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Executive Of The Year Award Winner: Rick Kearney

Executive Of The Year Award Winner: Rick Kearney

Choosing one executive among the many many that had banner years in 2003 is, to say the least, a challenge. More than a dozen loved triple-digit development final year, while it was a restoration period for most. But executive Rick Kearney, CEO of Mainline Info Programs of Tallahassee, Fla., additionally had a very good yr indeed. For starters, his firm, No. ninety on this year's VARBusiness 500 checklist, grew by 25 percent to $411.4 million. It was the third yr in a row that Kearny drove top-line revenue growth of $a hundred million or more, lifting Mainline from its 109 place last year.

Moreover, the corporate, one in all IBM's largest unbiased Premier Business Partners within the nation, picked up a coveted IBM Beacon Award bestowed by the hardware firm on its best partners. (Mainline was awarded one among Big Blue's Distinguished Blue Diamond Beacon Awards for excellence within the Americas based mostly on its impact on the marketplace, loyalty to IBM and buyer-satisfaction scores.)

So, how is Kearney doing it? Simple, he says: "We have decided to go narrower and deeper with [IBM]." Well, that and some different things. Here is his story.

Kearny founded Mainline Data Systems in 1989. At the time, the company focused on quite a lot of hardware technologies from a wide range of companies. IBM, of course, was one of many firms Kearney's company sold. But it surely wasn't the one one. Back then, he felt the model variety gave his company strength. It wasn't beholden to anyone vendor, and it may provide prospects flexibility. Nevertheless it wasn't until Kearney determined to concentrate his energies on IBM that the company really took off. That allowed him to perform a number of things: It let him consolidate his gross sales to 1 company, which helped drastically when it got here time to securing the utmost product discounts available and the utmost respect from IBM. The latter helped when it got here time to get IBM support on technical issues and gross sales challenges. Abruptly, Mainline was on a fast track within IBM's companion circles. That led to elevated subject engagement and elevated opportunities. Sales growth rapidly followed, landing Mainline a spot on Inc.'s listing of the 500 fastest-rising privately held companies in America for the past 5 years in a row.

At the moment, Mainline sells only IBM hardware. And a lot of the software it really works with--it sells to 4,000 customers in banking, manufacturing, state and local government and other markets--is IBM's, too. Right this moment, the corporate boasts that it's IBM's No. 1 zSeries Associate, No. 1 Storage Associate, No. 1 pSeries Associate, No. 1 Software Partner and No. 1 IBM Global Providers partner. It is also a prime five iSeries Associate and a high five xSeries partner.

Mainline delivers software, hardware and utility solutions, as well as a complete suite of services. As for kearney center, he has distinguished himself in the Southeast as a capable CEO. Most people he hired within the 1990s to help build the corporate are nonetheless there at the moment, he factors out, which is necessary as the company continues to expand. Kearney says he couldn't ponder the growth plan he is presently in the course of without the inspiration of a stable leadership group beneath him. Collectively, they're attempting to distinguish the corporate's services group, called simply sufficient the Mainline Services Group and the corporate's newest venture, Mainline Global Systems. The latter gives consulting and assist to Mainline's growing base of worldwide prospects in Brazil and elsewhere and oversees its rising offshore capabilities in China and South Korea.

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