How long have you been with your current employer or company? Many people bounce around from job to job, but not Craig Hollingum, the current Owner and Operator of Micro Com Systems. He’s been with the company for 40 years this month.
Today Craig shares the story of his journey to becoming the owner of MCS and how he helped the company evolve over the years:
The year was 1981, and I was about 2 years into my career in Document Imaging in Vancouver. Back then, microfilm was the only medium. Being the inquisitive type, I wanted a bigger challenge (not to mention more lucrative earning opportunities) so I followed a colleague to Micro Com Systems, then on East 15th Avenue in Vancouver.
MCS was seeking to expand its sales force and hired both of us. I quickly made friends and had the amazing opportunity to meet with new clients all over BC.
As much as I loved my new job with MCS, I was acutely aware of the changing times. Personal computers were starting to become more accepted in business. Cellular phones were still a bit off. They were around, but they were ridiculously expensive (we didn’t really need cell phones as long as we have a pocket full of quarters for pay phones anyway, LOL). New technologies (including digital tech) were gaining in popularity.
As business at MCS picked up over the years, the ownership of MCS wanted to branch out into other ventures. I saw an opportunity to take over ownership of the company and help it evolve faster with the changing direction of technology. But, the bank didn’t jump on board to lend me and a business partner the money to buy it. Nevertheless, I saw the bright future for the business and was persistent.
Despite being turned down by the bank, my colleague and I looked for potential investors who could buy a stake in the business with us. Just as we were about to give up hope, one such investor struck a deal with us for a controlling stake as a silent partner. This local, savvy businessman, mostly stayed in the background while we ran and grew the company.
In 2003, we grew enough to require a bigger facility and bought a 22,000 square foot building on East 7th Avenue, still in the City of Vancouver. We had previously started acquired other local competitors, and a similar company in Seattle, Washington.
In 2007, my operating partner decided he wanted to retire to his property in the Caribbean. In 2009, the financial partner also began declining his involvement. In March of 2010, I became the sole owner and operator of MCS.
This month I celebrate my 40th year with Micro Com Systems, and I’m grateful for the hard work and support of those in the company over the past 40 years. They saw my vision for the company and together we’re on a journey to grow even more in the next 40 years!
Owner/Operator, Micro Com Systems
Micro Com Systems is now located in a 13,000 sq ft facility in the Lake City area of Burnaby and continues to offer digital conversion services to its hundreds of clients. It is both rewarding and ironic that many of our longest-term clients are now having Micro Com Systems digitize microfilm and microfiche that was originally created decades ago. Good customer service at reasonable prices seems to create happy clients that stick around!