When Valarie King-Bailey heard that her job in corporate America was going to be outsourced, she couldn’t believe her ears. Not ready to start sending out résumés to potential employers, she took a step back and analyzed the off-shoring trend.
King-Bailey says she initially decided to take a step back when she realized that even her engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management, and 20-plus years holding executive positions such as vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer for global organizations couldn’t help her retain her job.
“I got creative and asked myself, ‘What do foreign companies want from our U.S. workers?’ recalls King-Bailey, 48. “The answer was simple: they want our knowledge, experience, and a U.S. presence.”
And with that answer, King-Bailey opened the doors to OnShore Technology Group in 2004. As CEO, she saw her company’s sales climb from $400,000 in 2005 to $600,000 last year. On track to clear $1 million for 2007, the firm comprises four divisions:
TechPIT Solutions, a Microsoft certified partner that delivers Microsoft CRM (customer relationship management), SharePoint Portal, and Amadeus eQCM compliance process control solutions; OnShore Engineering & Construction, an engineering technology services firm; MasterMarketing International, a group that helps organizations leverage brand potential through the delivery of tactical and strategic marketing services; and O6 Solutions, an open-source solution that delivers advanced Linux technologies.
With hopes of starting and growing a company to surpass the $1 million mark, King-Bailey applied for a program award through Make Mine a $Million Business, sponsored by OPEN from American Express and administered by New York-based Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence. Through the program, women-owned businesses receive mentoring, money, marketing, business services, and technology assistance to develop million-dollar companies. Out of 450 applicants, King-Bailey walked away one of 20 winners in October 2006, taking with her a $50,000 American Express Gold Card line of credit.
King-Bailey initially marketed her expertise to foreign firms that wanted to do business in the U.S., but lacked a local presence. The division that handles sales and marketing and creates collateral materials for overseas clients contributes about $300,000 in annual sales to her company’s revenues.
With eight employees, OnShore Technologies works with clients such as Merrill Lynch, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and Equis Corp. Recent projects included setting up the technology infrastructure for a Merrill Lynch office in downtown Chicago and creating a performance management system for Legacy Bank in Milwaukee.
With about $2 million worth of projects in the pipeline, King-Bailey has her mind set on hitting seven figures in sales this year. Ultimately, she would like to see OnShore Technology become the “go-to” group for clients looking to bring technology, engineering, and marketing projects to the United States. “I intend to grow each of the four divisions to $1 million in annual sales,” says King-Bailey, “and turn this into a $5 million company by 2012.”