RIDGELAND — What started as a “play toy” has turned into an exceptionally successful business venture for George Trim and Tony Bailey.
In 1993, when Trim talked to Bailey about partnering in a business deal, Bailey recalled thinking it would “merely be a play toy,” he said.
“I was wrong,” said Bailey, CEO of Ridgeland-based Business Communications Inc. “Our little business has exceeded our wildest expectations.”
The “little business” started in a “hole in the wall” in a Jackson office. Trim, president of BCI and head of the structured cabling systems department, was well versed in data cabling and recognized the need to provide customers with an infrastructure that performs current functions and has plenty of room to expand, he said.
“The growth doubled every year and we knew we were on to something,” said Bailey.
Bailey remained a silent partner until 1996, when the company for which he was working filed Chapter 11.
“We knew it would take a compelling event to get me really involved,” Bailey said. “I had put together a core team of experts who had been with me for a long time that followed me to BCI. In light of what could have been a disaster, our team didn’t skip a beat.”
Since then, BCI was reorganized into four primary areas — computer network systems, structured cabling systems, voice/video systems and enterprise solutions. Trim handles the structured cabling systems, Bailey heads up the computer network systems and enterprise solutions. Some of the companies BCI represents include Cisco, Compaq, Novell and Microsoft.
A couple of years ago, Bailey and Trim purchased five acres of land on Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland. On Dec. 7, 1998, they moved into a 9,000-square-foot building located next door to Diversified Technology. A unique design feature at BCI is a fully functional conference room that is equipped with 12 ergonomically correct computer stations and a conference table that will accommodate eight additional people. BCI leases to companies for training sessions and meetings upon request.
BCI opened an office in Las Vegas almost three years ago, after the casino industry noticed their work. Offices in Memphis and on the Gulf Coast were opened almost two years ago. The company has a payroll of 80 full-time employees, not including occasional subcontractors.
“Our company has grown primarily because we have remained true to our mission statement,” said Bailey. “BCI connects people with technology. We are a network and communications systems integrator that provides proven solutions for quality-conscious clients in the public and private sectors. We partner with our customers to identify and understand all their business needs, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to increase their productivity. We intend to increase revenues and sustain a fair profit while maintaining a friendly, fair and creative work environment which respects diversity, new ideas and hard work.”
Blake Webber, network design engineer for BCI, said the company has “walked away from deals that didn’t gel.”
“We call it a win-win proposition,” Webber said. “We won’t enter into a deal if it’s not a good deal for both. We’ve walked away from some deals that didn’t gel or where clients wanted to keep us as arm’s length.”
Trim, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, attributes high standards to the company’s success.
“If we don’t take care of our customers, somebody else will,” Trim said. “It’s that simple.”
“Every single person in the company sells and almost all of our new clients are referrals,” added Bailey.
One area BCI has declined to get involved in has been with in the realm of Y2K.
“Y2K is a hot topic and small- to medium-sized businesses are most at risk,” Bailey said. “We won’t sign a contract to make repairs but we will refer clients to businesses that specialize in addressing Y2K problems. Frankly, we didn’t want the headaches. Attorneys are geared up to handle repercussions from Y2K and getting involved with Y2K would take us away from our primary focus and our mission statement.”