Q&A with Ryan Barton, CEO of Mainstay Technologies
Why did you found Mainstay?
I wish I could say I was one of those entrepreneurs who saw the full vision from day 1! The reality is I started working in the IT industry when I was 12 (building websites for clients) and worked in an IT consulting firm at 16, so helping people with technology has been an unceasing part of my life for decades. In 2004, when I was unsure what direction to take my career I had a few organizations ask if I could help them more formally with their computer challenges… they became my first clients (many of them we still work with to this day)!
The company that became Mainstay built organically from there – we’ve never taken outside investment, have no debt, and are blessed to have had significant consistent growth. When the first employees came on in 2007, I was fortunate to hire some truly wonderful people that became the nucleus of the team today. I have learned and grown a tremendous amount over these years and can’t wait for the next decade of personal and company growth offering IT services in New Hampshire.
What about Mainstay today makes you most proud?
Unquestioningly, it’s the team. We are so blessed to have a team of committed, smart, hard-working, fast-learning professionals who do an unbelievable job for our clients. I thoroughly enjoy working with each and every one of them.
What do you see changing for Mainstay in the next few years?
We live in a world of exponential technology growth – growth so fast that it can be violently disruptive. To be worthy of the trust our clients place in us, we must be relentless about what we learn. We must be diligent about our clients’ businesses, about new technologies, and about more effective ways to deliver service. We exist to enhance our clients’ organizations and that’s a great responsibility. In the next few years, I expect to see us invest even more in the training and development of our team, continue to develop ways to be more innovative and effective in service delivery, and grow as a company.
Where did the core values come from?
Some years after Mainstay was founded, we found that we kept asking questions like “was this applicant a Mainstay guy?” or “did we handle that situation in the Mainstay way?” And we knew in our gut what we meant, but we couldn’t articulate it well to those outside the company. So we all got in a room and started writing on a whiteboard all the words we thought of when we thought of the “Mainstay way.” We boiled it down to those 6 core values, and they serve us well today. They serve as guardrails – however, we evolve as a company, as long as we stay ferociously committed to these core values, Mainstay will continue to be a great company years down the road and will be true to what really matters. If you pursue success but lose your integrity, give up being team-driven, compromise on excellence, lose your passion… what’s the point?
How do you define success for Mainstay?
By success at our mission! There’s a reason our mission reads as it does. I’m passionate about business done right. A well-built business is an engine that creates value – it doesn’t take from others, it creates value through hard work and the application of skill and knowledge. Our success is tied to the value that we create for all our stakeholders. Success in a client relationship is defined as creating more value for the client’s organization than we cost it. Were we able to use great technology to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase job satisfaction, and improve general happiness at a client, and did that result in an increase in value at the client’s business that exceeded what they pay us for the services? That’s success. Were we able to help a team member grow, see their career flourish, provide meaningful work, encourage and mentor, and provide for their whole family, in a way that they are blessed by Mainstay beyond what they would expect for their contribution? That’s success. Can we do that across all our relationships, and all our stakeholders? Be a profitable company that is a force for good and is excellent by every measure? That is our vision and my driving passion!
What’s one thing you wish prospective clients or prospective team members knew?
Simply that we’re genuine. We try hard to do the right thing, care about those around us, and work hard to do seriously quality work. We are building a business with people for whom work is more than a job – it’s a passion, a chance to positively impact the world, to provide well for their families, to serve clients, to improve people’s lives, to grow, to adapt, to learn. One of the things that drives me is ensuring (as much as I can) that each and every client and every team member feels the impact of that focus.
Why is Mainstay located where it is?
Because I am from the Lakes Region of NH – I grew up here and live here today! And when I started the business, this area was incredibly supportive and in need of our style of technology services. As we grew and became established, we opened the Manchester office to serve our clients and staff in that area and continue to expand south. I’m proud that we’re a New Hampshire business and have found the northern New England business community to be a very supportive one. Everyone knows someone in common around here. Word gets around fast, and I attribute much of our success to that tight-knit community and all the folks who have been well served by Mainstay and their generosity in spreading the word!