Little Dream Turns Into Big Reality

December 9, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — It is not often that a boyhood fantasy becomes reality, however, in Mat Nguyen's experience that is exactly what happened.

Nguyen, president of Worksighted has dreamed of starting his own business since he was a young boy. A task that in France and his hometown of Paris, however, was nearly impossible.

"The economic situation was not good and it would have been very hard to start my own business over there," Nguyen said. "It was also hard to go to school and all of that was possible here."

When Nguyen's dad was offered a position at Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI), the family decided to make the move from Paris to Holland.

Nguyen enrolled in Hope College and pursued a triple major in computer science, business and Japanese. During his senior year he interned at JCI and upon gradation was offered a full-time position with the company.

"I had to make the decision then to either take a secure job with a secure salary or to go out on my own and take a risk with starting my own business," said Nguyen.

The choice was simple. And at the ripe age of 21, Nguyen started Worksighted.

Worksighted is an information technology company offering integrated technologies to small to medium sized businesses in Holland and Grand Rapids.

Getting off the ground was a challenge but also made possible by the strong group of people Nguyen has surrounded himself with, including his board of directors and neighbor and mentor, Dan Driesenga.

The board of directors is comprised of directors from JCI, and other business people from the area with specialties including marketing and finance.

"We meet on a bi-monthly basis and just go over the basics," said Nguyen. "They are very good at advising and offering suggestions and making decisions when it comes to the business."

Nguyen calls Driesenga, of Driesenga & Associates, who also works in the suite next door, a mentor because of the help he offers on a daily basis.

"I have been fortunate to have him here and he has been kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule and sit down and talk to me, whether it is setting goals, talking about business aspects like how to treat my employees or how to take the company to that next level, he has been a great coach."

Within Worksighted there are two areas of service, the IT group and the web group. Under those headings, the company services the client with Internet, Intranet and Extranet development, customized e-commerce implementation, development and maintenance of integrated database systems, project launches and marketing microsites.

As well as network design and implementation, network administration and security, LAN/AWN integration, server deployment and systems administration and support. Worksighted also offers a design team including graphics and logo design, presentations, multimedia, image and movie processing.

"We are really the one stop shop for multimedia and development design," said Nguyen. "And we continue to grow."

Over the last year the business grew so much that it decided to open a second office in Grand Rapids to better serve its clients. Saving clients time and money was what it was all about said Nguyen and in turn it happened to save the company time and money as well.

It is Nguyen's hope that the business will continue to grow to reach more of the Muskegon, Spring Lake, Grand Haven area and eventually work its way up to Traverse City.

It already serves from Kalamazoo, up through Grand Rapids and into Holland, the company's home base.

Within Holland Nguyen feels it is important to be involved in the community and with the other businesses in the area. To accomplish that Worksighted is part of the Holland Chamber of Commerce's Benefits Program, which offers Chamber members discounts at certain participating businesses.

Worksighted has joined to offer members discounts and packages to help take the company into the information technology age.

And when Nguyen isn't taking other companies on a voyage of self-discovery in the information age, he is doing a bit of wandering himself and emanating the phrase of "work hard to play hard."

A self-described lover of travel, Nguyen said he takes every opportunity he can to get out and travel through Europe, North America, Canada and wherever the winds may take him.

"I love to learn about different cultures and I think being from a different culture I can understand that a little better and save all of my resources to do it," he said.

He also enjoys all sports, skiing, tennis soccer and in his "spare" time, tickling the ivories, although not as much as he would like to, he admitted.

All of his travel and relaxation is also supported by the staff he has built around him, which he noted have been integral to the company's success.

"It is hard to leave, but I know I can because I have great employees," Nguyen added. "That is really the key to success and when I have to think long-term I know these are the people I want taking our business to the top and the people I know I can depend on to take it there."

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