1) When did you start Alta Technologies?
Alta Technologies: The year was 1995 and Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” was a breakout hit while “Forrest Gump” surprised at the box office. Alta Technologies started with just a few hard-working, customer-focused people, looking to help IT professionals save money on enterprise IT servers and upgrades.
The company would really accelerate after the dot-com crash, buying up whole data centers from shuttered start-ups, to refurbish their gear for re-use in new server environments around the world.
2) How many people do you employ?
AT: We employ 57 people in Plymouth, MN. As of today, we stock over 1.3 million IT parts on site, shipping 150-200 orders each day, and we serve thousands of clients globally.
3) What’s a recent success you’ve had?
AT: Two years ago we expanded our hours to 24/7 in order to support maintenance customers and IT admins who can need equipment at all hours. By adding a 24/7 after-hours hotline and staffing weekends, we were able to expand our business with key clients by 40%.
4) How did you manage Covid-19?
AT: The team really stepped up in their flexibility and dedication to our clients. As an essential business, providing emergency parts to government orgs and corporations alike, we were proud to serve the crucial infrastructure of our nation. No day was easy, but between staggered on-site/off-site staffing, implementation of partitions and mask policies, and a lot of hard work, we got the job done.
As IT supply chain shortages grew, our business became even more crucial to the IT needs of businesses, because we had equipment in stock, while OEMs were backordered indefinitely.
5) Do you have any advice for anyone starting a business in your industry, specifically?
AT: In 2022, capital is everything. Due to consolidation and maturation of the space, the start-up costs and timeline required to launch an enterprise IT resale business have scaled up. 10 years ago, you might. have been able to launch on six figures capital and achieve profit within a year, but today it’s seven figures to even have a shot. For example, we buy millions in product each month to satisfy our clients and inventory replenishments.
6) What would you do with your business if you won a million dollars?
AT: As a company? Buy more inventory! Or hire additional buyers to find and buy more inventory. For me, if I hit a million dollar lottery (or even 100 million) … I’d show up the next morning and keep going. We do this because of the mission, the community at Alta, and the customers we feel we truly serve.
7) What do you attribute your success to?
AT: It’s the people, 100%. Our team has a can-do attitude for our customers. The team continues to just do the next right thing, always with integrity. It shows because our customers keep coming back. We avoid silos and embrace a “one team” culture, regardless of title, background or duties. We go above and beyond to respond and deliver quickly and with quality and expertise. I love working with this team each day.
8) What keeps you motivated?
AT: It’s pretty easy to stay motivated when clients tell us we’re “the good guys”. The mission of providing equipment faster and cheaper for our customers, yet in like-new condition and quality, while also keeping equipment out of a landfill? I can’t get enough of it.
95% of the equipment we buy is slotted for re-use, which is the highest form of recycling. Every year we can keep a server out of a landfill, it’s a plus. Any inventory that can’t be repurposed is recycled responsibly with our certified partners.
We also have a community here at Alta, and we want to work for one another. Some employees have been with the company for over 25 years, watching each other’s families grow and thrive.
9) Do you have a favorite business tool?
AT: I love using video screen capture tools to share ideas and feedback on projects, and tool I currently used is called Snagit, by Techsmith. Our days are so jam packed, so for quick information sharing, it’s great to spend just a few minutes doing a narration through my headset while I record and move through my on-screen documents and web pages. These tools allow for time-shifting, where my team, or a vendor, can watch these replays on their own time.
10) Where do you source your materials?
AT: Anytime an IT user or reseller ends up with excess equipment (servers, networking, or data storage), we want to be there to help them dispose of it, and even pay them cash or credit towards a trade-in.
So when a company moves physical servers to the cloud, we buy the excess equipment. When they do an upgrade to new servers, we’ll buy the 2 nd or 3 rd generation hardware back. When a company goes out of business or downsizes, we’ll buy all the equipment from their data centers, server rooms and network closets. Because we have a global client based thirsty for hardware, we’re always buying.
11) What metrics or analytics do you track?
AT: We’re constantly updating our KPIs, but a few things remain constant. Alta religiously tracks repeat business because quality and customer satisfaction is essential to everything we do. We take pride in having lower return rates than equipment sold new, and monitor our metrics to make sure our return rates stay below a half of one percent. Customers rely on Alta for our speed, reliability and quality.
12) Which state in the Midwest are you?
13) What is your favorite place to visit in your state?
AT: Williams Arena in Minneapolis is hallowed ground here in the Twin Cities. As a “Golden Gopher” alum of the University of Minnesota, it’s great to go back to campus for any game, but the atmosphere in the basketball arena, aka “The Barn”, is always electric. It’s a relic of past times, with a raised floor, wood
benches and a wild student section, and it’s hosted some great teams and Big Ten matchups throughout the years.
I also love biking through the Minnesota River Valley and to and around our urban lakes with my family. It’s a good life here in Minnesota.
14) What’s your website?
We’ve just revamped our brand and website to include custom server configuration pages with a cleaner ecommerce experience. For best pricing and bulk discounts, it’s still best to reach out to our team directly via phone or email.
15) What is your favorite sports team?
AT: I know we’re in “The State of Hockey”, but I just can’t quit my Minnesota Timberwolves. I love basketball, and even in the lean years, there were fun Wolves players to follow. Our state has had a lot of sports heartbreak over the years, giving us an eternal mantra of “there’s always next year”, but I think the Timberwolves luck might finally be shifting. The new owners are making moves and we have a young superstar on the rise in Anthony Edwards!