The Strength Is In The Pack, Jeff And Jack Say, And They Know Their Customers Benefit From A Diverse Team That Thrives In A Fun, Creative, Environment.
When Jeff Weinman was 13 years old, he was working on the factory floor of his father’s furniture manufacturing company, staining cabinet door knobs— by hand. It was certainly not a dream job for the preteen. As he worked his way up in the business, he found that running a company required more innovation than he realized. “Even when I was in school, I would come home and work in the shop. I grew up in the industry, and it’s eventually where I started to learn about IT and gain those skill sets,” says Weinman. “I realized that there are many layers in the manufacturing business. It requires much creativity to solve problems, and working in the factory is where I learned core knowledge of how to run a business.”
Designing Solutions To Fit The Business, Not The Other Way Around
Weinman worked his way through all the departments in the factory, some more successfully than others. He recalls a time as a teenager when he fell through a crack in a two-story mezzanine he was helping to build. As his legs dangled two stories above the ground, his supervisor took a photo to show Jeff’s dad that he was doing a great job of ‘hanging in there.’
He found his stride in the IT department with an IT director who spent time teaching him how to write code, fix computer components, and leverage technology to develop business solutions. At first, his skills weren’t always put to the most productive use. “Once, when I was alone in the back office, I was able to pass the security login to one of our computers,” says Jeff. At that time, computers were just terminals, green screens connected to a mainframe. “I gained full access to the payroll systems and gave my girlfriend, Monica (who later became my wife), a $4/hour raise. When the supervisors went to give her a raise a year later, they realized she had been making well above the raise she was about to earn! My dad was irritated, but I think he was happy I found something I was good at.”
One day, Jeff had an opportunity to put his IT skills to work. His father asked the team, “How can we make this business better?” Now that Jeff was surrounded by technology, he was inspired to think about that question through the lens of IT. He had spent time in most departments, so he had a unique understanding of their problems.
With technology at his fingertips, he was ready to find a solution that benefited the whole business. “I knew that if the engineers had a better process for getting furniture designs into manufacturing, we could be more efficient,” explains Jeff. He designed a custom software program that laid out all the parts to an engineer’s design, the size of the parts, and the information needed to build it on the shop’s floor. It was a game-changing solution for the business. He learned a priceless lesson: if you can understand the multiple dimensions of business operations, IT experts can build solutions that don’t just work but change how a business functions for the better.
A Chance Meeting At A Dinner Party
While Jeff was completing college courses, Monica worked full-time, and their son attended daycare. At the daycare, they became friends with another couple who were parents of their son’s classmate. The couple were entrepreneurs, owned an electrical contracting business, and invited Jeff and Monica to a dinner party. The guest list included some business associates, like the couple’s accountant. Mingling at the party, the CPA and Jeff chatted about computers. The CPA’s wheels turned, and he had an idea. He told Jeff he had a client who kept up with their books using a pencil and paper ledgers. “It took him a long time to do his client’s taxes because they used archaic methods,” says Jeff. “He asked if I could set them up with book-keeping software so they could work faster.” It was an excellent opportunity to build his network and get some experience outside of his coursework, so Jeff happily agreed to help.
After Jeff got the client set up with QuickBooks, the CPA was thrilled. His job became many times more manageable, and he promptly referred several more of his clients to Jeff. His networking was growing, and in 1995, Jeff founded Computer Dimensions, built on the very same framework that inspired him to design custom solutions for his father’s factory: building relationships and developing creative solutions that work. Tucson business owners have been outsourcing their IT to Computer Dimensions for more than 20 years.
Building The Dream Team
Relationships have always been at the core of Computer Dimensions. However, Jeff had no idea that a friendship he formed with Jack Enfield in his senior year of college would take his business to the next level— fifteen years later.
When Jeff and Jack saw each other in a senior IT course wearing sports jerseys, they realized they had more in common than their degrees. They were both college athletes and challenged the “nerd” stereotype that many people had of IT students at the time. Jeff and Jack held similar values, including teamwork, work ethic, and creativity. They became close friends, and after graduation, Jack graduated and took a job with corporate Xerox, and Jeff founded Computer Dimensions. The two stayed connected over the next several years, but the terms of their relationship changed in 2010 when Jeff and Jack realized they could take their careers in a new, improved direction— together.
Jeff has always had an entrepreneurial mindset. Leading up to 2010, Jeff noticed an opportunity for Computer Dimensions to meet the needs of a growing business climate in Arizona. To meet that demand head-on, his business needed to level up. The missing piece— Jack.
Jack had over 15 years of experience at a Fortune 100 company and understood corporate-level policies, procedures, and enterprise-class solutions. Jeff could have hired a consultant, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Jack. He was getting less facetime with clients in the corporate world, and he wanted to get back into building personal relationships. He agreed to come on board with Jeff in 2010. “I think we started growing exponentially at that point,” says Jeff, “putting some more fine touches on the business and some policies that Jack helped bring to the relationship.”
The two held similar beliefs about creative problem-solving, connecting personally with clients, and fostering an innovative work culture for the entire team. It was a natural partnership. Interestingly, one of their greatest strengths as business partners lay in their differences. “If two people agree on everything, it can create an unhealthy echo chamber,” explains Jeff. “Our different approaches create a healthy tension in the business which benefits our customers. We encourage one another to see new perspectives, and it challenges our business to create new solutions.” However, the one constant is the duo’s commitment to Computer Dimension’s foundational values.
Bringing Value Through Depth-Of-Service
Together, Jeff and Jack streamlined internal policies, creating effective systems, focusing on their core values of integrity, relationship-building, and fueling creativity. “We’ve always had the mindset that as we grow and become a bigger company, we want to maintain a tight team, a fun team, and a creative environment to not succumb to the corporate bureaucracy,” explains Jeff. “A good culture is critical to the different personalities of our team— the strength is in the pack. Having a strong collaborative and helpful team is ultimately going to benefit our customers.”
Expanding on Jeff’s factory roots, Computer Dimensions offers a depth of service based on relationships and a layered understanding of business operations. “We call the relationship with a client a ‘journey.’ We build a roadmap, and it’s a living document that’s always going to be there,” says Jeff. “What’s on the roadmap is near-term and long-term; it’s not just technology obstacles either. It’s also business changes and helps them strategically think about changes to the business later. Our unique depth goes beyond identifying technical risks and evaluating systems, to talking about business problems and how we can help as consultants.”
For more information on Computer Dimensions, visit www.computerdimensions.net.