Birmingham-based Sawyer Solutions, founded in Pelham in 2011, announced two jobs in 2017, bringing their employee total to six full-time and two part-time workers and an intern. This announcement landed the information technology company on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s New and Expanding Industry List.
The company, standing behind its motto “Doing IT so you don’t have to,” services companies large and small and takes over complete IT services for their customers. From hardware to software, from security services to custom software development and support, the team works with customers in the Birmingham region but also with customers around the country remotely to make technology as painless as possible. Its expanding customer base has allowed the company to hire new talent to the team.
“We are problem solvers and enjoy solving problems,” said Ken Sawyer, the company’s CEO. “Customers are attracted to our team. We work with great people and have a wonderful team. We are able to fix things so that customers can continue about their business.”
Ken and his son, Benji Sawyer, run the company and share ownership with their wives – Liz is married to Ken and is Benji’s mother, and Rebekah is married to Benji. Yes, the Sawyer name is on the door, but one doesn’t have to carry that last name to be treated like kin.
“We treat everyone like family whether or not we are related,” Ken said.
Hiring good people, including the two that came on board last year, is one of the biggest perks of being an entrepreneur, Ken said.
“We’ve been blessed to have people come to us in a variety of ways,” he said. “Sometimes people with qualifications that didn’t seem to fit the job requirement turned out to be great employees and do a wonderful job for us. It is a joy to work with people who want to work and want a chance to show what they can do. It’s all about getting the right people on the bus and then figuring out where they sit. A guy that I never thought would be a fit for the job ended up becoming my best friend of 35 years.”
The team is friendly and likes to have fun, Benji said, and that sets them apart from other companies similar to Sawyer Solutions.
“Work is work, but work shouldn’t be horrible,” he said. “We encourage our employees to enjoy themselves, to have fun – that’s important. Especially for a technology company, we like to hire people who have personalities, which you don’t always get. People always comment how friendly we are – things you wouldn’t expect from a technology company. Work is work sometimes, but it should also be a good experience and a fun experience.”
Friendliness and fun, backed up by hard work, honesty, integrity and transparency, are the backbone of the business, as is a team focus.
“We really focus on taking care of the team, because the team has to take care of the customers,” Ken said.
Both Ken and Benji have moved away from Birmingham before founding the company seven years ago, and it never felt like home, they said.
“Birmingham is home,” Benji said. “I keep coming back to it. I want to see Birmingham grow. I want to see Birmingham improve. I want to see it become recognized for the wonderfulness I know is there. Birmingham is a great place, and I love it here.”
Ken, who is very active in the community, including with the BBA, said anytime he wasn’t in Birmingham, it didn’t feel right.
“We moved away and went to work in Indiana for five years, but it wasn’t home,” he said. “We moved back intentionally to Birmingham. We have been other places, but this is where we want to be. I can’t think of any other place we’d rather be. Birmingham is a wonderful place to grow a business. Everyone has a great attitude here, and everyone I meet seems to want everyone else to succeed. It’s a great place to be an entrepreneur.”
Next up for the company is more anticipated growth, pushing further outside the Birmingham city limits.
“We want to get bigger,” Benji said. “We want to keep growing and offering our services, and at some point we’ll outgrow the Birmingham market and expand. We can do a good chunk of our work remotely, offering good, quality service to those who need it.”