Forty years ago, Russell Poucher was ahead of his time.
The Creative Resources Technology Group founder first began his love affair with the Mac when he stepped into desktop publishing – “before desktop publishing was a thing.” Even more radical: he was completely self-taught.
“I took an introductory computer class in high school, and my teacher actually told me I would never become successful in the computer industry,” Russell explains. “His comments were probably provoked by his frustration with my class pranks and disruptions.” Nonetheless, Russell had an affinity for computers and ultimately desired to do something significant.
A handful of years later and freshly out of college with a marketing degree, he renewed that fascination with computers. Those critical remarks back in high school didn’t stop Russell, and he secured a job as a graphic designer.
“All through the early days of technology, Mac was the only personal computer with a graphical-user interface. In my opinion, they were the gold standard for advertising and creative agencies. The computer field at that time offered MASSIVE opportunities for anyone interested in learning this unique operating system,” Russell continues. “The industry was exploding, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something exceptional.”
Russell continued developing and focusing his computer skills. This proved valuable, as his employer regarded him as both a designer and computer technologist. After several years into Russell’s career, his employer was purchased by a larger print business. Unfortunately, there was corporate turmoil with ownership mergers, acquisitions and management turnover. “After careful evaluation, I made the decision to move on and pursue employment with one of the most established prepress firms in Orange County,” Russell explains.
This was the mid-‘90s, and Russell focused his next efforts on prepress management and computer systems, exclusively using the Mac platform.
Blending both his design and computer skills, he stepped into the role of a Mac systems engineer. At the time, Apple created a new program designed for network technology professionals called the Apple Consultants Network. Russell joined and eventually became an Apple Certified Trainer. His future looked bright…until he found himself in the middle of an ethical dilemma.
Russell’s employer asked him to falsify employee reports and even dump toxic silver by-products down the sink drain (a big EPA no-no in California), in the name of saving money. “I also witnessed employees and customers being taken advantage of, and this was morally wrong,” he says. “I knew I couldn’t support these horrible activities and had to take action.”
The right choice was to inform the EPA. The consequence? His employer fired him.
That’s when he took advantage of his “golden para- chute,” and in 1996, Russell launched his own computer and IT services business. Creative Resources Technology Group was born.
Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None
PCs and Macs are two entirely different animals. But in today’s workforce, many PC consultants claim to be experts on the Mac. However, many techs only dabble in Macs and don’t have the necessary breadth of under- standing the intricacies of the platform. “Where other IT companies just don’t have the familiarity to be able to fully support the OS and its applications, we have the staff who do,” Russell explains. CRTG is pioneering the way as one of the original Mac-based IT Professional services firm. They support every aspect of Apple innovative solutions for small to medium companies. From investigating complex challenges to resolving ongoing IT issues, CRTG has the expertise to fix those problems when your network, Mac or even Windows devices are miserably failing. “I specialize in Mac, and other IT firms just don’t have that individual emphasis. Specializing in one or the other DOES matter and can make the difference for businesses seeking help with their Apple products and services.” While CRTG does specialize in Mac, Russell recognized the importance of working with PC clients to showcase their knowledge and how versatile they can be.
Freeing The Creative Community
Macintosh and desktop publishing are synonymous.
“Graphic design firms, digital marketing companies and ad agencies have unique IT needs,” Russell says. “They handle large files, have special software, hardware and other remote collaboration needs. Time-sensitive deadlines and urgent deliverables have created an expectation that requires highly responsive and proactive IT services.
“These creative industries don’t want to be the ones to deal with the daily IT infrastructure management. They want it to work without system malfunctions.”
Face-To-Face With Cosmetic Surgeons: CRTG’s Next Frontier
One thing creative services and cosmetic surgery practices have in common: Macs.
In a natural transition from general practitioners, CRTG has found itself gaining traction with managed IT services for Mac-based plastic and cosmetic surgeons in Southern California.
“Cosmetic surgeons love the aesthetic value of Macs. They have the power to run graphic-intensive applications like plastic-surgery simulators. With a longer life cycle and fewer support issues, medical offices have more uptime and efficiency,” Russell says.
Because of his long history with Apple and expert knowledge (he holds every Apple certification), medical practices and other nontraditional industries that run Mac turn to CRTG for their outsourced IT solutions.
The Devil Is In The Details
Russell sums up his competitive advantage in just three words: When “IT” Matters.
One company president says, “CRTG exceeded my expectations, and they are the only guys to go with. Their team is highly qualified and goes the extra mile.”
Russell credits positive feedback to his attention to detail. “Sure, we can onboard a hundred machines in a half-hour, but we won’t,” he says. “We’re going to make sure EVERYTHING IS RIGHT. My staff knows to question everything. We want to be clear on the how and why before closing out a support ticket.
“Our approach allows employees to be engaged at a deeper level with each client. We design, evaluate and implement solutions based on a thorough understanding of each client’s business needs,” Russell adds. “Trust is critical, and we dedicate every resource to be that IT advisor and strategist.”
Blazing The IT Trail
Russell was an early pioneer in the Mac-based IT support space in Southern California. Today, CRTG offers clients a one-stop experience connecting all aspects of IT infrastructure. Technology is more sophisticated, and CRTG has expanded to meet the current standards. Services such as co-cyber-security, data security management, CMMC compliance and cyber security reviews are just a handful of recent service offerings CRTG provides to keep businesses safe.
As a highly sought-after speaker, Russell has shared the national stage with cyber security and IT leaders like Kevin Mitnick and Steve Jobs. He also co-authored the book You Are The #1 Target, examining ways that businesses can create defenses against cybercrimes.
CRTG’s evolution continues to keep pace with innovations in technology. “We look forward to the future and want our customers to use that technology in productive and efficient ways,” says Russell.
Today, CRTG is regarded as the #1 Apple IT services provider in Southern California. Offering fully managed IT, cloud-hosting and cyber security services, CRTG earned the gold standard of excellence by concentrating on the Mac platform. Russell’s expertise and decades of experience have helped countless customers solve complex IT problems. Technology continues to move for- ward, and CRTG will continue to chase the best solutions for businesses.