To celebrate COSE’s four decade old legacy, we wanted to put the spotlight on those that made it all possible…our members. Here you’ll find their stories and how COSE played at least a small part in their success. We urge you to share your story here as well. We salute you and here’s to the next 40 years of small business success!
40 Years, 40 Stories
Celebrating four decades of small business success.
They’re resilient and growing. In tough times, these small business owners hunkered down and found ways to stay relevant (and profitable). In the good times, they boomed and expanded.
Their stories are different—how they began, their journeys, and where they stand today. But the small businesses featured in 40 Years, 40 Stories, a tribute to four decades of COSE member businesses, share several common traits: passion, innovation and determination.
COSE is proud to showcase 40 of our member businesses at cose.org/40 years. Read about their roots and the roads they travelled to success. COSE helped these businesses along the way by providing business planning resources, health insurance, networking opportunities and the education to help take their businesses to the next level.
FIT Technologies |
Becoming better, stronger, faster begins with efficiency—and in today’s world, that means running technology that helps a business work smarter. That’s job one for FIT Technologies, which partners with organizations to provide managed IT services. For one company, this could mean supplementing an existing IT staff. For another, it could involve taking on IT projects to free up staff so they can handle daily tasks. FIT Technologies also functions as an in-house IT department.
FIT Technologies began in 1999 as a web-based software provider for schools. Then, the Internet was new and students and parents did not have access school information on the Web. Tomallo co-founded SchoolOne with partner Micki Tubbs, and the business quickly grew and expanded into the IT services sector.
“We were dealing with schools’ IT infrastructure, and it was important for us to have engineers on staff to ensure that the staff and students could access the Web-based tools,” Tomallo explains.
The company fortified its service capacity by hiring professionals who worked in the schools, setting up networks and ensuring the functionality of systems, even basics like e-mail. “We grew significantly, supporting more and more schools,” Tomallo says.
Then, the business moved downtown to Playhouse Square’s Idea Center, and this broadened its customer universe. The company was receiving inquiries from businesses that sought the type of IT support that the firm was providing schools. And so quite organically, SchoolOne entered the business segment and in 2007 branded its managed IT services as FIT Technologies.
FIT Technologies went to market, and the response from the business community was positive. Now, FIT Technologies employs 50 IT professionals, 30 who are based in the downtown offices and 20 who work offsite at clients’ locations. The business has expanded service offerings and geographic reach, with a presence in nine states. “We definitely have a national footprint,” Tomallo affirms.
Meanwhile, FIT Technologies faces the same recruiting challenges as other Northeast Ohio tech businesses. There are more tech jobs than talent to fill those positions. According to statistics from NEOSA, the region has had about a 25-percent increase in tech jobs since February 2012.
“We overcome that by doing our best to promote our culture, which is one where we partner with our clients,” Tomallo says. Plus, being located downtown is a big part of who FIT Technologies is. “Our location has allowed us to integrate into the downtown neighborhood and get involved in activities that we might not have considered if we were located [in the suburbs].”
FIT Technologies joined COSE when it moved from Lorain County to downtown in 2006. Tomallo says the educational and networking opportunities helped them get acquainted with the business community. “COSE connected us to services we needed and has provided us with valuable resources, whether that’s discounts or wellness programming ideas.”
Looking forward, Tomallo says the firm’s dedicated team keeps FIT Technologies on the cutting edge so they can provide clients with relevant, practical IT solutions. “There is an excitement around helping an organization become better, faster, stronger,” she relates. “With technology, we help them be more efficient, more productive and to do the work that is their mission.”