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Shannon McMurtrey, co-founder and president of McMurtrey/Whitaker & Associates Inc., left, speaks with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson.
Shannon McMurtrey, co-founder and president of McMurtrey/Whitaker & Associates Inc., left, speaks with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson.

McMurtrey/Whitaker & Associates grows alongside Web improvements

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When the World Wide Web began to blossom in the mid-90s, Shannon McMurtrey saw an opportunity that is now a full-blown e-commerce and support business.

McMurtrey, co-founder and president of McMurtrey/Whitaker & Associates Inc., sat down this morning with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson as part of the monthly 12 People You Need to Know series.

From his initial consulting work placing local businesses' brochures online, McMurtrey took to the Internet quickly and started to build a business model.

"As the Internet bubble grew, we rode that," he said, noting that his partner Bryan Whitaker, brought on in 1993, shares a similar mindset. "We were so fascinated at the idea that we could write a program one time and make money over and over and over again."

The company's flagship product is the Cart32 e-commerce software which facilitates between $15 million and $30 million in online sales each month among the more than 3,000 active global customers. That volume of online sales has drawn interest by check-out partners such as Google, Microsoft, Paypal, buySafe, UPS, USPS, FedEx and DHL.

By offering Paypal as an option for customers purchasing items through Cart32 software, the company has become one of Paypal's top 30 for offerings its services, McMurtrey said.

"If it's going to benefit our merchants, we want to be a part of it," he said of adding additional payment options.

Only about 50 of Cart32's clients are in the Ozarks, Springfield Business Journal among them. The company conducts the majority of its business on the coasts and has several clients in Canada, Brazil, India and China.

McMurtrey/Whitaker & Associates employs seven, making resources available online so its clients can become self-taught.

McMurtrey also takes his knowledge of e-commerce and the Web to education, as an instructor of computer information systems at Missouri State University, where he earned his MBA. He was recently promoted to director of the CIS master's program.

With his roles at MSU and work within his company, McMurtrey said he typically puts in about 50 to 55 hours a week.

But he said he views the roles as a symbiotic relationship, noting that his field drives what he teaches in the classroom but that the classroom also can sometimes affect his business.

"When you're on the college campus, there's just a lot of energy there," McMurtrey said, noting that exposure to young people can be inspiring for his business ventures. "That energy is contagious."

McMurtrey will be traveling to China next month to teach e-commerce at MSU's Dalian, China, campus, something he says he is looking forward to with his dual roles.

"I'll be there as much as a student as I am as a teacher," he said. "I do want to hear how they perceive e-commerce."

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