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Press Release: Intertech was featured in the Star Tribune's Business section ranked 243 on Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing companies . You can read the online version of the article, ''Fast Companies.''

Intertech on Inc. magazine's list of fast-growing companies Jim Buchta / Star Tribune Friday, October 13, 2000 Success isn't rocket science, says Tom Salonek, whose company's revenue has grown more than 1,000 percent in less than five years. It's a matter of obeying the simple lessons his father taught him as a boy on his family's dairy farm 30 miles west of the Twin Cities: "Be honest. Do what you say. Finish what you start. Show up on time. Say please and thank you." Those principles helped propel Salonek's Eagan-based computer consulting company, Intertech, to a spot on Inc. magazine's annual list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the nation. A total of 11 Minnesota companies made the list, which will be published in the magazine's Oct. 17 issue. The list is composed of privately held companies that had sales of at least $200,000 in 1995, with the rankings based on sales between 1995 and 1999. Intertech came in at No. 243. In 1995, the company had combine revenue of $204,000. By 1999 revenue had grown exponentially to more than $2.3 million. Intertech provides consulting services to businesses that want to streamline their online processes, from the way they deal with other online businesses to the way they handle electronic-commerce customers. Its clients include some of the state's largest companies -- 3M Co., St. Jude Medical Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. -- and some of the smaller ones too. For example, Meadowbrook Press, a children's book publisher, wanted to develop an e-commerce system that would link its online store with its distribution and accounting system. A team from Intertech developed a front-end system, including an interactive Web site that allows Meadowbrook's customers to place orders and track order status online rather than having to contact a call center. Common network connection Intertech also works with clients looking for ways to use the Internet as a common network connection to other businesses and vendors. About a year ago, it started working with Next Generation Network of Eden Prairie, which sells advertising on electronic billboards at places such as gas pumps and elevators. Intertech designed a program that establishes a work schedule for installing the display equipment. The program lets everyone involved with the project know what's happening and what needs to happen next. Chris Theiste, NGN's lead software engineer, said he first worked with Intertech after taking software training classes from Intertech, Intertech's sister company, which provides Web training to developers and programmers. Its revenue is included with Intertech's in the Inc. ranking calculations. "Intertech seemed to be real interested in making us happy," Theiste said. "A lot of companies get the job and they do the minimum to get the job done. [Intertech] took a real interest." Shortly after the company was founded in 1991, Salonek realized he'd have to decide whether he wanted to focus on the business or technology side of the company. In spite of an interest in computers that took root when he was a freshmen business major at the University of St. Thomas, he decided to focus on running the business. One priority has been communication. He holds daily, companywide meetings, publishes a newsletter and hosts monthly staff meetings for all 40 employees. "On a daily basis, if it's good or bad news, we're talking," Salonek said. "If people don't have information, they're going to guess." Rapid growth hasn't affected the ability of the company to serve its customers' needs, said Dave Bailey, technical marketing specialist for Lifetouch Inc. of Eden Prairie, which started working with Intertech in 1998. Salonek's team designed software to be used in digital photo I.D. card machines that Lifetouch uses in schools. "And they were able to deliver on time and within the cost parameters," Bailey said. "And that's an amazing feat." Retaining talent Bailey said that Intertech has managed to do something many tech companies haven't: retain talent. "Their employee retention is a big plus," he said. "A lot of software development companies have huge turnover, so you're not dealing with the same people." Salonek agrees that employees have helped the company succeed. Repeat customers have too, he said. "We're committed to long-term relations with the companies we serve, and we take customer service really seriously. We want them to have an exceptional experience with us," he said. Despite the company's success, Salonek is focused on the future. He's developing wireless communication applications and is about to roll out an "offshore" development team in Malaysia that will take advantage of the time difference by picking up projects where programmers in the Eagan office have left off at the end of the day. And he continues to train other programmers and developers, including his competitors. In addition to the training through Intertech, Salonek teaches others what he does as an instructor and adviser to the University of St. Thomas mini-MBA program in e-commerce. "At the end of the day, it's good to have a strong, healthy community that understands what this stuff is all about, " Salonek said. "When I talk to friends on the Coast, some interpret Minnesota as a flyover area ... but we have smart people, good universities and cool high-tech companies, and if we can help strengthen this local market, everyone wins, and there won't be a shortage of business to go around."

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