Don Glidewell, president of THINKANEW in Madison, is one of those folks whose enthusiasm is infectious. In a recent meeting, he discussed how THINKANEW started, where the business stands today, and where he intends to take it in the future.
From its start in 2007, the company has grown to encompass operations in 15 states, providing what Don referred to as “IT in a box,” including such services as specialized health care IT, WAN/LAN management, telecommunications, disaster recovery services, security and more. The company works with businesses of all sizes, but seems to have carved out an important niche providing IT services to nursing homes and managed care facilities, among others.
Don certainly fits the picture of a successful Mississippi entrepreneur. Growing up in what he described as “relatively poor circumstances” in his hometown of Corinth, Miss., he started working for Caterpillar when he was 19 years old, and from there, it’s all been on the upside. He credits Caterpillar with providing many opportunities to help him achieve the education and experience he needed to ultimately become a successful entrepreneur.
Initially, Don was involved in post-Katrina recovery work, helping to rebuild systems for nursing homes and hospitals on the Gulf Coast. From there, he has never looked back, and THINKANEW has grown exponentially in the past 6 years.
I asked him how the name “THINKANEW” came to be.
“Actually, it’s a quote that I read from a speech by Abraham Lincoln,” he said. In part, the quote reads “As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” That seems apropos for the company, whose mission is to be one of Mississippi’s best and brightest technology companies.
Asked the secret of THINKANEW’s success, Don pointed to two vital considerations.
“We have a great team of people here,” he said. “They care about our customers, and I’m super proud of our group. Secondly, our primary focus is always on providing the very best customer service to our clients. In fact, since we started, we have never lost a single client.” There are probably few businesses that can make that statement.
Don is definitely a cheerleader for Mississippi and foresees a bright future for our state.
“We have great resources in terms of energy, water, agriculture, and a positive business climate,” he said. “Even more so, we have a wealth of great people in Mississippi. Just look at my team and you can see what I mean.”
Don tries to hire as many veterans as possible, and he notes that many of them have a “great skill set and the work ethic to do great work.” n my visit with Don, he introduced me to a number of his people, and it was obvious that they are an enthusiastic group.
“I’d say we have a definite family culture here,” he said.
In his offices, he has portraits and quotes from successful people going back to Henry Ford, and including the Lincoln quote.
In addition to his professional work, Don is also committed to helping those in the community who need a boost. Among other things, this includes a website he helped to create which is dedicated to assisting jobseekers who need to create effective resumes.
“It’s so important that we find ways to overcome the culture of poverty and despair. We have to give the kids the means to learn, to work, and to earn their way in the world,” he said. “It’s so important that people learn how to dream, and then go forth to achieve their dreams.”
Asked what he sees as the challenges facing Mississippi businesses these days, he suggested (along with numerous other entrepreneurs and CEO’s I’ve talked with) that business has become “over-regulated” in the past number of years, and that such over-regulation is a disincentive to investment and business growth. But he has no intention of letting such things slow down the growth of THINKANEW. Where does he expect to go in the next 5 years?
“We’re definitely looking to expand our reach geographically,” he said. “We’re exploring new markets and new opportunities in the categories we serve.”
Based on what I saw and learned on my visit to THINKANEW, I’d say the company is ready to take on the world. As I said, the enthusiasm is infectious.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1021.