Salem Life: Company Run by NECC Alum is one of Fastest Growing in US, According to Inc. Magazine
By Alison Colby-Campbell
Salem Life Writer
A quiet business on Stiles Road recently made Inc. Magazine’s list of privately held U.S. businesses demonstrating exceptional growth since 2016.
IT Management Solutions (ITMS) was one of only 20 companies in New Hampshire to earn recognition on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc 5000 2020,” a list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America. ITMS, the only Salem-based company honored, grew 72% when comparing the company’s 2016 and 2019 percentage-revenue growth.
Pedro Nuñez, founder and CEO, said the company provides high-tech and cyber-security services for businesses.
“Tech is often ignored by companies, at least until there is a crisis. Business owners think of it as a burden rather than an asset. We make life simpler by simplifying tech, learning about our clients’ companies, and partnering with them long term so they know what they need,” he said.
Merrimack Valley customers include businesses such as ProfitKey International and O’Neill Dentistry, both in Salem, as well as Silverio Insurance, SDE Engineering and Pelham Building Supply, among others.
More recently, COVID-19 made technology impossible to ignore for many companies as they reconfigured business practices to allow employees to work from home, requiring better connectivity and heightened cyber security. ITMS stepped up to offer empathy and answers, and turned the calamity into an opportunity.
Recognizing the opportunities provided by obstacles is a way of life for Nuñez: “My mother said, ‘The world does not belong to cowards’ meaning there will always be challenges and I should meet them head-on.”
The mindset began when his mother moved the family from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey seeking a better life. Upon graduating from high school, Nuñez realized that the debt of college would be too great.
“I come from humble beginnings. I couldn’t put that burden on my mother, so I went to see an Army Reserve recruiter. He told me about their different occupational specialties, and I picked one that would have the best job potential when I left the military. I became a medic because I could work as an EMT or in a hospital when I left the Army and pursued more education,” he recalls.
Challenged by finances, he chose Northern Essex Community College because “between the GI Bill funding and a $5-an-hour job, I basically covered my costs. It’s a great school, and it’s all about the student body. They’re serious about teaching things students can use in their careers,” he said. “By chance, I took one of NECC’s elective courses called Networking 101 that got me into IT.”
“Like many of our students, Pedro arrived at Northern Essex unsure of what direction he would take with his education. It was here he discovered his knack for computers, which led to a degree in computer science. Pedro is now CEO of his own technology company, and we could not be prouder that he got his start at Northern Essex,” said NECC President Lane Glenn.
After earning his Cisco CCNA certification, an information technology certification from Cisco Systems, in 2004 Nuñez started his first IT business in the “break/fix mode.” Customers sought him out when something went awry with their computers. For four years, the company grew until the 2008 recession depleted 90% of his business. His health was deteriorating due to stress and 12-hour days. The business closed.
Nuñez regrouped and began a service company. He worked with companies to develop adaptable systems and protections for networks.
“I chose to locate my business in Salem because it is strategically positioned to help my business grow. It’s two minutes to Route 93 and seven minutes from Route 495. I can be in Boston, Worcester or Manchester, N.H., in minutes. Salem has easy access to all of New England. And the low taxes in New Hampshire are good for business.”
“The town is thrilled to have IT Management Solutions in Salem. They are a high-tech company providing important services to other business. We wish them continued growth and success,” said Town Planner Ross Moldoff.
While trying to build ITMS, Nuñez was faced with another challenge. He was having triplets. “I was the provider, I had $20 in the bank and triplets on the way. I was scared, but my mother told me not to worry, that my children are gifts from God and each will bring a blessing.”
With the birth of his children 10 years ago, his purpose in life became clear: “My purpose is to leave a legacy for my children and their children to live on so they will not experience the financial concerns that I had. I want to make sure there is no reason they can’t have an education. I am not spoiling my kids, just providing a sustainable lifestyle, and securing their future education. Most people don’t think about the future. They want everything right now, but to be successful you need to have clear long-term goals. I am also providing opportunities for my team. I enjoy making a positive impact on people’s lives.”
“Once I understood my purpose, the business took off and we had continued growth. Then the pandemic came. We initially lost $400,000 of business, but we looked for the opportunities to present themselves. We leveraged, bounced and pivoted. We doubled our marketing efforts, changed our messaging to address new pain points, and while up to 50% of our competitors chose not to advertise, we became more visible in a less cluttered market. In every crisis, there is an opportunity and we grabbed it by the horns. My mother took risks and struggled to make a better life for us. I owe it to her to achieve my goals that she made possible.”
Nuñez has more balance in his life due to his dedication to routine, he said. He designates time for work, self-improvement and business visioning. He shares his hobbies with his children and friends including cooking, fishing, mountain biking and racing cars. In the future, he would like to find ways to fill basic needs for people in the Dominican Republic and hopes to speak to high school students about making financial decisions that will bring them attainable business success.
The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held virtually from Oct. 23 to 27.