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Columbia Business Monthly

#9 - Intellectual Capitol

Nov 01, 2017 12:21PM ● By Emily Stevenson
#9 Intellectual Capital
Greenville, S.C.
Barry and Traci Newkirk, Vice President and Managing Partner and President, respectively

Founded in 2003 as a certified woman-owned business, Intellectual Capitol (ICAP) is a staffing and technology services company. The company provides technology assessment, technology consulting, strategic staffing, and application development. ICAP is based in Greenville and has 37 employees.  From that office, they also serve Columbia and Charleston. Currently, alongside helping clients achieve success, ICAP is working to educate and create a greater talent market.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?
Traci: Diversity. Four years ago, we chose to hire people very different from us as owners. This has led to great diversity among our staff and has contributed to a diversity of thought. We allow them to do what they do best and, at the same time, have been freed up to perform our tasks at a higher level.

Barry: Focus has also been crucial to our rapid growth over the last several years. We decided to dive deep with a few key, strategic clients as they took on multi-million-dollar enterprise level IT modernization projects. Our enhanced focus on the top 10 percent of our client community has provided deeper, richer, and more rewarding client relationships, opportunities, and projects. This has been a primary factor in fueling our accelerated growth curve.

What do you see as your company’s greatest opportunities in the future?
Barry: We are embarking on a strategic goal of opening new geographic markets and new vertical markets within the IT sector. We are moving into becoming a true regional player in the IT services sector and are currently working on projects throughout the Southeastern United States. We are also expanding into commercial B2B markets that we have not pursued traditionally.

Traci: In addition, we have created a division of ICAP that deals with learning and development and is teaching healthy, performance-based company culture principles. Organizations outside of state government are now engaging our services to teach these same principles. This division has provided us the opportunity to travel all over the United States.

What advice can you offer someone just starting a business?
Barry: I’d say to pray about it first. I’d then say to get advice from a small handful of trusted advisors. Have clients ready before you open your firm. Just do it! The future belongs to those who act and not to those who just think about acting.

Traci: I would add to make sure and surround yourself with people who are strong in what you are weak in. No one has 100 percent of the talent to run a business by themselves. Also, forget going home at 5:30 p.m. and not thinking about your job again. It’s a 7-day-a-week adventure.

What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
Traci: Our biggest challenge right now is the talent market. Quality human capital is rare and we are finding huge gaps in certain skill sets. We have started trying to invest in the next generation by steering them to certifications and educational opportunities that might accelerate and help this issue.

Barry: Another challenge is making sure our clients are successful and that we exceed their expectations each day. Talent is the gas that runs the engine in any organization and our ability to identify, connect with, recruit and place amazingly talented IT consultants is our mission each day.

How many employees do you have and do you plan to add any in the coming year?
Barry: We have 37 employees and we plan to increase by at least an additional 25 percent in the next year.

What is the hardest thing about being a founder?
Barry: Sometimes the old adage applies: “It’s lonely at the top.” That is why being a founder and partner in the business with my best friend and wife, Traci, is such a blessing and a true force multiplier. We can discuss things with each other, know what the other is going through, and know how the decisions we make will affect our team and each other.