Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010
Road to Palm Springs
Hayes Drumwright founded his company, TRACE3, with $100 and a fierce determination to overcome adversity. While his cash was limited, his experience with adversity was plentiful.
Drumwright battled cancer during his senior year at Boston University, and persevered. A couple of years later, he undertook his first entrepreneurial venture, securing $7 million through venture capitalists and angel investors.
Six years after that, the company was shut down. Drumwright, who had signed personal guarantees for more than $700,000, had $30,000 to his name.
He tried again, this time with a different approach. He founded TRACE3, a regional systems integrator that resells IT products to small and medium businesses, with his own meager funds – no flooring lines, no bank credit lines, no personal guarantees.
The company now has five offices in the southwest United States, and has grown revenues every year since its inception.
The company’s success has been built in large part on Drumwright’s philosophy to surround himself with “A” players only. He believes the best employees account for three to four times the success of “B” players, so it is mathematically wise to hire them at 50%-100% more than market salaries.
Similarly, he works with the best clients. At the beginning, TRACE3 focused on two or three core manufacturers and became an extension of their teams. The company proceeded to obtain several well-known Fortune 1000 clients.
Drumwright believes his company no longer needs him to be successful. And that, he says, is how he knows he has succeeded as an entrepreneur.