Amnet helps businesses, homeless, kids

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Trevor Dierdorff, talking with Amnet employee Corinne VanDeHatert, believes that community involvement is crucial to his business success.

Trevor Dierdorff, talking with Amnet employee Corinne VanDeHatert, believes that community involvement is crucial to his business success.

Sit down and talk with Trevor Dierdorff about his business, and he’s likely to bend your ear about his passion — helping kids.

As the owner/operator of Amnet, he has the time to help children and nonprofit organizations.

But first, business.

Amnet wants to be the information technology department for each business it helps. As such, Amnet manages computer networks, sets up servers, creates backup solutions and builds firewalls.

“We’re also business-savvy,” Dierdorff said. “Technology is supposed to help a business be more productive and profitable.”

Amnet focuses on increasing productivity of the staff through ease of technology.

If a business has one person devoted to computer technology, Amnet’s skills can serve as the backup when that employee has time off or becomes sick, Dierdorff said.

In the 15 years Dierdorff has been in business in Colorado Springs, the busiest year he’s had was in 2010 when he had 17 employees working for Amnet.

Now that’s down to 11, but, “I expect to hire one person next month, and hopefully another in the first quarter of next year,” Dierdorff said. “We’re rebuilding after the economic downturn.”

Since the recession, Dierdorff has seen a significant shift in the way his clients and potential clients have approached their IT needs.

A mentor of Dierdorff’s advised him that in business, he could be either the cheapest or the best. The mentor then followed up by saying, “it’s much harder for someone to come in better,” Dierdorff said. “I used to be able to win opportunities as the high bidder because we were the best.

“Since the downturn, people kind of want ‘good enough.’ It’s tough to adapt to that.”

The goal is for clients to be stable, secure and backed up.

“Which one or two do you compromise on, when money is short? That’s been a challenging way to adapt in this market,” he said.

Between 40 and 50 businesses rely on Amnet for all their information technology needs; around 50 more will need occasional help.

A real passion

Business aside, Dierdorff enjoys working with nonprofit organizations “that do good things in our community.

“If I do good work for them, it helps them do good work for the community,” he said, mentioning the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Silver Key and Marian House Soup Kitchen, the latter run through Catholic Charities for low-income and homeless people.

Dierdorff spearheaded a project for Marian House that involves a computer lab for the homeless.

The effort involved $6,000 in donated computers through the Colorado Springs Rotary Club, another $6,000 in setup services donated by Amnet employees, Microsoft donating software and the IT department at Catholic Charities working closely with Amnet.

“If they’re ready to not be homeless anymore and want some computer skills,” Dierdorff said, “we’re setting up a computer lab for them.”

The lab of seven computers will be located at Marian House and should be in place by November, Dierdorff said. The Colorado College youth branch of Rotary International, Rotaract, will offer student volunteers to work as tutors and tutor trainers. Pikes Peak Library District is helping with the curriculum.

Catholic Charities proposed the idea to the 2013 Signature Class with Leadership Pikes Peak, said Sam Edwards, vice president of poverty reduction of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado.

While Leadership Pikes Peak did not select this project, Dierdorff did, Edwards said.

“Trevor has great energy around it,” Edwards said. “He’s given of himself and his company’s staff time. He’s been great to work with.”

Edwards hailed Dierdorff’s “willingness to come up with a solution for our big need that will help people get some job skills, get them working with the Internet and get them computer-savvy, instead of basic skills they can learn at the library.”

Dierdorff adopted the project, Edwards said.

“He’s put it into motion and surrounded it with the right people. He’s had a spirit of what he could do for the community, not what he’ll get out of it.

“I’m impressed with his spirit in his wanting to do that,” Edwards said.

Dierdorff said he expects the lab to be fully functional after the first of the year.

Kids matter

For 12 years, Dierdorff also has volunteered with Junior Achievement. Now, every Tuesday, he volunteers working with incarcerated youth at the Zeb Pike Youth Services Center, a jail for juvenile offenders in Colorado Springs.

Initially, Dierdorff assumed the imprisoned youth had come from an average start in life. Reality showed something different.

“Most boys here don’t know their father. Or if they do, they’re in a gang, or in jail, or in a gang in jail,” Dierdorff said.

One 15-year-old had no teeth because he had been doing methamphetamine with his mother since he was 10. Meth rots teeth. Another boy he worked with lost his mother to a drug overdose at age 15.

Dierdorff later helped the young man get a job in the community with one of Amnet’s clients.

“He’s one of the best they’ve ever had,” Dierdorff said. “I’m so proud of him.”

Owning his own company allows Dierdorff the flexibility to volunteer.

“It’s great to be in a position to do that,” Dierdorff said.

The three Ps

The business principle called triple bottom line involves three Ps, Dierdorff said: people, planet, profit.

“It’s not enough anymore for your employees to just get a paycheck. An engaged employee wants to be proud of the company he works for,” Dierdorff said. That involves giving back to the community, he added. And that helps with employee retention and attracting employees.

If a company takes care of its people and the planet, Dierdorff said, profit will follow.

Amnet

Website: Amnet.net

Contact info: 719-442-6683

219 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 304

Years in business: 15

Number of employees: 11