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From left: Mike Kelly, Chelsey Bode and Lee Flood
McKenzie Robinson | SBJ
From left: Mike Kelly, Chelsey Bode and Lee Flood

2021 Economic Impact Awards 16-29 Years in Business Honoree: Pearson-Kelly Technology

Digitized Demands

Posted online

The rapid growth of Pearson-Kelly Technology is the result of technological innovations, forward thinking and agility forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, says President Chelsey Bode.

As information technology solutions have shifted from phones, copiers and fax machines to VoIP calling and cloud-based solutions, Bode says the company has made bold strides to keep pace.

“When we started, it was a very small organization. Our goal was, let’s work hard to be good to our clients and be a great partner and the rest would figure itself out,” Bode says. “We outgrew that.”

Growth for the company began to accelerate after its 2009 acquisition of Robinette Business Systems. That increased not only the company’s client base but also its staff count.

That led to the realization that Pearson-Kelly’s leaders needed to take a harder look at who the firm was and where they wanted it to be.

“Getting our 10-year vision dialed in and making sure we could communicate that clearly so (employees) knew what kind of organization they would be working for” was crucial, Bode says.

By 2014, Pearson-Kelly’s footprint had grown sufficiently to demand the opening of an office in Joplin.

Perhaps the biggest recent shift in thinking was forced by the pandemic. Bode describes it as one of the worst and best things to happen.

The worst: At the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of revenue came from service agreements and print. The stay-at-home order slashed that in half, but Bode was determined to keep everyone on staff.

That led to the best: As the company’s controller got the fiscal house in order through loans, grants and collecting outstanding accounts, the operations team worked on cutting the onboarding timeline for new clients and managed projects by 50%. It also put greater emphasis on selling recurring services such as VoIP and managed IT. By the end of the year, the company experienced a 93% revenue increase in those services.

Its success has allowed the firm to give back to the community. Employees sit on a number of area nonprofit boards, including The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. In 2017, a group of employees created the Give Back Initiative. Over the years, the group has helped raise money and collect items for drives including clothing collections for Harmony House and a young professionals’ group in Joplin, which collected business attire for Missouri Southern State University students.

Bode expects Pearson-Kelly’s growth to continue – next step into northwest Arkansas.

“We want to continue to grow not just to get bigger, but because we’re offering something a little different to our clients,” Bode says.

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