By Tonja Deegan / Special to The Detroit News
Christine Rice, Vice President of VisionIT operations, rings the gong. New employees ring the gong when they finish their paperwork.
Treating employees like family and having a small-business atmosphere are two ways that founder David Segura keeps Detroit-based VisionIT Inc. moving at a record pace.
Segura began the technology staffing company in 1997. In just four years, from 1999 to 2003, VisionIT went from seven to 62 employees and from gross sales of $467,000 to $6 million. “We basically have doubled every year since we started the company,” Segura said. And VisionIT is on track for 2004, looking at $12 million in sales, he said. The company now has more than 140 employees.
Segura and VisionIT received many accolades recently. The company was No. 473 on Hispanic Business magazine’s list of the 500 largest U.S. Hispanic-owned companies. Hispanic Business also ranked VisionIT as its 16th fastest growing Hispanic business in the United States, down from 10th in 2003. Hispanic Trends magazine named Segura one of the top 100 Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States. Segura also was elected to the board of directors of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce this summer. “He’s one of the emerging stars in Hispanic business,” said Armando Ojeda, executive director of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “David is a product of Detroit. He’s really an incredible person. He’s dynamic and aggressive and he’s a very genuine person.”
Segura graduated from the University of Michigan in computer science and after working for another company for four years, he decided to start his own venture. “We’re focused on finding great technology people,” he said. The company already provides staffing across the country, and the plan is to continue to expand nationally and open other offices to help more people find great jobs, Segura said.
VisionIT’s headquarters are in the New Center One building in Detroit, and the company is opening its first branch office in Pasadena, Calif. Segura decided to start the company in Detroit because “we wanted to be a part of all of the great changes that were happening in the city, especially with technology.” The city of Detroit is a client, along with General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and EDS Corp.
Segura owns VisionIT along with his business partner, Grant Long, retired NBA and Eastern Michigan University basketball player. Segura knew Long’s family in Romulus and Long had read an article about VisionIT and wanted to become involved in the business world, so the two formed a partnership. VisionIT also has family help. Christine Rice, Segura’s sister, is vice president of operations. Rice had worked at EDS until 1999, when VisionIT began to take off. One of her first acts was to go back to EDS with a staffing proposal, which resulted in a 10-year contract to support EDS’s technology staffing across the United States.
VisionIT uses employee referrals, recruiters and networking to find temporary and permanent employees for other companies. “It’s easy to find good people because the clients we support are good companies to be a part of,” Rice said. “People want to work for these companies.” Rice said the company welcomes new employees as if they’re part of the family. When a new hire comes in to the office, they’re introduced to the entire staff. The new hire hits a gong that’s in the office and the staff cheers to welcome them to the team. She said it’s easier to have a personal touch when a company is small, and VisionIT works hard to keep that touch as it grows. “This job and this industry is satisfying work,” Rice said. “People are happy when they’re hired and they enjoy what they do when they’re hired at a prestigious company.”