It is hard for me to believe, but this July we celebrate our 20th anniversary of helping our clients with their technology challenges. Looking back on how we started, we sure have come a long way. I thought I would share briefly the journey Weston has taken over these two decades and share a bit of who we are as a company.
The dream of Weston all began when I was working as an IT administrator for an engineering company in Corvallis, Oregon just after graduating college. The company was great to work for and while I really enjoyed the team I worked with and the company, I really felt like there was a set of small and medium businesses that would benefit from having their own IT department. Above all else I felt a drive to help people, which eventually solidified the core purpose of Weston: To better the lives of others.
In July of 1994, my wife and I packed up all of our belongings into our 1978 Ford van and our truck. We hooked up an old trailer we bought for $300 and headed north to Alaska where some friends offered for us to stay with them while we got established. The trip was an adventure, to say the least. After the third day, our trailer tongue almost separated from the trailer causing an unplanned stop in Chetwynd, BC. At this point our decision was looking a little unwise. Fortunately a welder was able to fix the damage and we finally made it to Anchorage by mid-July.
Through our friends and the Anchorage branch of the company I used to work for, I slowly started to get some clients that I could help. Our service staff consisted of me and our husky mix puppy who loyally kept the van company while I ran from business to business. Remember that these were the days of Windows 3, Compuserve and AOL — before the Internet was readily available and dial-up modems were how you got online. We were able to help our clients navigate the difficult challenges of technology and communications. Some of these clients are still around and still clients to this day.
In 1999, I realized instead of creating a business I had just created myself a job. I knew it was not fair to my clients to put their business at risk by taking a vacation, being sick or if something were to happen to me. At that point I committed to being a business owner and not just a computer fixer. We met a couple that had just moved to Anchorage and had shared the same goals I had to help people and their businesses. Greg Freeman came on board and helped Weston grow, eventually becoming my business partner.
During this time as well we had our first child – a boy – followed shortly after by our daughter. It became apparent that being closer to family in Oregon was a higher priority than it used to be. Greg and I discussed the scenarios and with a leap of faith the McFarlane family moved to Bend, Oregon in 2002 to start the Oregon office while Greg agreed to keep the Anchorage office focused on our clients there.
We were blessed with a great team and slowly were able to get some clients in the Bend office that we could help. We also added a guy from New York sight unseen to be our first service technician in Bend – Eric Spinney who now is our service manager.
In 2006 we were presented with the opportunity to acquire the assets of a local Bend IT company that had a good reputation and a great guy as owner. As part of that acquisition, we brought on most of their staff and Deb Brace, Becky Clover and Harald Smit joined the Weston team and to this day serve the critical roles of Systems and Contracts Administrator, Bookkeeper and COO.
The business grew again when in 2013 we acquired the assets of another local IT company – BITS. Through this transaction we added Dave Arnold to our team as Project and Escalations Manager.
We have had some great clients and great team members throughout the years but one thing has always remained the same – our core purpose to Better the Lives of others. While this sounds like a strange purpose for an IT company, it really defines who we are as a business and as a team. It solidifies what is important to us and what we consider success.
I want to thank all of our team members and clients – past and present – for giving us the chance to work with you. If we were able to somehow better your life – through a technical frustration being resolved or helping your business use technology to better operations or preventing a technology disaster that would have hurt your business or just through being a friendly voice over the phone – then we have shown our purpose. Thank you for allowing us to do that!