There’s an intrinsic relationship between sports and business. It is parallel where a perfect balance of synergy and sagacity exist, but to capitalize on this utopian position requires a rare combination of finesse and discipline. This is where Robert Hessel shines.
Robert is chairman and CEO of Source 1 Solutions, an IT solutions and managed service provider headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, with additional offices in Ireland and the UK. Under his direction, the organization provides network operations in 118 countries with full-time employees in 17 countries. Utilizing nearly three decades of experience in business management and skills acquired during his military service, Robert not only ensures his clients receive world-class service, but that the organization maintains a team culture conducive to retention and growth.
Perhaps it is the resolve and drive he learned from sports as a champion student-athlete, or the strength and comradery he experienced during his service in the U.S. Navy, but the culmination of these principles has surely contributed to his penchant for safety and security. In evidence of that, Robert’s book, Safe City: From Law Enforcement to Neighborhood Watched, shares his expertise on keeping cities safe so that people can thrive, a message consistently carried throughout Source 1’s corporate culture. The book debuted as the #1 New Release in the Privacy and Surveillance in Society section on Amazon. In his own words, Robert shares, “Securing and serving our neighborhoods is essential to fulfilling community responsibilities. Empowering and helping others is non-negotiable.”
We spoke with Robert to learn more about how he got into IT and security, what makes Source 1 Solutions unique, and what drives him toward continued growth.
Robert, tell us how you got into the field of IT.
I joined the military after my first year in college, where I was stationed in Jacksonville. I fell in love with Florida and ended up moving to Tampa and selling telecommunications equipment. Over time, I advanced to VP of sales, then became a partner in the company. In 2011, I decided it was time to build something that would improve upon the industry standard of customer service. So, with just $5,000 and no investors, Source 1 Solutions launched.
And how has the company evolved over the last decade?
No different than any other start-up, in the beginning, we took on any deal in the industry to generate cash flow. With tenure and experience, we matured and better identified our core business offering. Once the core offering was truly established, that’s when became profitable.
Similar to how the business matured, our relationships with customers in the industry matured as well. With those stronger relationships came more and better opportunities. Those opportunities came with more profitability and the ability to say “yes” or “no” to deals, which really defined what our core business is today.
What makes Source 1 Solutions unique?
Source 1 Solutions primarily works with two types of customers, globally: end-users and channel partners. In both scenarios, we offer “white-label” services. This means that we take on the brand identity of the customers we serve. These enterprises retain us as their partial or entire IT department. Meanwhile, their customer never knows they’ve outsourced IT management to us. Outsourcing IT needs to Source 1 comes with incredible benefits. Aside from versatile skillsets to lean on and layers of built-in accountability, we were named one of Inc. 5000’s Best Workplaces in America, which makes us very attractive when recruiting top talent.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
After so many years in business, nothing quite beats seeing my team succeed both professionally and personally. During the toughest times these past few years, we were so proud to see our people buying their first homes and expanding their families. Beyond that, it would be considering our future and employing strategies that will continue to support our success.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
First, we just celebrated our 10-year anniversary, which statistically, is not an easy feat for an entrepreneur. Also, becoming a global brand and being named a Best Workplace in America. Personally, I was honored to be one of Industry Era’s Top 10 CEOs of 2021 and, of course, being featured in Beyond the Game, a documentary that follows the journeys of celebrated athletes as they transition to second careers in business, entertainment, and entrepreneurship, which premiers later this year.
Lastly, Robert, if you had to summarize your objective in a single sentence, what would it be?
To use my entrepreneurial experience, passion for technology, and understanding of global markets to empower others and give back to the community.
Source 1 Solutions awards include: Inc. 5000: Best Workplaces in America 2021, Inc. 5000: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, Business Observer Top 500: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, TBBJ Fast 50: 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, SD & I Fast 50: 2018, Honeywell Community Service Award: 2014, 2015, 2019, Honeywell Outstanding Sales Achievement: 2014, 2019, MSP 501: 2020, 2021, TBBJ Top Veteran Owned Business: 2020, Private Titans: 2020, TBBJ Best Places to Work: 2019, 2020, Inc 500 Florida #11: 2019, SMB Hot 1010: 2020, and Top 500 Largest Companies on the Gulf Coast: 2020, 2019, 2018
Source 1 Solutions
LinkedIn: Robert Hessel
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