A Letter from Nancy Squires
If we take time to reflect, there are always defining moments in our lives that lead us to where we are today. Generally, these moments involve people or actions. Mine were both. Below, you will read about the moments that led to the creation of The Squires Group and to give my gratitude to those who were there for me, in the very beginning.
In 1980, I was a legislative aide to a congressman on Capitol Hill. A year later, I got married to a really nice guy. I left my fab job on the Hill and moved to Cape Cod with him. It wasn’t long before I realized that I married too young. So we divorced and I returned to VA with no job, no place to live and “no-dough.” This was the summer of 1983.
For the first few months, I was taking small jobs here/there to make ends meet, but I was desperate to find a “real job,” like the one I had on Capitol Hill. One morning, I was looking at the Washington Post Help Wanted section and saw a recruiter ad to source COBOL/VSAM programmers. The job was for a firm called CGA Computer. I had no clue what recruiters did (how do you spell C-O-B-O-L and how do you recruit?), but I didn’t care. I replied (via snail-mail!), got the interview and the job. CGA gave me my start in the technology business.
The following years, I was very fortunate to work for Paul Opalack, at both Cap Gemini America (they purchased CGA Computer) and then at his own firm, Noblestar Systems. Paul really understood the business of business, and I swear he could see the future. Working for him was an incredible learning experience–if you asked questions, you got answers. I always asked a LOT of questions and he was always willing to share his ideas and experience.
Over the years, I’d thought about starting my own company. So, in July of 1995, I decided to launch The Squires Group, Inc. My mother thought I’d lost my mind. I had NO business plan, no stash of savings and no income stream, but I was undeterred. I collected used equipment (a very used desk, phone, fax, Rolodex, Daytimer, paper and pens) and set up shop in my kitchen. From early in the a.m., through late in the p.m., I made sales calls, recruiting calls, faxed resumes, juggled the two phone lines (remember call waiting?), not to mention A/P, A/R, and payroll. I shake my head in disbelief when I think about it.
My big break came in September of 1995 when I signed my first staffing deal. This was with Sequent Computer to help build Oracle Financial applications for several of their clients. I assembled the teams and they delivered. In fact, Chuck Gautney, one of my original team members, is still a partner with Squires today.
After my first full year in business, I had 12 clients and I needed H-E-L-P. Thankfully, my friend of many years, Jan Upton (Lloyd) came to my rescue and joined me as my first internal employee in 1996.
In the early 2000s, we had weathered the dot.com debacle, and then came 9/11. Both scenarios could have crushed us, but I had made very conservative business decisions, coupled with the fact that TSGi was in the business of implementing the core financials of large corporations. While these were scary times, we had clients committed to finishing their implementations. Companies like GWU, Ciena, Mitre and NASD (now FINRA) kept my teams onboard from start to finish. We were in the right business for the times. Talk about a defining moment!
After the “dust settled,” I knew it was time to grow the business to the next level, but “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” and I was making m-i-s-t-a-k-e-s . I needed advice from someone who’d “been there, done that” in a large staffing and consulting business. In 2003, I was introduced to Eric Galasso. I soon hired him to provide management consulting services to me/TSGI and get me out of the “weeds.” It didn’t take me long to realize he’d be the perfect person to help take TSGI to the next level and be a solid business partner. In August of 2004, Eric and I became business partners and, for me, a new era of “defining moments” had begun!
Those Who Were There For Me in the VERY Beginning
Building a successful business requires many things. Most of all, it requires the support of people you care about and who care about you. So, it is with sincere gratitude that I thank the following people who were there for me in the very beginning:
Paul Opalack: Thank you for sharing generously, your brilliant mind and business acumen. I really miss our learned lunches. How fortunate I was to work for you!
Jennifer Squires: I needed a logo! Jennifer, my nephew’s wife, is a graphic artist. While raising two small children, she made the time to design a logo for TSGi that I have been continually proud of for 20 years and counting. Thank you, Jennifer!
Michael Squires: After I put the first team together in 1996 and they were on-site doing the work, I realized “holy *@!^, I have to make PAYROLL…now!” So, I called my brother, Mike. “Mickey,” as I call him, has been supportive of me all my life. He has always believed in me. So, when he got the call, I immediately got a check. No questions asked. Thank you, Mickey!
Jan Upton Lloyd: Thank you for leaving your childhood home of Laguna Beach, CA and coming to work with me. You also believed in me, the company and your ability to make a difference. You mastered our accounting using Quickbooks and the art of recruiting. You found great people for our clients. and our clients loved you for it.
My Mom: Once I started the business, you were behind me 100%. Thank you for your unconditional support and unwavering faith in me. You were always there for me.
Paul Vandenberg: Thank you for being the best guy-friend a girl could ever have – before, during and after I started the business. I could always count on you for friendship, l a u g h t e r (mischief has never been the same), food and fun!
My first consultants: without you, there is no story to tell. A heartfelt thanks to…
Chuck Gautney, Laura Thomas, Karen Oliver, Karen Sullivan Hottle, Andy Berman, Diane Stockton, Sue Foster, John Smiley, Lindsey Purvis, Kirby Kraft, Pete Gurian, Bob Murdock, Brian Galuska, Pete/Sandy Merrifield, Joy Oberholtzer and Randy Watteau.
Finally, from starting at my kitchen table to beautiful offices in Annapolis, MD; from a few consultants to many; from my first internal employee to a 28-person infrastructure; these are my best “defining moments.” So many of you have made a positive impact on my life. I hope in some way, I have done the same for you.
The word that comes to mind when I think of my consultants in the field and those working in my infrastructure is gratitude. It takes a team to make a company like this sustainable and The Squires Group is by far, the best team in the business. I thank each of you for being part of my incredible journey and my Squires Group Family.