James Rocker, chief executive of iNetworks in Holbrook, says he...

James Rocker, chief executive of iNetworks in Holbrook, says he likes to hire people with customer-friendly skills. (Oct. 28, 2011) Credit: Heather Walsh

James Rocker may now be the kind of guy who has to have the hottest tech gadget, such as his new Motorola Droid Bionic smartphone. But the president of iNetworks Inc. in Holbrook says he wasn't always a "computer nerd." He caught the bug from roommates while attending the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

After he graduated, he worked for an information technology company servicing area school districts. After hours, he worked with a few of his own customers, launching his present business in 2005, which, he says, has seen revenue growth each year.

Starting the business was a "leap of faith," says Rocker, 34. But he found inspiration from reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter. That "helped me jump-start out of the employee mentality and shift my mindset to the business-owner mentality."

 

What's your biggest headache?

As the company grows, to hire "the right people to deliver the level of customer service I've been delivering . . . Clients call here, and they can get the business owner, the president of the company. It's the personal touch."

 

What do you look for in job candidates?

"Yes, the technical skills are important, but I can train them in that. . . . I like to hire for attitude and customer-service ability and good personal skills." When customers call, they may be "frustrated over a computer issue." They don't want "a frustrating person at the other end of phone."

 

What's the hot trend in your business?

Mobile phone applications and phone-friendly websites. "We're creating a simple [app] for ourselves," one that allows customers to "create a support ticket from their phone and see our Web portfolio from a phone."

 

What's a problem that you've solved?

An internal workflow issue. Early on, "I was trying free or cheaper solutions, a free open-source-type support-request ticketing system. For what we were at the time, it worked great, but as we started to grow I knew we needed a much more efficient process. A year and a half ago we changed to more sophisticated ticketing system that [to begin with] enables us to have customers generate tickets from their email or phone calls . . . It's an all-in-one program [making] our internal workflow a million times more efficient."

 

Early influences that prepared you to run a company?

"I've always been a take-charge person. . . . I was a senior patrol leader in Boy Scouts, in charge of 20 kids. (He was also an Eagle Scout.) I had to lead them on trails and in projects and in doing events. I now look back at it, and I think, wow, wasn't that something. I never even had to think about it. It just came naturally."

 

CORPORATE SNAPSHOT

NAME: James Rocker, president and chief executive

COMPANY: iNetworks Inc., information technology support firm for small businesses, Holbrook

WHAT THEY DO: "We give [clients] peace of mind. It goes a long way knowing they can pick up the phone and, as we are a small company, not sit in a queue with 100 other calls."

STAFF: Three full-time, four-part time, in roles such as network engineer, graphic/Web design, software/phone app developer

REVENUE: $800,000 expected this year