Partner’s name: Jim Conway
Company address: Headquarters: 216 N. Water Street, Floor 3, Milwaukee
Company Web site: www.c2gps.com
Industry: Graphic design software training and talent placement
Number of employees: "Such a simple, yet complex question. Five full-time in Milwaukee, approximately 15 part- and full-time graphic designers placed, another 10-plus ready to go; two full-time in Madison, approximately five part- and full-time graphic designers placed and another 10-plus ready to go in any given week."
Company’s annual revenues: "We’re on track to double our 2003 numbers."
Education: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 1992 bachelor of arts degree in journalism and Spanish; Michigan State University, 1994 master’s of arts degree in organizational communications.
Partner’s Education: Apple Consultant OS X certified, Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Illustrator CS, Certified Technical Trainer.
Family: "No spouses. I share custody of an 8-year-old beagle, named Miko, who is the office mascot."
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
"We’ve done a lot of smart hiring, surrounding ourselves with the best employees, both the permanent staff and talent for hire. We have a great team of supporters too, our lawyer, financial strategist, accounting firm, PR consultant and banker."
What’s new at your company?
"Everything! Seriously, since August 2003 we moved downtown, changed our name, bought the company officially Jan. 1, 2004, hired an office manager (Meri Frahm), who changed all our systems and processes – thank goodness! We’ve opened a Madison office, hired a salesperson, sent our trainers in for Adobe and Macromedia certifications and started the process of becoming the only Adobe Certified Training Center in Wisconsin."
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
"Absolutely. We will upgrade the computer equipment for both classrooms – Madison and Milwaukee (each has 4 Macs and 2 PCs). We’re looking for a longer office lease in Madison, and we’d like to increase the number of graphic designers available for placement in both cities."
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
"We’re working on strategies to support growth into other markets, while continuing to enhance the services and relationships in Milwaukee and Madison. We’ll spend much of the next year assessing the activity of each office, finding our strongest revenue streams, our areas of weakness, problem-solving, building systems and processes to support growth.
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
"Adobe InDesign. This is a page layout program that is being adopted by many publishing and printing companies, ad agencies, marketing and design firms, replacing the market standard, QuarkXPress. Migration/transition training has been incredibly popular this year. Apple will launch the next version of Operating System X, Tiger, later this year, transition training from OS 9 will be sought after by firms wishing to simplify that upgrade for staff. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of designers seeking to add Web and multimedia skills to their resumes, so we’ve added several classes to address that demand."
Do you have a business mantra?
"Work hard, play hard."
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
"I admire Yvonne Ostermann, the former owner of MacPros, for developing a brilliant business plan and trusting us to take it to the next level, Pam Moss for her networking skills, Dave Stamm for his amazing work ethic and Cori Coffman for sheer force of will. Our dad, Bill Conway, remains an outstanding role model … his C2 business card reads ‘senior consultant,’ a title earned regularly."
What was the best advice you ever received?
"Bob Horvat from Compensation Resources said, ‘Be small, be profitable.’ e didn’t listen, but it’s great advice!"
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
"It’s only funny in hindsight … This June, we took our first business trip as a team. We were at a social event associated with the conference, and one of our employees broke his leg … break dancing!"
What do you like to do in your free time?
"Our clients and staff are fun! We have parties at the office, attend events associated with professional organizations like the American Institute of Graphic Artists – Wisconsin Chapter (AIGA) and the United AdWorkers. I participate in a kickball league, soccer league and in the winter, we bowl as a staff. I have fantastic family and friends and spend time with them when I can."
October 29, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI
Partner’s name: Jim Conway