Company with ambitious goals injects humor into business model
For someone serious about building the business-to-business IT services company he founded into one of the biggest in Florida, if not the country, Greg Zolkos puts a premium on goofiness.
The company, Tampa-based Atlas Professional Services, has all the markings of a fun and hip work environment, down to the gaming lounge, beer fridge and ugly sweater parties. While Zolkos is driven to outperform expectations for every client, he says he realizes his company isn’t putting out fires or curing diseases. “Sometimes it pays off to keep things jovial and light,” he says.
'Sometimes it pays off to keep things jovial and light.’ Greg Zolkos, Atlas Professional Services
For most of Atlas’ clients, the company is a full-service IT help desk and managed services provider. But for many others, the model is a co-managed IT services provider, where Atlas collaborates and complements the client’s IT operations. Most clients are on a monthly service contract.
Zolkos founded Atlas in 2006. Prior to that, he oversaw IT for Tampa-based precast concrete company Cast Crete. In that role, he managed network infrastructure for 450 employees across 16 locations. He also worked closely with the company’s leadership team and many of its clients.
That taught Zolkos, 40, some valuable lessons he took to his own company.
One lesson: Monitor growth to make sure it’s in line with the right personnel. Says Zolkos: “You have to make sure you don’t outgrow your service capabilities.”
Another important lesson, says Zolkos, is that customer service is everything in IT, where every client’s problem can seem like the end of the world. That’s why he’s invested a good amount of time and money on Atlas’ project management and ticketing program.
At Atlas, for starters, the initial help desk clients call is staffed by experienced engineers — not mere ticket-takers and gatekeepers, says Zolkos. While having senior staffers there might cost more, Zolkos says it provides quicker response times. “The higher-level engineers can often resolve the issue with one phone call,” Zolkos says, “instead of having to escalate it to multiple people.”
(This story was updated to clarify the services Atlas provides for clients.)