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The Harbour Group providing services to meet technological needs of small, large companies

Small town business running with the big dogs

RIDGELAND — What began in February 1999 as a privately-held company providing a broad suite of services to meet the technological needs of small and large companies has already moved to a larger location in the Avignon Office Park.

“We were able to hit the ground running,” said Mark Riggs, president of the Harbour Group.

That may be an understatement, considering that in 1999 the Harbour Group won Staffware Corporation’s Partner of the Year in North America, and in 2000 the company was awarded Altris’ Software Partner and Reseller of the Year.

Headquartered in Mississippi, the Harbour Group also has offices in Dallas and Memphis. But the fact that the company is Mississippi-based is something Riggs is proud of.

“We have some real bright, intelligent folks, and some pretty good things out there we’ve done for these customers,” he said.

And although the company does not limit itself to hiring in only the Jackson area, said Riggs, “We certainly don’t mind pulling from here. I think the Jackson area has a lot to offer. We’d like to grow and be a part of that. A lot of good things come from this area. We’d like to highlight that.”

Employees working

toward a common goal

There are 12 employees spread among the three office locations of the Harbour Group, all working toward the same goal: to make their clients happy. Combined, the employees have an average of 10 and a half years of experience in technology development.

“A lot of companies do what we do, but our pricing is more flexible in what we deliver,” Riggs said. “We don’t have a separate sales staff that sells and makes promises. The person who goes out and negotiates is the person doing the work. When we say we can do something, we know we can do it.”

Work has come pretty much by word of mouth for the Harbour Group. As those who have used the Harbour Group’s services move to different companies, word gets out.

The Harbour Group’s specialties include workflow, document and configuration management, Web development and systems integration. Custom software development for Intranet/Internet is also available. Software products used by the Harbour Group include RI-Link, which is a workflow tool, Labor Cost Control, Labor Cost Interpreter and Protective Tagging.

In 1999, the Harbour Group had $700,000 in sales. In 2000, that number jumped to $1.5 million, and this year Riggs hopes that number will double again.

“A lot of our work is on the road right now,” he said.

It doesn’t matter where

employees are working

But it does not matter to Riggs where the company employees are working.

“It’s the quality of people that we have,” he said.

Riggs said another office could open up in the San Francisco area sometime in the future, and that the office in Dallas may be expanding to meet clients’ growing needs.

The Harbour Group’s client list includes Providian Financial, Wells Fargo Bank, Federal Express, Capital Synergies, Entergy, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, Mitsubishi, Intermedia, SkyTel, MDOT, Citibank, Stone and Webster, City of Winston Salem, N.C., Anardarko Petroleum, Siemen’s and the Ramey Agency.

The company’s philosophy is “Making Technology Work,” which defines a key goal for the Harbour Group as it continues to strive to fill the vast void between creation and utilization of technology.

The Harbour Group listens to clients to understand the challenges that are faced by a particular business, then uses existing technology whenever possible to answer the clients’ needs.

Aside from work as usual, the Harbour Group has also found time to start an educational grant. They partnered with Computer Tots and Computer Explorers to provide a $15,000 grant to St. Richard School for computer education.

“Although we’re a small business, we want to help Mississippi communities that have helped us,” Riggs said.

Jody Harbour serves as vice president of the Harbour Group and Bryan McFarland serves as the chief technology officer.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.


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