Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award nominee Mike Collins & Associates Inc. is an information technology solutions provider that has evolved with the constantly changing industry for the past 26 years.
"I think one of the most interesting things about Mike Collins & Associates is ... they have continued to adapt," J. Ed. Marston, vice president of marketing and communication for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, said. "It started in hardware and software and now is transitioning into cloud computing. It's really remarkable to have a local company stay on the edge of the technology curve."
The company currently has 64 employees spread throughout offices in Chattanooga, Nashville and Knoxville, where there is a one-person office, Mike Collins said.
The company has three major divisions and recently acquired Netalliant LLC.
With that acquisition, Mike Collins & Associates now has about 500 clients, Collins said.
"Our businesses lined up with each other very well," he said. "We were doing a lot of the same things, and the owners of Netalliant were ready to retire. We could take their customers and really expand on services that Netalliant wasn't able to offer."
The company is also expanding its office space, Collins said.
Leaders are working with architects to add about 8,000 square feet of warehouse space; a 2,500-square-foot data center, where they will store their services; and about 2,500 square feet of office space.
Collins said he hopes they will start taking bids for the project in the next 90 days and breaking ground within six months.
The company has a hardware division, in which employees repair everything from printers to handheld devices. That division has about 23 engineers who do on-site repair in Chattanooga, Collins said.
The company also has a repair center where employees repair equipment for companies such as Tractor Supply.
The business also has a managed services division with its own cloud, and the new data center will house servers to back up the information in the cloud. There is also another backup system in Nashville, Collins said.
In 2008, the company won the chamber's Small Business Award for the 20-50 employee category, and Collins said the team members are excited to be nominated again.
"It just adds the credibility in that marketplace with existing clients, and it obviously helps with new clients," he said. "It's quite a reward to our own employees. As a small businessperson, there's not a lot of 'attaboys.' This is one of those 'attaboys.'"
After being in business for more than two decades, Collins has done work with major companies such as Covenant Transport, Memorial Hospital and others.
"We are a homegrown company," he said. "We started here in Chattanooga, and the majority of our staff are graduates of UTC. My wife and I both graduated from there. We are very committed to this community."
Editor's note: This is the third in a series of stories about the finalists for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Awards.