Those who choose a career field in technology need to buckle their seat belts and hold tight for a rapid ride. The products, services and advances are ever changing – sometimes by the minute – and those who step onto this fast track must be prepared to put on their running shoes to keep up.
David Dunn, founder and president of VC3, has done just that. A true American success story, he cut his teeth in technology at NCR, which had a major presence in Columbia, employing 2,000 people, before it shut its doors. NCR made UNIX-based computer systems primarily for the financial industry, according to David, who started off there working on products and transitioned into information technology management and consulting.
David Dunn’s hard work at VC3 and his involvement in the community have paid off. In 2007 and 2008, VC3 was named one of the fastest growing companies in South Carolina. Then, in 2010 and 2011, his firm was cited as one of the best places to work in South Carolina.
When he left NCR in 1994, David boldly decided to start his own firm. “I did this by selling much of what I owned so that I would have some ready cash, and I moved in with my in-laws,” he says.
David opened an office in Columbia and began securing public and private sector clients who needed a full range of information technology (IT) services. It took him two years of hard work and frugal living before he really felt like VC3 was actually going to triumph in the highly competitive information technology arena. Today, VC3 has grown to include offices in Raleigh and Atlanta. A handful of employees in those offices service specific clients in those areas, but the bulk of VC3’s 76 employees work in Columbia at the company’s headquarters in The Tower at 1301 Gervais Street.
In addition to IT services, David and his team have created a suite of software products called Enrich, specifically for K-12 schools. This past August, VC3 signed a statewide license agreement with the South Carolina Department of Education for the software, which is designed to allow school districts to centrally store, report on and analyze student assessment information such as standardized tests. Already, it is in use in more than 50 South Carolina school districts. VC3 has partnered with a company called Excent to develop additional Enrich modules and sell the software nationwide.
Since VC3 is now 17 years old, David says he recently began considering its long-term future and decided that he would offer an Employee Stock Owner Program. “Over time, at no cost to the employees, VC3 will be 100 percent employee owned.”
Even though the company is well established, David says he is still racing to keep up with an ever-changing technology playing field. “It’s constant. Even our business model is changing. Cloud computing is the biggest thing going right now, and its impact is huge. We are moving away from selling equipment to our customers and instead purchasing it ourselves and offering it to our customers as a fully managed and hosted service.”
David, who hails from Myrtle Beach but decided to stay in Columbia after graduating from the University of South Carolina, says he enjoys the diversity of his job. “I like that there is so much change. I get to do so many different things each day, from working with customers to working with engineers to making decisions about products and services. That variety makes it fun for me … just keeping on top of what’s new.”
David says that Columbia’s workforce is stable, dedicated and talented. He also enjoys being involved in Columbia’s high-tech scene. He participates in IT-ology, which involves non-profit businesses, academic institutions and other organizations promoting the IT profession. IT-ology offers virtual job shadowing, career fairs, camps and gaming development programs, as well as internship programs for college students.
“It’s really about encouraging more kids to become involved in technology,” he says.
David is also on the advisory board for the Information Technology Council through the Chamber of Commerce and is involved in bringing monthly speakers to the Columbia area to educate about technology.
David’s hard work at VC3 and his involvement in the community have paid off. In 2007 and 2008, VC3 was named one of the fastest growing companies in South Carolina. Then, in 2010 and 2011, his firm was cited as one of the best places to work in South Carolina.