When Ira Greene begins to describe what is most important to his company, he emphasizes relationships. Cultivating honest and productive relationships with his customers and employees will bring success to Lighthouse Technology Solutions Inc., he says.
Lighthouse specializes in network and systems integration, applications and development selection, and Internet services. With 60 percent of its business in networking and 40 percent in providing Internet services, the company has found success in providing ground-up solutions for customers who want networks that interface with the Internet and corporate intranets.
"We are one of only a few companies who are uniquely qualified to do what we're doing," said Greene. "We have the required skills needed for networking, programming and Internet development.
"Most of the other companies who could be considered our competition (AAA Networking, Orange Systems) are primarily interested in selling you a product. At the core, we will always be a service business," he said.
The infotech consulting firm, also known as LTSI, changed its name just last month. Formerly known as Friedman Greene Associates, Greene decided to change the name after splitting with a partner in August 1996. Friedman Greene was a descendent of the company Greene founded in 1991, Accnet Consulting Inc.
One area where Lighthouse has carved out a niche for itself is in developing and maintaining intranets for Washington area associations. These include the Security Industry Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Historical Association.
Greene attributes his success in this market to providing the right solution at a fair price.
"A lot of nonprofit groups are operating on a set budget," said Greene. "We go in and develop the best solution that we can provide on that budget. If we can't give them what they want for the money, we'll try to figure out something or even walk away from the job. What we don't want is to give them something that isn't particularly effective," he said.
Greene's commitment to the customer includes key profit concessions, including free telephone troubleshooting and making technicians available at night or on weekends at no extra charge.
Lighthouse is also working in federal government markets, which currently account for about 20 percent of its overall business. Greene is also in the process of looking for contracts from some state and local governments.
Looking toward the future, Greene is counting on the relationships he has with his staff. "A lot of business owners will tell you that their people are their greatest asset," said Greene. "But at Lighthouse that is undeniably the truth. I trust my people to do a good job, and they know that I'll take care of them. Everyone here knows that they have something at stake."
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