Breakwater And ITS Merge

June 5, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — ITS and Breakwater Technology Consulting merged in mid-March, forming the largest technology solutions provider headquartered in West Michigan.

Renamed ITS Breakwater, the blended company hopes to become the premier provider of Microsoft, enterprise, e-commerce and Web-based solutions for western Michigan and mid-Michigan companies.

The merger was a mutually attractive proposition for two companies that already knew each other well, said Chuck Hegarty, general manager of ITS Breakwater The firms were in talks about a month before sealing the deal.

“There are a whole lot of companies in western Michigan with good technology solutions. From a technology company standpoint, everybody knows everybody,” Hegarty said. “We were looking at getting into the Microsoft partner business. One thing led to another and it just made great sense for us to come together.”

Bob Sweezie, former owner of ITS, is president and CEO of ITS Breakwater; Fritz Byam is COO; and Greg Woods, former owner of Breakwater, is director of technology.

Sweezie said the merger positions the company as “the premier technology service provider” to emerging IT companies and research centers lining Michigan’s Life Sciences Corridor.

ITS brought to the company four business units: Digital Highway, which provides Nextel and wireless service; Core Support, which is similar to a staffing company; ITS Technologies, which provides such services as wide area network and security solutions; and ITS Networks, which is the largest Ameritech reseller in Michigan. Breakwater brings to the party its Microsoft architecture and development, Hegarty said.

“We really had core competencies in totally separate areas but very related areas as relates to technology solutions,” he said. “We are now a stronger organization that can offer a broader scope of technology solutions to our clients. We’ve become a more valued partner to our partners like Microsoft, Cisco, Nortel, Checkpoint and Citrix and we to them because more clients will come to us for solutions.”

ITS, a voice, data and network solutions company founded in 1984, has been providing WAN, VPN, remote access, security, wireless, IP Telephony and other technology solutions to businesses. It remains a “premier partner” for Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks. Breakwater has been offering IT consulting services in metro Grand Rapids since 1991.

The merged company moved into new headquarters at 4079 Park East a month ago. In addition to the Grand Rapids office, ITS Breakwater has offices in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Detroit and about 150 employees company-wide.

Within the next year to two years, the company expects to begin expanding its client base throughout Michigan and possibly to other states, Hegarty added.

“The bottom line is that the merger is going to help us grow and help us supply a lot of jobs.” 

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