Article by Katie Nussbaum, originally published in the Savannah Morning News Sunday, October 13, 2019. Photo by Steve Bisson.
For 20 years the team at Infinity Inc. has been providing Savannah’s businesses with solution-based information technology plans to help their businesses grow, but for founders Chuck Brown and David Brown the interest in technology started long before the company opened its doors.
“Our dad worked for ADT alarm company. He would bring electronic junk home, and I would play with it and make messes. And when I went to college, we had teletype machines, and [learning how they worked] was the most interesting thing I did, so it kind of stuck,” said Chuck, who founded Infinity, Inc. alongside his brother David in 1999.
“It was one of those things where the first computer class I took, I knew I wanted to do something with that. That was what led me to do this.”
Both Chuck and David earned IT-related degrees from Armstrong University, now Georgia Southern University. After college. Chuck took a job with the City of Savannah where he stayed for 15 years before venturing out on his own.
“I started taking on outside work, and it got to the point where I couldn’t do both. So I decided to go off on my own,” he said, adding that David, who was then doing similar work for the United States District Court, decided to quit his job and come on board at Infinity.
“It scared our parents to death because we didn’t get along as kids, but we’ve been doing it ever since.”
A Growing Industry
When the company began, a lot of their clients were construction companies, and there was a heavy focus on serving small businesses, Chuck said.
“I think there was such a dearth at the time of companies like us who serviced small businesses,” he said.
″…Obviously things are a lot more competitive now. It’s a lot more focused now. Security at the time was an afterthought, and now security is at the top of everything we do.”
Besides a heavy emphasis on security, plenty of other things have changed in the industry during the last two decades, including simply selling and fixing equipment, Chuck said.
“You fight the urge to tell people when they ask you what you do, ‘we sell computers.’ Because that’s what people see our industry as if you’re not in the industry. ‘Oh, you’re a computer company, you come and fix stuff,’ [people think]. We do…but the guidance, advice and strategy is far more important than selling you a computer,” he said.
Today, Infinity offers everything a business needs from an IT standpoint, including managed services, network security, server virtualization, cloud servicing, document management, IT consulting, video monitoring and more.
“We’re a very relational company. We try to form strategic relationships with our clients. We want clients who want a long-term relationship with an IT company they can trust, that they know is going to take care of them,” Chuck said.
What they won’t do is go into a business and rapidly change the systems. Instead they meet with the company’s leaders on a regular basis and help them develop a road map so they can get the business where they want it to be over time, Chuck said.
“We want to understand their goals and aspirations for the company,” he said.
″…We work in a very fast paced industry where things change a lot faster than the people we work for understand they change. And it’s our job to stay abreast of those things and make sure we’re guiding people in the right direction. And that means guiding the company in the right direction itself. And they trust us to do that.”
A Strong Bond
While both Chuck and David have similar ownership duties, one thing that has kept Infinity successful and growing is their differences. Chuck said he tends to focus on long-range plans, while David addresses the day-to-day operations.
The brothers have also made a point to focus on family both for themselves and their 25 employees.
“From the get-go we both prioritized family. And if it’s a question of taking care of your family or taking care of us, you take care of your family first,” David said.
“Twenty years ago I worked an awful lot more at home than I do now, but for the most part I think we’ve balanced it fairly well.”
Their bond as brothers also gives them a level of comfort and peace of mind that other companies may not have, Chuck said.
“You have a lot of companies where the owners don’t trust each other. David and I know we have each other’s best interest at heart, so there’s no fear there. And that takes a lot of pressure off,” he said.
“That is one of the benefits of family that I guess some partners develop over time, but it takes a long time for a non-family partner to have the same level of trust that a family member does.”
Word of mouth has also helped grow their business and, simply stated, Chuck and David said that’s a result of always doing the right thing.
“Where a lot of companies have failed, we’ve survived, and the biggest reason is word of mouth. Our clients know that we will treat them the right way. We take care of our clients. We do things the right way. And we take care of vendors, employees, customers the same way,” Chuck said.
“It’s just a way of viewing the way we’re supposed to do things, and I think that that very much sets us apart from our competition.”
Looking ahead, Chuck said he hopes to slowly and steadily grow Infinity’s client base, but both he and David also expect more of the same when it comes to the company’s core value of doing the right thing, always.
“We have a great company with great people, and we want to continue with great people. We want to continue as we grow to have the ability to make their lives better,” David said.