By Jeff Morrow for TCAJOB
Justin Kasparek has always known what he wanted to do.
“I knew since I was 7 that I wanted to run a business,” he said.
[blockquote quote="Smart home technology is in its rebellious teenage stage. But I believe it will be in every home, some form of it, in the next five years." source="Justin Kasparek, CEO of JMK Tech" align="right" max_width="300px"]
Kasparek has done that for the past four years, running JMK Tech as the company’s founder and CEO.
“The major part of our business is providing IT services to businesses,” said Kasparek. “It saves companies on salaries and benefits. It keeps costs down, yet they understand the importance of IT.”
And he and his five employees help the 100 clients they have in an unusual way: as equal partners.
Kasparek remembers when what he calls the computer “geeks” would try to help customers with their problems. The geeks would lose patience, he said, then fix the problems themselves while at the same time making the customer feel dumb.
“I’m a people person,” he said. “I’m able to talk to a person — someone they could relate to. I’d say ‘Hey, call me if you have a problem.’ I want to take the stigma out of technical problems.”
In February, JMK Tech was honored by at the Richland Rotary Club’s annual Entrepreneurial Awards, based on the company’s ability to help its customer.
Kasparek has always been a problem solver.
“I used to drive my mom nuts,” he said. “I’d take apart my toys to see how they’d work.”
By the time he got to Kennewick High School, Kasparek thought he wanted to be a computer programmer.
He changed his mind not long into his freshman year.
“I hated it because of the language and the math,” he said. “But my teacher, Marc Long, thought I might be good as a troubleshooter.”
After graduating from high school in 1998, Kasparek spent much of the next 14 years working with computers and helping customers. He developed a knack for customer service.
He also built a strong reputation with his freelance projects as an IT professional for bigger computer companies.
That gave him the confidence to start JMK Technology Services (now called JMK Tech) in 2012.
Technology is an ever-changing dynamic and those who work in the industry are tasked with keeping up with the ever-changing developments.
“Because of the way technology advances, I spend 10 hours a week trying to stay on top of it,” said Kasparek. “I read news articles, watch television, see what Google and Microsoft are doing.”
Just consider how cell phone technology since the first commercial mobile phones were introduced in 1983. They were bulky, large and heavy, some weighing in at more than four pounds.
“Where cell phone technology has gone,” he said. “The phone is so central to you. I’d like to see phone headsets become a reality.”
Even he has been amazed with how fast technology has moved.
“In 2000, I worked as a Sprint PCS salesman,” he said. “They were talking about all of this technology that was blowing my mind. Then in 2007, they were blowing my mind with the iPhone.”
And now JMK Tech is turning its attention to the next big tech thing: smart home technology.
Imagine, for instance, taking a shower in your bathroom. Just by touching a few buttons, you could adjust the spray of the water, the temperature of it, and play your favorite music as well.
The possibilities throughout the home are endless.
“Smart home technology is in its rebellious teenage stage,” said Kasparek. “It's still trying to find its niche. But I believe it will be in every home, some form of it, in the next five years. There is a lot of cool technology out there.”
To that end, his company is working with Gale Rew Construction to put smart home technology in new homes.
“We’re figuring out how to complete the package,” Kasparek said.
But it’s not just about technology for Kasparek.
“I love business,” he said. “It gets me up in the morning. Business is my first love, not technology.”
And helping others realize their business dreams is his dream.
“My five-year dream is to make a place and be a source where people can come in with an idea and turn it into a business,” he said. “I can empower them and they can succeed.”
Now 36, Kasparek started JMK Tech working out of his apartment.
Then he moved into Fuse co-working space in Richland. It’s a place where startups, freelancers and telecommuters can work. And the ability to talk with other like-minded individuals on a daily basis is priceless.
“I attribute a lot of our growth from Fuse,” said Kasparek. “They provided me with a desk, an office and access. Being able to talk to the community about what we’re doing was important.”
JMK Tech has continued to grow and is now located in the I-3 Global, Inc., office at 3180 W. Clearwater Ave., in Kennewick.
“Helping people use technology is what I do,” Kasparek said. “My life is more about helping people.”
To that end, Kasparek’s company sponsors Launch University – a class for people trying to get their business off the ground.
“Launch University is a place where you can safely talk about your ideas and get customer validation,” Kasparek said. “This class has at least 12 people with 12 unique ideas.”
This is the third Launch University class, and Kasparek said six new businesses have come out of them.
It’s more what Kasparek sees himself doing down the road – although he expects JMK Tech to continue to grow and be successful.
“When I got started in business, I had no tools in my tool kit,” he said. “Now I think ‘How do I help people get tools in their tool kit?’ I’ve always had a passion to help. So many people are unhappy with what they do. And I always like new challenges.”
For more information, go to jmktech.com.
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