Sandy Reeser and VC3 want to take IT off your plate
Mar 06, 2019 12:25PM
By Kathleen Maris
By Leigh Savage
Sandy Reeser earned a degree in computer engineering from the University of South Carolina in 1986, and staying at the forefront of a field that moves at lightning speed is one of his favorite aspects of the job. “It changes all the time, so there is always something new and cool to learn,” says Reeser, who is CEO of Columbia-based VC3. “Taking that technology and actually applying that to business needs—that’s where I get excited.”
VC3 implements IT projects and services for commercial and public sector customers, focusing on small- to medium-sized organizations including law firms, municipalities, and real estate firms. He says VC3’s managed services allows these organizations to focus on what they do best—serving clients—while minimizing time and resources spent on networks, security, and other technology needs.
Instead of hiring a network engineer, for example, who may have one primary area of expertise, the VC3 team brings experts to tackle more technology needs at a lower price than hiring full-time staff.
“We also inject the strategic planning component,” he says. “People might just be keeping things running from a technology perspective, and aren’t necessarily being forward-thinking or planning. One of our tag lines is, to the extent you want to be, we can get you out of the IT business. If you’re a law firm, you shouldn’t be spending your time thinking about storage or cloud technology.”
An early start
After finishing high school in three years, Reeser headed off to USC at age 16 and was gravitating toward electrical engineering, but he also loved technology. “I’m fortunate I fell into that world,” he says.
After graduating, Reeser became a manager and IT director at NCR Corp. in Columbia, a global tech company and leading data warehousing solutions provider. NCR had around 30 PCs when he joined the team in 1985 and 1,500 by the time he left a decade later.
In college, he met David Dunn, founder and chairman of VC3, and had worked alongside him at NCR, so when Dunn suggested Reeser join the VC3 team, he jumped at the chance. “I was interested in getting a larger variety of environments,” he says. “There was a lot more to be gained by being exposed to different businesses.” He was excited that VC3 focused on both IT services and application development.
When Reeser joined the VC3 team in 1998 as vice president of systems services, there were approximately 12 employees, and now the staff has grown to 103, with eight to 10 employees being added per year. “We currently have half a dozen we need to fill,” he says.
With low unemployment statewide, it’s challenging to find candidates with the necessary experience level, he says. “It’s easier to find someone who has some exposure to one technology stack, but someone with a really broad, diverse range is very challenging.” The team combats this by growing talent within the company, often hiring interns and then moving them up the ranks.
As a member of the USC Partnership Board, Reeser is part of the discussion about how to prepare students as they move from college to career, and he often finds employees who graduated from USC or Midlands Technical College. “I’m a big believer that if we can get students during their college years, and help them with experience, they can get a little more of a solid footing on what they are doing [and] enjoy doing, and that hopefully positions us to work together down the road,” he says.
During Reeser’s tenure, VC3’s IT services have expanded to include cloud computing services, technology assessment, security audits, disaster recovery services, VoIP solutions, network design, configuration and optimization, and more. The company also offers SharePoint consulting and web design services, which aren’t commonly found at MSPs, or managed service providers.
Cloud computing, or sharing pools of system resources over the internet, is an expanding field, but Reeser said he does not characterize it as a “one-size-fits-all” solution. “It’s another tool,” he said. “We look at each client to see what makes sense for them. Over time, most everything will be there.”
Other key changes he sees on the horizon include lower-cost security solutions for small- and mid-size companies thanks to the price erosion of products such as SIEM, or security incident and event management. “It’s a higher level of monitoring, detection, and response to security related traffic patterns and events, but now it’s one-third of the cost, and will probably be one-third less again,” he says.
Reeser also suggests companies carefully consider whether they need to invest in localized storage, which will soon be almost free to everyone, bundled into applications, with storage-intensive applications moving to the cloud.
VC3 now has clients in seven states and Reeser would like to add eight more states to the list in the near future. In addition to Columbia, the company has opened offices in Raleigh and Atlanta.
One challenge has been instilling the work culture from the Columbia office into the newer locations, but it’s a challenge Reeser is tackling head-on. “We want that same sense of passion and excitement in our satellite offices,“ he says, along with the “service gene” that inspires employees to help others.
“Life’s too short to do something you don’t love doing,” he says. “I want our employees to be excited about what the day holds for them and get personal satisfaction out of helping people use technology.”