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Sweet Sixteen! ITP Celebrates 16 Years

Thank You for 16 Awesome Years. Here’s to 16 More.

Woah – 16 years already?! Time sure flies when you’re having fun helping businesses manage their IT. To mark this milestone, our CEO Paul Hager shares some of our history and highlights from over the years. Enjoy.

How We Started

ITP was founded in June 2003 by John Wilets and Joe Ulm, who are both still with the company. We were originally founded primarily to provide legal ERP solution support around the Lexus Nexus and Time Matters programs.

John Wilets is an attorney. Joe Ulm came from a law enforcement family but earned his IT certifications to become technical. Joe ended up liking the sales side of things better, which is why he’s on the sales team today. We always still joke about his Microsoft certification that expired probably in the 1950s.

Those two guys were the ones who took the big risk and opened the doors to a new company, leaving their current jobs and starting a small business. You have to give credit to them for taking that leap. If they hadn’t done that 16 years ago, there wouldn’t be a company I got to work with while I was IT manager at Balisle & Roberson. I wouldn’t have met those guys, ultimately joined them, and eventually purchased the company from them.

ITP Timeline

2003 – Founded by Joe Ulm and John Wilets

2006 – Peter Niebler joins ITP

2009 – Paul Hager joins ITP as a network engineer

Peter and Paul become co-owners with Joe and John

Madison office opens at 2800 Royal Ave

2013 – Appleton office opens

2014 – Paul Hager purchases ITP from Joe, John, and Peter; becomes CEO and owner

ITP named to Inc. 5000 list for the first time

2015 – Madison office moves to the downtown location

2019 – Paul Hager wins Dane County Executive of the Year Award

ITP wins Dane County Small Business Award

Unlike a lot of business purchases you hear about, while ITP has changed ownership hands over the years, ITP is still ITP. The same folks are still here that our clients are used to working with. As an example, I was on a phone call just this week talking about who would facilitate a Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience for a long-time law firm customer. It was obvious Peter Niebler should be their facilitator because of his history with them and the amount of time he’s known that customer. Peter knows, can speak, and can translate their language as a law firm, because we’ve been helping law firms since the beginning.

While many things about ITP like our team and our mission haven’t changed, thankfully our website has. Here’s how our website looked in 2004, 2006, 2012, 2014, and today.

 

ITP's website from 2004

 

ITP's website in 2006

 

ITP's website in 2012

 

ITP's website in 2014

 

ITP's current website

 

Making It to 16 Years

The reality is most small businesses don’t survive or can’t survive to 16 years. And a lot of them certainly never organically grow to be over 50 employees. Many companies end up growing through acquisition. Naturally growing your number of employees based on the good, hard work of the team is extremely rare.

ITP's Sweet SixteenAnd boy do we keep growing. We’ve been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for the past 4 years. Besides ITP, only 2 other southcentral Wisconsin companies are on that list. Ingram Micro – the world’s largest tech distributor – has recognized ITP on its SMB 500 growth list. We’re one of only 10 companies to make this list all 4 years it’s been in existence.

Thinking back over the 8 years I’ve spent at ITP, I’m just incredibly grateful for all the people who work here. I can say many employees and customers have become my friends – even past employees. When people leave your company, it can feel like a very negative moment, but I’m genuinely happy for the people who have gone on from ITP and are now CIOs of big companies or have started their own small businesses. I’m just really thrilled about this network of people – family, really – that we’ve built here at ITP.

Looking Ahead

It’s really fun to be getting a Dane County Small Business Award in the same year that we celebrate this birthday. And while it’s not a “major” milestone like 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, it’s a statement to the need in Wisconsin for continued help to solve IT challenges.

“We still meet new customers every week that continue to have the same questions: I don’t know IT. It’s not my primary job to know IT. Can you translate for me? Can you help me understand these challenges and help us overcome them?”

That’s exactly what we want to do. And we want to do that in a way that’s not intimidating but that is genuinely helpful. As we turn 16 and move on from our tweens to our teenage years as a company, we’re continuing to evolve how we do that.

We’re evolving our offerings for small business customers. We’re also evolving to be able to translate even more complex IT subjects like really advanced cybersecurity, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, and machine learning. We continue to evolve to help in deeper ways with our small business customers and in new ways for our mid-market and enterprise customers.

I’d Like to Thank …

As we look back at 16 years, I’m thankful for all the employees. I’m also thankful to all our customers. I’m the type of person that as I drive my family around town and we drive by a customer, I point out to my kids “they’re an ITP customer.” Or if we see a billboard for one of our customers, I’ll say “that’s an ITP customer.”

The whole company – me included – takes great pride in our level of involvement within the community. We support nonprofit organizations and get involved in our communities in a variety of ways. But even more than that, we are a support services organization.

We provide what I think are really vital services that help run our cities, our local governments, our schools, the nonprofits that serve people within our communities, and our small business friends that are also trying to make it to 16 years, grow a business, and add great new jobs in our communities so that our cities can continue to grow and thrive.

I’m very thankful to have been a part of ITP. I feel like I’m a custodian of this entity as the owner. I try to take care of it for all of the people who come to work here every day and all of the customers that rely on us to be able to run their businesses.

“Thank you for 16 years. Thank you for everyone who’s had a part in the ITP story at some point even if they’re not with us today. And finally, thank you for the opportunity to be considered a leader at ITP as we celebrate this milestone.”

– Paul Hager, owner and CEO

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