As Conversant Group approaches our 10 year anniversary, we fully understand that where we are today would not be possible without employees who have poured their time and skill into the company.
Compared to others in the industry, the company is relatively young, and so are some of its employees.
One of these is Taylor Witt, who has worked for Conversant Group as a managed service technician for 5 years, making him the company’s longest-term employee (other than our President of course).
Witt first came to know of Conversant Group when they acquired his mom’s business as a customer. During one of their routine service visits, one of the Conversant employees told Taylor that he should apply at Conversant Group, so he did.
Still a college student, Witt emailed John Smith and said, “Hey, they told me to email you so here’s my resume”.
When asked to describe his first interview, Witt said this, “When I came in, John was the first person I met. At the time we had about 10 employees, so there weren’t a lot of people to meet. I walked in and sat down with John and 2 other people. John definitely stood out. I feel like I should remember more about the interview but everything else was kind of eclipsed by him. I was a little bit thrown back, because he was very, well… John. He was still doing technical work at the time so it was different because he was in a bit of a more laid back role than he is now.”
Witt didn’t have much time to question if the interview went well because Smith ordered his computer before he left the building. Within 45 minutes of getting home John emailed him a formal job offer.
Witt finished by reflecting on the past 5 years, “It’s funny looking back because it’s so much different than what I expected. If I could go back and give myself advice after that first interview I would say, ‘just prepare yourself for the level of stress that you’re about to go through, but also take more time to let everything sink in’.”
Not long after I started I remember getting on a plane to go to Sacramento, CA and while I was on the plane I had this moment where I realized I was on my first business trip and that I wasn’t just a student anymore but a successful full-time employee. That moment was significant because it was the first time I really felt like I had made it.
One of the big things that has surprised me is how quickly John has created this business. Five years ago we only had 5 people on the technical staff, including me (who, at the time, was not a very technically proficient employee). To think that in five years we’ve gone from 10 employees to 35 is just crazy. Also, to consider the fact that we are currently full, apart from the one desk we have open and to see how quickly that has happened, it’s just been such a surprise.
When I started, I would have never thought that we would one day be sitting in a building like this, in a building that’s full. The building we were in when I was hired was so different. The walls were dark and faded and the only windows we had looked directly into a parking garage, and we stayed in that building until was bought out.”
Witt often tries to explain Conversant Group to people who have never encountered the company before but realizes that it is difficult to convey in brevity exactly what it is that makes the IT and infrastructure company so successful.
“Sometimes I try to describe to people what Conversant is, and it’s honestly hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t understand the technical aspect, so sometimes instead of explaining what we do I just explain the things that set us apart: our people and John Anthony Smith. John has cultivated this culture that has taught me so much. Everyone seems to care about their job, and not just the technical people who get a lot of face time with the customers, but also the accountants and the interns.
The people are more than just a group you share an office with. You share your evenings with them, and your dinners and big life moments. Michael Williams is someone I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t work at Conversant Group, and I was in his wedding two years ago.
When I reflect on why I’ve been here for five years more than anything I think about the people. We have so many people who are willing to socialize outside of work and that creates this family feeling, that’s probably the most important reason, because family is really important to me. If someone walked up to me after I got that job offer 5 years ago and told me that I would still be here in 5 years I wouldn’t be surprised. After meeting John I could just envision myself being here for a long time, something about him was different and I just had this good feeling about it.”