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November 15, 2007

Venture's new venture

Here's some from a piece I'll have in print Friday about Rochester-based Venture Computer Systems buying a company with offices in Iowa and Wisconsin.

A Rochester technology firm is extending its reach into Iowa and Wisconsin by buying another IT company.

Venture Computer Systems bought Orion Computer Services, which has offices in Decorah, Iowa and Prairie du Chien, Wis., on Oct. 31.

“It is a great fit,” says Venture owner Jon Eckhoff. “The transition has been remarkably smooth.”

Both firms offer a variety of business technology services and products.

Orion has taken on the Venture name and all of the nine employees remain on staff. The owners, Rich and Crystal Huhn, are acting as consultants as the phase out of the operation.

Venture now has four offices – Rochester, Decorah, Prairie du Chien and Mankato – with 38 employees.
Eckhoff started Venture in his basement in 1994. He acquired the Mankato office in 2003.

“It (the Mankato acquisition) worked out so well, we’ve always kept an open mind about similar deals,” he said.

Now that the Orion deal is complete, Venture is looking at other options.

“We are already in talks with another company in a different city,” says Eckhoff.


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Anyone else remrmber when Response was big in Rochester? "We'll put Venture out of business!" Haha Dave and Bev, you didn't do it. Got tooo big for your Jackson britches, didn't ya.

as an ex Responser', yes, i remember the days...It goes to show that a company that treats ALL of it's employee's well, produces. Not to say Response didn't, but Venture sure has done well. Cudos to Jon.

From what I have heard, Venture doesn't treat their employees "all that well"

lando, that may be true nowadays, but at least they had perks...all Response had were x-mas tours of the owners ginormous house...

lando, I’m more of a lurker than a poster on JK’s blog but I couldn’t let this one pass….As one who can speak from actual first hand experience vs. hearsay, Jon and VCS staff treat employees quite well.

From my perspective, VCS has a great blend of what is in the best interests of the human and the business issues involved, as it should be in today's competitive environment.

In a service based business like Venture – the only real asset you have are the people that serve the customers so if a business like Venture truly didn’t treat their employees well, they wouldn’t continue to grow and be in business for over, what – 13+ years now?

Jon and crew do it as well if not better than any others out there - big or small.

I'm a former Venturite w/nothing to gain so no need think that I'm just sucking up! K?

steve, did you ever get to take their canoe out? for some reason, i found that to be a cool little perk...

well steve...maybe it was nice for you...but Ive heard from someone who works there...

Chad, cool perk indeed, never had to though...I've got my own canoe...

lando, yeah, you're right, it worked for me...but I understand that everybody’s perspective is different so maybe it doesn't or didn't work as well for others. But, I'll stand by my first hand account vs. your "I heard…" account - as well as the aforementioned evidence of continued growth and success…likely a good indicator as well.

If it really wasn't a decent place to be, Venture wouldn’t have lasted let alone grown as it has. 13+ years is an eternity for tech service firms - truly a market where only the strong can survive AND prosper.

With the rate of change in technology you have to be able to constantly reinvest in gaining new and improved knowledge and that takes people and money, neither of which you are likely to have if you don't treat employees and customers well.

I spend all day everyday helping firms similar to Venture from all over the US improve and grow their businesses so I do have some insight into what makes a firm like this successful and being a “good” employer is very high on the list of best practices for successful technology service firms.

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