Evan Desjardins loves a good quote, be it practical, inspirational or just downright funny. Mention the work of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, and Evan will offer a treasure trove of memorized wisdom with glee. In fact, if you spend any time with the CEO and founder of RoundTable Technology, you are sure to leave the experience with your outlook on your day (or maybe even your life) a bit sunnier.
This intentional demeanor has proved to be integral to his survival as he has navigated quite a few difficult transitions, the most dramatic of which involved the throwing of a cell phone toward a former manager in a blind rage. It was at this pivotal point in his career that he realized that by working for this particular company, one that valued profit over relationships, he had strayed from the meaning behind his most favorite quote, Zig Ziglar’s defining words: “You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
It was in 2010, following this incident, that Evan founded his company and began to truly understand the meaning of Zig’s words. “Freedom,” he says, “is the greatest value that any business can provide.” He is free from conforming to the status quo of filling his and his employees’ time with “billable” hours, free from the stresses of working for someone else who doesn’t share his values and free to be accountable directly to his clients. And by providing enterprise-level technology services to mission-based nonprofit organizations at small-business prices, RoundTable frees their clients to focus on their missions and impact.
Evan’s journey to this state of freedom involved many twists and turns, tracing back to car rides with his father at the age of 12. His dad, a shift mechanic, wanted more for his family than his career provided, and thus decided to follow his dream of working in the financial sector. “One of the ways my dad found to overcome the negativity in his life was listening to Zig’s motivational tapes that he picked up at a local closeout discount store,” Evan remembers. And just like that, his life was forever changed in a way he describes as one does a religious conversion. Evan watched as his dad worked to achieve this personal and meaningful dream of serving and helping others through a financial planning business, and as he grew up and entered the working world himself, he looked forward to “trying out” the positive messages that had filled his mind for so long. It would be an experiment he conducted with seemingly nothing to lose. Eager to begin working (and to marry his high school sweetheart), Evan dropped out of college after a year and began working for a help desk and mostly providing remote services. It was there that he first experienced what it was like to truly help people by something as simple (to him) as solving their technology problems. And later, when he was drafted to join a start-up software development company and lead a not-yet-existent network services division, he utilized his experience working with remote, cloud-based services to bring in revenue representing three quarters of the company’s annual earnings (more than half a million dollars).
Working nights, weekends and holidays with “an intensity I didn’t know was possible,” Evan was exhilarated by watching both business and money grow from nothing. It was here that he also met Joshua Peskay, Director of Information Technology and Technology Consulting for the Fund for the City of New York, who would play an important role later in Evan’s story. Business boomed, as did Evan’s family – his wife, Crystal, was pregnant with their second child.
However, Evan began to find himself in constant conflict with his management, more often than not taking the side of clients against a business he had helped create. Hours were billed that hadn’t been worked, revenue valued more than relationships… He no longer wanted his name associated with the business practices he witnessed, nor was he able to continue to endure the mistreatment he experienced directly (the most offensive being a promised promotion that was handed to another in such a way as to publicly embarrass him). The thankless work hours away from his family were taking an emotional and physical toll, and all of this led to the aforementioned “difficult transition moment” with the cell phone and, eventually, the end of his working with this business. (Note that this is the only known incidence of cell-phone-related violence – or violence of any kind – associated with Evan.)
The IT Kings, Inc., as Evan called his company at its inception in 2010, was up and running (albeit without a single client) mere days later. With Zig’s “helping others” directive steering him onward, he built his business in a way that made sense to him. Done with billable hours and driving around the state installing computers, he offered affordable cloud-based services to small businesses, nonprofits and mission-based organizations, appealing to the idea that they should focus on their individual strengths and needs…and leave things like hosting e-mail to the experts. In addition, he found himself inspired to partner with other local IT businesses as a cloud services provider and consultant.
They were barely getting by when, in 2013, a phone call from New York changed everything. Joshua from the Fund for the City of New York found himself in need of a new services provider (after ending his contract with Evan’s previous employer), and the rest, as they say, is history. Eventually, when Joshua was looking to join and help grow a small business, rather than run it, Evan stepped up, hired Joshua as an employee, renamed his company and took on clients from New York in addition to those he was serving throughout Maine. He knew then that his experiments in positive thinking had paid off. “Anybody can fix computers and networks in exchange for an hourly rate,” he attests. “But I found out what can happen if you genuinely care about your clients and internalize their needs.”
Eleven years after its humble beginnings, RoundTable Technology provides a wide range of services and service levels, including basic troubleshooting, cloud technology, websites, data management and fully managed IT services and strategy to hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits in Dallas, New York City and Maine. The business was named one of the world’s premier managed services providers on the prestigious 2020 annual Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings and ranked 12th overall in the Global Ranking of 501 of the world’s best technology services providers.
Among the accolades, Evan is most proud of the decades-long relationships he’s built, both with clients and with his own staff. With Evan at the helm, RoundTable nurtures a diverse and inclusive work environment, and one look at their website will prove that they are a fun bunch who enjoy working together. The business thrives on optimizing the talents of its employees and not only welcomes but seeks out thoughts and ideas from different perspectives. With a focus on personalized customer service, Evan ensures that anyone working for the company understands that it exists to help people and not just fix machines, and he employs nearly 30 others who are as passionate as their leader; whenever two or more are gathered (whether seated at a round table or not), the time is usually spent brainstorming how to better serve their clients.
Evan lives in Dallas with his high school sweetheart, Crystal, and their three children, Mya, Eva and Leo. When he succeeds in delegating and finds downtime, he loves reading fiction, volunteering at his church, putting together the Lego sets of his childhood dreams and playing video games.
He may not yet have everything in life he wants, but he’s pretty dang close. From the way he envisions his future and the future of his company, you’d almost think he was some sort of expert at positive thinking…and you’d be absolutely right.
For more information on RoundTable Technology, visit https://www.roundtabletechnology.com/.
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