By Todd R. Weiss
When MVP Network Consulting held its annual picnic for its 18 employees and their families on Sept. 10, 2011, it was to be a day of fun, food and friendship. But while playing a pick-up game of touch football with employees, co-CEO Jeremy Pollock, only 38 years old, had a massive heart attack and died in the Buffalo, New York, park where the event was being held.
For the then nine-year-old MSP and MSSP, it was a devastating day.
A few days later, Ikram Massabini, Pollock’s co-CEO, and the rest of his company’s team began trying to regroup.
“We came back to the company and didn’t know what to do,” Massabini said. “We had to completely reinvent ourselves, from the products we were selling to the company’s organization.”
Pollock and Massabini, who had worked together in the past, bought MVP in August of 2002. Until his premature death, Pollock was a core part of the business, involved in nearly every stage of the product life cycle. He conducted R&D and wrote code, helped test it and developed documentation for how to install and sell it. Pollock even delivered solutions to customers.
“Jeremy handled the back of the house,” said Massabini. “I had no idea what was going on back there. He did just about everything and told us what to do with it. And then we went and sold it.”
That meant Massabini had to relearn the business from top to bottom.
On the first work day after Pollock’s death, the first thing Massabini and his team members did was create a leadership team to help guide the now shell-shocked company.
“We came back and we selected a couple of our top techs and our top sales guy for the leadership team, which was tasked with running the company using committees and figuring out how to grow it moving forward,” he said.
The team pulled together to continue Pollock’s mission. They wanted to make him proud. But it has not been an easy road. Massabini said it took MVP six years after Pollock’s death to get back to where it wanted to be. The leadership team helped dramatically with the company’s transition by adding structure, providing direction and helping to determine how to best serve MVP’s customers.
During those six years, MVP tripled in size to 51 employees, added its own 2,000-square-foot on-site data center to better serve its customers and moved into providing cloud services and consulting to follow emerging trends.
“Things were tenuous at times,” said Massabini. “We were stuck a little bit.” In fact, MVP held stagnant at $2 million in revenue for a couple of years due to concerns from clients about the company’s growth prospects…