Leetsma recognized as Young Entrepreneur

May 11, 2009
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Information Systems Intelligence LLC
Industry:
Communication technology
President/CEO: Ryan Leestma
Number of employees: 11
Year founded: 2002
Founder: Ryan Leestma

“I’d like to say it’s like, ‘Phew, we’re doing some things right.’ But the reality of the situation is that in this particular economy, it’s a feather in your cap,” said Ryan Leestma, about his company’s nomination for the Small Business of the Year award.

Leestma was also the winner of the inaugural Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. ISI, which Leestma started following his college graduation, has never had to take out a loan or receive investment from outside parties.

Leestma credited the quality of the people around him with helping make ISI the company it is today, and also having grown up in the right environment.

“There’s some innate talent that always bubbles to the surface if that person is put in the right environment, but the environment has as much to do with that individual’s success as the talent,” he said. “I was exposed to this business at a very young age. I’ve got a fantastic team that supports me.”

As far as the impact of the down economy on his business, he said: “The fundamentals of what we do haven’t changed over the past few years or so, but I think the challenge that’s come up since the economy has really turned south is it’s affecting people’s perceptions and their tolerance for certain things,” he said. “Things that used to be a small deal are turning into big deals. Decisions that should be made immediately — we’re seeing a lot of behavior that shows some level of indecision by customers out in the marketplace.”

Leestma still sees the glass as half full.

“Frankly, at this point, I’m fairly optimistic that we’re going to be able to grow,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to grow a ton, but I think we’re going to be able to grow some, certainly in terms of profitability.”

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