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News & Press: FOCUS

Dewpoint: People Are Their Product

Friday, February 2, 2018  
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What separates good organizations from great ones? In any given field, there are many companies that can provide a product or service and execute successfully at a very high level. Often times, the companies that achieve the greatest success and achieve the fastest growth are the ones that place the greatest emphasis on their people and the culture.

Lansing-based Dewpoint is a perfect example of a company that has achieved enormous success in the information technology services and consulting arena because two of its highest priorities are attracting, cultivating and retaining great talent, and building a culture that invests in and supports the growth of each team member. Dewpoint has developed into one of the most rapidly growing companies in the region, adding more than 100 employees a year in each of the past three years, including 150 new employees in 2017. Starting with just 11 employees when the company was founded in 1996, Dewpoint now has 400 employees and shows no signs of slowing down.

Dewpoint team members, front: Ken Theis, back, left to right: Michelle Massey, Chris Weiss, Rob Kondoff and Laurel McDevitt

In the early years, Dewpoint placed a heavy emphasis on product-focused tech solutions, particularly in the area of helping customers optimize their data center operations. Nine years ago, the company made a conscious decision to broaden their scope of services to include professional services and program portfolio project management.

“We help large organizations manage large-scale programs and projects,” said Ken Theis, Dewpoint’s president and chief executive officer. “We are meeting the needs of our clients better than anybody in the marketplace.”

“We really have a business focus that some IT companies don’t have,” said Chris Weiss, Dewpoint’s chief architect. “We don’t come in a say we are going to sell you a project manager or sell you hardware. We look at what does your company really need.”

Many companies in the IT arena are strong in understanding the technology piece of the IT equation. Where Dewpoint thrives is in understanding the importance of having great people to make the technology operate.

“We have very low turnover,” said Michelle Massey, Dewpoint’s vice president. “You can’t expand if you are constantly turning people over.”

Employees genuinely enjoy working at Dewpoint. That is evidenced in the fact that most new employees come to Dewpoint as the result of a referral from an existing employee. The company places a great deal of emphasis on community and camaraderie. There are regular events to bring their people located in many different communities face-to-face for both learning and fun, including an annual employee kickoff, quarterly social events, a summer block party, customer events like March Madness and Silver Bells Warming Station, and a Friday social hour. Employees also have the opportunity to engage in monthly TableTalks with top Dewpoint executives. The company’s culture is so highly regarded that Dewpoint has been named to Crain’s “Cool Places to Work” list in the last three years in which was award was issued.

“It really is about having good people who want to stay here and work and be part of the growth,” said Massey. “We are a people company.”

“The buzz you hear about Dewpoint starts within Dewpoint,” said Theis. “The folks that are here are excited. They are the biggest asset we have. When they are excited they bring that enthusiasm to our clients.”

Dewpoint employees say that company leaders ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to their commitment to people.

“You feel connected and valued as a member of the team no matter what your role,” said Laurel McDevitt, senior service delivery manager. “They hire great people who are passionate about what they are doing. We are all working toward a common goal.”

“Most of the people here could work someplace else,” said Weiss. “At Dewpoint, I am not overhead. I am an asset.”

Dewpoint invests considerable resources in its employees. The company has a robust development program including leadership training and mentoring. Theis estimates that pay levels are in the top 75 percent for the industry and the benefits package is competitive. The company issues annual profit sharing checks, most recently announcing a payout total for 2017 in excess of one million dollars.

Dewpoint team members are also connected into the company’s numerous community initiatives. Through employee-directed community giving, Dewpoint DewGooders can designate up to $150 annually to charitable organizations of their choice. Employees may also volunteer in the community for up to four hours a year of paid time.

“That can be anything from going on a field trip with your child to actually going and doing a clean-up day downtown,” said Massey.

Dewpoint’s corporate commitment to the community places a large focus on IT and education. Company personnel sit on boards for the Capital Area IT Council, Ele’s Place, American Red Cross, Wharton Center, and more. The company and its employees give time and money to various worthy causes including a recent donation of $25,000 to the Lansing Promise scholarship program.

“This community has given everything to us - we are a product of this community,” said Theis. “We want to give back because people gave to us.”

Theis notes that part of the commitment to Lansing Promise is rooted in a longterm need to keep students in the Lansing region as working professionals. The company wants to work with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and other organizations to promote mentorships, internships and other opportunities for students to help connect them to employers that will be in need of more top talent in the future.

Dewpoint is at the heart of a growing technology sector in the Greater Lansing region. The Capital Area IT Council reports that information technology is growing almost seven times faster than the rate for all jobs. The data suggests that more than 13,000 residents in the capital area are employed in IT related jobs. Though Lansing doesn’t necessarily receive as much recognition as a technology hub as other communities do, Theis suggests the region has a lot of assets that it is leveraging, particularly higher education with Michigan State University, Lansing Community College and other institutions.

“I think Lansing is a huge resource and people underestimate what we can do,” said Theis. “I think the business community can come together and use these assets to help grow the community.”

Dewpoint’s greatest strength — it’s people — also represent one of the greatest challenges in pursuing continued growth going forward. Like many companies in the 21st century knowledge-based economy, the ability to recruit and retain top talent is of paramount importance. Unemployment in IT in the Greater Lansing region is less than one percent. Great talent has options to work where they would like.

The company will also face the challenge of continuing its growth and keeping the identity and culture that has made it so successful.

“One of our challenges will be as we grow, how do we maintain that secret sauce,” said Rob Kondoff, senior vice president for sales and marketing. “As you get bigger, you tend to get more management and more bureaucracy. So, we want to do that in a way that doesn’t minimize our growth or compromise our great company.”

To a person, people at Dewpoint seem determined to maintain the characteristics that have made the company so successful. Theis is convinced there are a lot of good reasons why the company will be able to stay the course into the future.

“We have 400 rock stars here,” said Theis. “People really do matter.”

The Dewpoint approach is making an impact for the people that work there, the customers they serve and the Greater Lansing region. It’s a formula for success.

“Companies are using IT to totally transform their position in the marketplace,” said Theis. “I think we are evidence that you can do that right here in downtown Lansing.”

Click here to download the February issue of FOCUS.

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