How We Got Our Start: MidWest Technical Sales

Introduction:

My name is Dan Szewczyk and I am going to share a little with you about how MidWest Techncial Sales, Inc. (MWTSS) came into existence and how we acquired a stellar reputation that still exists today.

Bunker waiting for his favorite FedEx driver, Kelly

As a young man with intense interests in mechanical and electrical projects, it only seems natural that I would find myself enjoying a career in data storage.   After attaining a few degrees in education and having many a wide range of personal and professional experiences, in 1979 I found myself making plans with a group of fellow amateur radio enthusiasts to sell computer hardware.  Under the leadership of John Thome of OSI, we became dealers for Ohio Scientific.  This was back-in-the-days of an 8-bit operating system called CP/M that ran on 8-inch floppy drives.  Ohio Scientific had incorporated 3 processors into computers so they could run 8080, 8085 and Z80.   CP/M was state-of-art technology prior to DoS 16-bit systems. 

Our first sale was contingent upon us supplying software to run payroll services for 400 employees.  No software was available, so we found programmers to work with us on developing this new software.  In those days, this was a BIG DEAL.    The sale & follow-up were completed successfully. .    You may ask, “Why is this history of MWTSS of any importance?”. The TAKE AWAY (lesson/s learned) from this first sale was:  Always listen to your customer, clarify their needs, define manageable objective; then find the appropriate resources if/when needed.  All the while, keeping in mind that your end goal is to meet or exceed your customer’s needs. 

Moving on, after earning post graduate degrees, I started to work for Control Data Corporation (CDC).  I was assigned the task of running and/or managing a number Control Data Fair Break Learning Centers for adult learners, followed by supervising Control Data Institutes.   We were at the forefront in the use of computers to manage the instructional process.  These processes, paired with personal coaching, allowed the learners to complete the coursework and find employment after graduation.  The TAKE AWAY from this experience was:  Being able to determine what skills are necessary to reach your goal is personally rewarding.

After about 10 years of working for CDC, I had placed a boat for sale in my driveway.  The fellow that stopped to look at the boat, and ultimately bought it, was a former CDC employee.  We both remembered seeing each other at CDC.  He shared that he had left CDC and was selling computer related devices “for a profit”.  When he explained what he was doing and that he needed a business partner, it piqued my interest, especially if I could do something I enjoy “for a profit”. 

Not long after the driveway encounter and several planning meetings, we decided to become business partners.  Our first big purchase was a semi load of surplus 9-track tapes from AT&T.  We had no idea of what we could do with a semi full of those 2 reels twirling around & backing up data.  We forged ahead, devouring product information and were able to make a profit along the way.                                           

TAKE AWAY:  It was exciting to learn that data storage devices could satisfy customer needs.  We discovered that publications about tape drives were few and far between.  We learned that, through perseverance, research and experimentation, we could self-educate on many aspects of technology. This isn’t where it ends, because I ventured out on my own in 1990 to create Midwest Technical Sales and Service (MWTSS). In the early 2000’s Kathy joined our sales force. She had been working with North Central Peripherals, a family run business, selling memory and computer related products.   In no time, Kathy was up to speed in the tape drive world.   More recently, Kathy has joined MWTSS as a business partner where her vast array of skills and talents are invaluable.    As changes have been made over the years, we have continued to embrace those fundamental lessons we learned along the way:  Operate HONORABLY and RESPECTFULLY, while making a profit.       

MidWest Technical

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