Executive Of The Year Award Winner: Rick Kearney

Executive Of The Year Award Winner: Rick Kearney

Selecting one executive among the many many that had banner years in 2003 is, to say the least, a challenge. More than a dozen loved triple-digit growth final year, while it was a restoration period for most. But executive Rick Kearney, CEO of Mainline Information Techniques of tallahassee philanthropist, Fla., additionally had a particularly good 12 months indeed. For starters, his company, No. 90 on this year's VARBusiness 500 checklist, grew by 25 % to $411.4 million. It was the third year in a row that Kearny drove prime-line income growth of $one hundred million or more, lifting Mainline from its 109 position last year.

Moreover, the company, one in all IBM's largest unbiased Premier Business Partners in the nation, picked up a coveted IBM Beacon Award bestowed by the hardware company on its greatest partners. (Mainline was awarded one of Big Blue's Distinguished Blue Diamond Beacon Awards for excellence in the Americas based mostly on its impact on the marketplace, loyalty to IBM and customer-satisfaction scores.)

So, how is Kearney doing it? Simple, he says: "We have determined to go narrower and deeper with [IBM]." Nicely, that and a few other things. Here's his story.

Kearny founded Mainline Data Techniques in 1989. At the time, the corporate centered on quite a lot of hardware technologies from a wide range of companies. IBM, after all, was one of the companies Kearney's company sold. But it surely wasn't the only one. Back then, he felt the model diversity gave his company strength. It wasn't beholden to anybody vendor, and it could supply prospects flexibility. However it wasn't till Kearney determined to concentrate his energies on IBM that the company really took off. That allowed him to accomplish several things: It let him consolidate his gross sales to one company, which helped greatly when it came time to securing the maximum product reductions available and the maximum respect from IBM. The latter helped when it came time to get IBM support on technical problems and gross sales challenges. All of a sudden, Mainline was on a quick track within IBM's companion circles. That led to elevated field engagement and elevated opportunities. Sales growth rapidly followed, touchdown Mainline a spot on Inc.'s list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held firms in America for the previous 5 years in a row.

Immediately, Mainline sells solely IBM hardware. And most of the software it really works with--it sells to four,000 customers in banking, manufacturing, state and local authorities and other markets--is IBM's, too. At this time, the company boasts that it is IBM's No. 1 zSeries Associate, No. 1 Storage Associate, No. 1 pSeries Associate, No. 1 Software Partner and No. 1 IBM Global Services partner. It's also a high five iSeries Companion and a top 5 xSeries partner.

Mainline delivers software, hardware and application solutions, in addition to a comprehensive suite of services. As for Kearney, he has distinguished himself in the Southeast as a capable CEO. The general public he hired within the Nineties to help build the corporate are nonetheless there in the present day, he factors out, which is essential as the corporate continues to expand. Kearney says he couldn't ponder the expansion plan he is currently in the course of with out the muse of a solid leadership staff beneath him. Collectively, they're making an attempt to tell apart the company's providers group, called simply sufficient the Mainline Companies Group and the company's newest venture, Mainline Global Systems. The latter supplies consulting and help to Mainline's growing base of international prospects in Brazil and elsewhere and oversees its growing offshore capabilities in China and South Korea.