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Press Release: Intertech Software was featured in Minnesota Technology magazine. The article recognized Intertech Software's outstanding performance in the Inc. 500 and continued market leadership.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nicole Nash 651-454-0013 NNash@Intertech Software Inc. 500 Firm Focuses on E-Business Scarcely over a year ago, they weren’t on the Internet or even in the telephone book. Today, Eagan-based Intertech Software has made some of the most prestigious “short lists” in the business world. The e-business and e-commerce consulting company has been named to the Deloitte & Touche (D&T) Minnesota Technology Fast 50 (ranking 16th); to the Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500 (ranking 335th in the national ranking); and, most coveted of all, to Inc. magazine’s roster of the 500 fastest growing privately held companies in the United States, the Inc. 500 (ranking 243rd). The client list for Intertech Software includes companies in the communications, financial services, manufacturing, medical/healthcare, multimedia/publishing and retail industries and features such heavyweights as Target Corp., Medtronic Inc., and The United Way. Perhaps you’re wondering how this could be. After all, the scorekeepers require multi-year growth periods: five for the Inc. 500 and D&T Fast 500, three for the Fast 50. (The five-year growth rate for go-e.biz.com is 1000%.) The answer is Intertech Software actually began in 1991 as a home-based, two-person shop. “We called the company Intertech,” said Intertech Software founder Tom Salonek, 34. “We did project-based custom software development for companies that were re-selling our code or using it in some core way to run their business.” By 1994, Salonek’s venture had outgrown its home office, but cash flow remained irregular. To supplement income, Salonek taught a class at St. Paul Technical College. “When I didn’t crash and burn, I thought ‘Gee, the thing about technology is that it constantly changes,’” he said, “and this probably applies to the real world . . . companies will always need technology training.” Within a few months, Salonek landed a corporate client. “That was before instruction was computerized,” he recalled. “I was so nervous my hands were trembling, which caused the image on the overhead projector to shake.” Upon surviving his second training experience, Salonek began renting hotel space to teach software engineering for the fledgling Web industry. Late in 1995, he staged a free event to drive new customers in the door. “I contracted with a friend of my brother’s to do the telemarketing,” said Salonek. “I promised him $5 for every person who came. I was totally blown away when 43 people showed up. In addition to the cost of the event, I had to pony up $215 in commission,” he chuckled. “But, that’s when the business really began to take off.” Meanwhile, the programming side of Salonek’s enterprise also migrated onto the Internet, developing one of the first on-line surveys in 1996. “It was fairly cutting-edge because the concept of self-service wasn’t even on the radar,” said Salonek. “I’d like to say I’m smart enough that I grasped the Web’s potential at the time but I don’t think it hit me immediately.” That may be but Salonek, who grew up on a farm near Watertown, clearly gets it. Case in point: he was one of only 60 selected from a pool of 500 applicants for the 1999 freshman class of The Birthing of Giants, a program for entrepreneurs under age 40 whose companies are grossing more than $1 million. “For three consecutive years you go to the MIT campus in May for a week,” said Salonek, describing the joint MIT/Inc./YEO (Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization) program. “The faculty is a mix of entrepreneurs, authors and professors from MIT, Harvard and Boston College. A lot of the people in my class owned Inc. 500 companies and were doing some pretty cool stuff.” Salonek credits the Giants program for the formation of Intertech Software. “I had an epiphany that first year at MIT,” Salonek said. “Although we had more experience, other companies were starting to identify themselves as e-business experts. I realized the Internet integration and software training businesses needed to be separate, that from a brand and strategic perspective we needed to clearly say this [e-business] is what we’re about.” Soon afterward Salonek spun off Intertech Software. “But, Intertech Software and Intertech share the same location, our philosophies are the same and we leverage each other internally,” he said. For example, Intertech Software employees receive free training from Intertech, while Intertech puts Intertech Software in contact with talented software engineers and, not surprisingly, customers. Of their combined 40 employees, 28 are dedicated to Intertech Software, eight to Intertech and two to both businesses. “Although the VP of accounting and I serve on both management teams, the companies operate independently,” said Salonek, “except for a monthly all-company meeting where we review our ‘report card:’ one side has progress updates and the flip side has our values.” Despite the symbioses, some kinks remain. “Splitting the companies has emphasized work-style differences, so there are cultural issues we’re still working out,” Salonek admitted. “Like any decision, I sometimes ask myself if I made the right choice. But, I’m re-affirmed because people are no longer confused about what we do. We have a clear message for each business, which is important to decision makers — they want to know exactly what they’re going to get.” Where’s the future headed? “Wireless,” replied Salonek. “PCs and cell phones were pretty big innovations separately and now we’re bringing them together. So, when it comes to the Fast 50, the Fast 500 and the Inc. 500, we definitely look forward to a repeat performance next year.” -- Anne Rawland Gabriel

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PCI Entrex
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Minnesota Business Builder of the Year
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