Valarie King-Bailey – Background
OnShore Technology Group was established as a multi-divisional organization whose mission was to help keep technology jobs on America’s shores through the delivery of mission-critical technology, engineering, and marketing services. Our business model evolved in response to the wave of offshore outsourcing that affected many technology and engineering professionals and our deep rooted belief that technology is not only important for business but in our national interests to establish and maintain job opportunities to help showcase the talents and abilities through “right-sourcing” – keeping jobs here in America that are impractical to off-shore. At OnShore Technology Group, we believe that nurturing technological innovation and supporting the technology worker by providing access to challenging jobs here in America is not only responsible, it is in our national security interests to do so. Our future depends on engineers, scientists and technology professionals to drive our economy and our country to new heights. This belief has had a profound impact on me and I have dedicated my company to the pursuit of technological advancement and innovation.
My early roots are deep within the Afro-American community. I grew up in Chicago’s infamous project housing. My first home was on the south side of Chicago in the notorious Stateway Garden housing projects. My earliest and most significant influence was my mother. She worked as a clerk in a local dress shop but had an outstanding work ethic and taught me and my sister and brother early on the value of a dollar. She was honest and trustworthy and passed on these traits to us as her children. She always taught us to love all people and to honor God in all of our ways. She had a laser focus on education and emphasized early that an education was our way out of the ghetto. I took this lesson to heart.
My dad was a construction worker who was ever-present but died at an early age of complications of pneumonia. I was only 7 years old at the time of his death. Unlike many of the stereotypes, my father loved us and was always there.
”Learn all you can and be the best at what you do.”
* What was your education experience? Was it helpful?
Yes! My educational experience was life-changing. I was a straight-A high school student and won many scholarships and academic honors in high school. I was the only student at my high school accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I originally started out as a pharmacy major but switched to engineering. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the first black female from the college of civil & environmental engineering – an honor I cherish to this day. I am an active member of the U.W. alumni association board of directors and the visiting committee of the U.W. College of engineering.
After attending U.W., I decided to pursue an M.B.A. I graduated in 1985 from Keller Graduate School of Management with an M.B.A. in Information Systems.
* What was your professional experience?
I began my career at U.S. Steel Corporation as an environmental engineer. I then moved to the design engineering group where I was put in charge of a significant project to design alternate heating sources for buildings throughout the plant as part of a decommissioning program for (3) 650-lb boilers serving the plant. The project was a great success and credited for over $2MM per year in energy savings at the plant.
I also worked for over 13-1/2 years for Intergraph Corporation. This was one of the best jobs I had in my life. Intergraph is the world’s leader in the development of computer-aided design and drafting systems (CADD). I could not believe I was getting paid to do such exciting work. I worked at Intergraph during the early pioneer days when CADD systems were over $1MM and ran on large DEC VAX-based computers. Intergraph was a wonderful career opportunity for me which is why I stayed so long.
I left Intergraph in the early 1990’s and went to Documentum, Inc. I joined Documentum (now EMC/Documentum) about 3 weeks before the company went public. I was Director of Industry Development for the Process Industry market sector. This was the most exciting IPO I have ever participated in! Documentum was an excellent company to work for and I had the distinction of drafting the marketing requirements for their first off-the-shelf product. The product is still on the market today.
After Documentum, I went to Abbott Laboratories in Chicago. At Abbott, I was responsible for the development and validation of mission-critical document management systems leveraging Documentum technology. I received Abbott’s Chairman’s award for 2 consecutive years for outstanding performance.
I was then recruited by QUMAS, LTD. of Cork Ireland as Chief Marketing Officer. QUMAS markets and resells an Enterprise Compliance Management system. While at QUMAS, the company received Frost & Sullivan’s Market Leadership Award and the Irish Software Association’s Market Innovation nomination. QUMAS’ revenues accelerated during my tenure from $2MM to over $10MM in just 3-1/2 years.
OnShore Technology Group, Inc.
* When did you start OnShore Technology Group?
After leaving QUMAS in 2004, I formed OnShore Technology Group in Chicago.
* How did you spot the opportunity?
I became increasingly concerned about the offshoring of American engineering and I.T. jobs and wanted to do something about it. The idea for OnShore Technology Group came from reading Lou Dobbs book “The Outsourcing of America” and watching his insightful program. He made excellent points as to how the middle class was being devastated by policies in Washington. As I listened to Lou, it occurred to me that I had the power to do something to affect change. I started OnShore Technology Group. I began to see a new paradigm shift in the industry and thought through “rightsourcing” I could provide services that are “impractical” to offshore outsource.
* How did any outside advisors make a difference in your company?
The concept and execution of OnShore Technology Group was developed exclusively by me. However, Harris Bank of Chicago has been a trusted advisor and has made a significant difference to our business. I credit Harris Bank for believing in me and my vision for a better America. Many banks advertise that they are “the bank of small business”. Harris really put their money where their mouth is. My small business banker Vachon Harper-Young took an immediate interest in the business and provided not only the financial resources I needed to get started but expert advice and council I needed to succeed. Without Harris Bank, it would have been impossible for me to achieve what I have thus far. Harris has made all the difference in the world and I am on a mission to recommend this bank to any small, disadvantaged business who needs a bank that will listen and support them. Harris Bank is a trusted advisor of the company to this day.
In addition to Harris Bank, I received help from my attorney and expert accounting support from our CPA.
* Tell us about your business, its mission, and the services your offer
OnShore Technology Group was established in February 2004 as a multi-divisional organization whose mission was to help keep technology jobs on America’s shores through the delivery of mission-critical technology, engineering, and marketing services.
We deliver expert services for companies in all industries and all sizes – small, medium, and large enterprises. We also deliver services to government agencies and have certification in Illinois and Wisconsin. We offer the following services:
* Website development
* Outsourced Sales Organization
* Lead Generation Programs
* Public Relations
* Outsourced Interim CMO Services
* Marketing Planning
* Marketing Collateral Development
* Mobile Marketing Solutions
* Podcast Development
* Marketing Video Development
* Engineering Drafting Services (Civil, mechanical, electrical)
* Specifications Development
* Environmental Engineering Support Services
* Site Planning
* Transportation Design Services
* Open Source Implementation and Deployment
* Microsoft Implementation and Deployment Services
* Custom Application Development (any platform)
* Microsoft Solutions Implementation and Deployment
* Competency Management solutions
* Compliance Process Control Solutions
Our solutions focus is compliance. We offer comprehensive validation and verification support services for any technology platform.
* What were/are the most demanding conflicts you face ?
The most demanding conflicts I faced were from the day-to-day pressures of running the business. My husband works with me so our work together means we see more of each other. Our office is in the building we live in so we are not away from the children much.
* You’ve mentioned that OnShore Technology is dedicated to keeping technology jobs on America’s shores. Could you tell us more about it?
Our business model is designed to focus on the delivery of services that are impractical to offshore. In our global economy, there is not a lot of discussion or attention paid to the fact that offshore companies view America as a large market. Thus, OnShore targets companies offshore that wish to do business in the United States. It’s a complete paradigm shift.
* Could you suggest the three most important lessons you have learned in order to run a successful business when dealing with multi-cultural issues internally and/or externally?
There are 3 important lessons learned when it comes to running successful, diverse businesses:
1. Diversity Requires Leadership
The lack of diversity has deep roots in prejudice and inequality. To remove the stigma from organizations that hire only those who look like them requires leadership at the highest levels. Diversity is a principle whose time has come. We live in a global world where it is no longer acceptable to sustain a homogenous view of the world. Executives must lead by example and encourage all managers to seek competency and excellence as the chief hiring criteria.
2. Diversity Breeds Strength
At the risk of sounding cliché, a diverse organization is built on results achieved by the viewpoints and actions of many. As we reach for new markets and seek to position our products and services for greater influence, those businesses that actively seek diversity will be stronger in the end. Each culture in our society has unique strengths. The company that harnesses these in the most productive manner will be the victor in the end.
3. Diversity Is Good For The Bottom Line
Our global economy tells us that we serve ever-broader constituents with our products and services. One of my largest clients is a French-speaking Canadian company based in Quebec City. Having a multi-cultural organization that embraces all is good for the bottom line. I believe strongly that this philosophy will be the bedrock of multinational organizations in the future.
* What are your plans for the future?
I would like to grow OnShore Technology Group to a multi-billion dollar enterprise. It is my goal to develop technology innovations that will help protect the homeland and provide jobs for millions of technology and engineering workers. I will work to encourage women and minorities to pursue math, engineering, science and technology jobs in the future. I will also work to raise the profile of the American teacher to the forefront of our national debate. For too long, we have not recognized teachers as those who shape the minds of tomorrow’s leaders. Teachers have a profound impact on business yet are never given the proper credit for their role in shaping America.
* What things do you find personally rewarding as an entrepreneur?
I love making a difference. I take great satisfaction in knowing that I provide a valuable service for my clients and those who I am privileged to work with at OnShore.
* What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
I think entrepreneurship is the next logical step in anyone’s career progression. My advice is to learn all you can and be the best at what you do.
For more information about Valarie King-Baley and OnShore Technology, please visit www.onshoretech.com.