I first got involved with computers, only the Fortune 500 companies had them,” he says. “They were bigger than this building, and everything was developed from scratch.”
Yeaw moved from Rhode Island to Boston, then Detroit, Houston, Dallas, and back to Detroit before his company was bought out. That brought him to Beaverton in 1989 where he worked for Cap Gemini. A few years later, when they wanted to move him elsewhere, Yeaw decided to start his own business. That led to the founding of Delta Systems in 1992. Three years later, Yeaw and his wife moved to Battle Ground.
In 2009, Yeaw sold Delta, but two years later there was a default, and he was brought back in to put things back together. That’s when the name was changed to Phoenix Technologies, after the great bird of mythology that is reborn from the ashes. The business, while still technically an Oregon company, is run out of offices along Mill Plain, east of I-205.
Yeaw says part of the reason he was determined to remain in the Northwest, after coming here nearly 30 years ago, is the way business is done. Back east, he says, it’s all about who you work for. “Out here it doesn’t matter what’s on your card,” Yeaw says. “It’s the relationship, it’s the reputation you have that really kind of does it.”
Yeaw adds it’s that relationship aspect that spoke to him. He learned early on in the technology business that actually doing what you say you’re going to do can quickly set you apart.
“Whether it be a letter, or a meeting, or a phone call, or a project — whatever you commit to doing, if you follow through with it, you eliminate fifty percent of your competition,” Yeaw says. “You don’t have to be the brightest light on all the time. What you have to be is always on.”
Phoenix Technology currently has around 135 clients, from Alaska to Arizona, and even one in Boston. But Yeaw says 75 percent of their clients are in Oregon. He’s focusing on catering more to businesses in the Clark County area.
“Our growth will basically continue to be expanding our client base, as well as continuing to penetrate those clients with different sets of capabilities that today they may be experiencing and paying someone else for,” Yeaw says. “It only makes sense, from my perspective, that they should be working with somebody who truly is their partner, that they know, and that they have a trusted relationship with. So why wouldn’t we be in a position to provide that level of service to them, and take one more thing off their plate?”
The website for Phoenix Technologies makes it clear what they hope sets them apart from the competition: providing solutions that are unique to each business, rather than trying to fit that business into an existing software or hardware system. Yeaw says that also comes with a personalized, proactive approach that sees them working to visit their clients in person at least once a month, even though most problems can be solved remotely. “We’re present, we’re asking if there are problems, and we’re addressing some of these smaller frustrations that have a tendency to continue to grow with the proliferation of technology.”
For more information, go to www.phoenixtechnologyit.com or call (360) 433-6930. Phoenix Technology is located at 12503 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Suite 120, in Vancouver.