Young aims to steady GTSI

Industry watchers praised Government Technology Services Inc.'s recent hiring of Dendy Young as a move that will boost company morale and customer satisfaction. While most people wait until Jan. 1 to seek a clean start GTSI jumped the gun revamping its executive management by hiring Young to be its president and chief executive officer in late December. Over the past year GTSI has been beset by financial difficulties and executive turmoil. Former GTSI president and chief executive R.M. Rickenbach left the company in November opening the door for Young's appointment. Young achieved fame and fortune in the federal PC market as founder of Apple Computer Inc. reseller Falcon Microsystems Inc. which he sold to GTSI in 1994. Peter E. Janke previously vice president of Data General Corp.'s Federal Division also signed on as executive vice president of GTSI. GTSI's decision to hire Young was widely applauded. "It is the best move they could possibly have made " said Bob Guerra executive vice president of Sysorex Information Systems Inc. "The company has lost focus on their core business " he said. "[Young] will focus them on sales and marketing which is where they need to be." "I think Dendy is one of the savviest most intelligent guys in the business " said Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc."It is a marriage made in heaven." Young's first order of business is to boost morale. This will serve two purposes: to stem the flow of talent leaving GTSI and to improve customer satisfaction. "This company has lost a lot of good employees over the last couple years " he said. "I want to make sure that we don't lose any more." That should not be hard said Mark Amtower president of Amtower and Co. "Dendy Young has a record of employee loyalty that is unparalleled in the government reseller market " he said. Former Falcon Microsystems workers hold periodic reunions Amtower said. Those employees who stay will be tasked with doing whatever is needed to make customers happy Young said. The best way for a mail-order business to do that is to avoid passing a caller around like a hot potato and to provide requested information. "That transaction must be handled by one person " he said. "You can't have phone calls being switched from person to person." Having independent auditors find that each call is handled by only one person is the ideal GTSI is striving for Young said. The company might not meet that ideal completely but it can get close. "We are going to come a lot closer to that than we have today " he said. GTSI will put its sales force through intensive training to make sure each person is capable of helping callers. It will also use information technology as a "force multiplier " giving employees a sophisticated database of information to help them work smarter Young said. "We will leverage all of the information technology we can " he said. That will include using the company's home page to conduct electronic commerce. The address is "http://www.gtsi.com." This kind of customer-focused strategy may sound familiar to former customers of Falcon Microsystems but Young dismisses comparisons of the companies. "The major difference is that this company is the largest reseller in the government market covering a wide range of vendors " he said. "Falcon was very much focused on 10 percent of the market." Furthermore government procurement rules have changed dramatically since GTSI bought Falcon. Those changes will play to Young's strengths Dornan said. Young's plans for a highly trained customer-focused work force could drive up costs but new buying rules make it easier for federal customers to steer business toward vendors who do a good job rather than vendors with the lowest price. "Before a satisfied customer had a hard time going back to the supplier " Dornan said. "I think the typical end user is willing to pay more for quality equipment and support " he said. "That is the key to success and he knows how to supply it." Young and Janke will also be challenged to settle the government's investigation of GTSI's business practices regarding use of vendors' market development funds. That investigation has not yielded anything yet that is publicly available and the company said it thinks the Justice Department may turn over the investigation to the General Services Administration. That would change the nature of the investigation from a criminal one to a GSA administrative matter. Justice has not yet taken that step officially but things are going well for the company Janke said. "I have found [the situation] is better than I expected."

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