Position: Chief technology officer, New Target Inc., a Web site design, development and hosting firm in Alexandria.
Career highlights: Chief executive and president, Towers Internet Consulting LLC; Web hosting manager, BTN America; Web hosting manager, Capitol Area Internet Services; founder and vice president, Hub Internet Services; customer engineer, International Business Machines Corp.
Personal: Lives in Arlington with wife, Elizabeth.
How did you get to where you are today?
After 22 fulfilling years with IBM, I left to discover and to help people get onto and use the Internet, as it had just become a commercially viable communication medium. In 2000, CAIS acquired Hub Internet, and I managed their hosting services until they were acquired by BTN America in 2001. I managed the hosting services for BTN and moved from McLean to their current location in Ashburn. After leaving BTN in 2002, I started Towers Internet Consulting primarily to provide a place for customers who had been with me since 1994. I had started TIC at their urging so I could provide services to them directly. They were customers who had stayed with me through the years. After nearly a year and a half, New Target acquired Towers Internet Consulting as a good opportunity to grow both businesses . . .
I guess ever since I was a teenager, I had a personal computer that filled half my bedroom. I've always known that that's what I wanted to do. The same type of feeling made me take on the leap to the Internet in the 1990s. I knew it was going to become what it was going to be. . . . The interest in computers grew out of science classes in school. It was a self-generated interest. I decided to pursue it further after high school. My elder brother was working for IBM at the time and that's why I looked to go that route. IBM was a company you worked for for life. It was not an easy move to leave IBM. But it was something I felt I had to do, that I wanted to do. . . .
My biggest mentor was my first and longest manager with IBM, who imparted to everyone who worked for him how customers are the lifeblood of your business. If you learned nothing else from that man, you learned that. Every customer is important. Every customer is essential to your business and every customer deserves to be treated as such. Which is why I find myself at New Target, because it has a history of treating customers as if they are all important -- and they are. They share my view of customer service unlike any companies that I had dealt with in quite some time. They have a very high appreciation of the customer . . .
The industry has changed significantly over the decade. By its very nature, the Internet creates a situation where the client and company are removed from one another. You don't have a brick-and-mortar conference. More and more, it's a virtual relationship. That doesn't mean it can't be a healthy relationship. And that doesn't eliminate the need to provide quality services to customers.
I believe the key to success in this field is to know the industry -- how it works, staying on top of the newest technologies and providing that to the customer so that they can have that knowledge work for them. Also, there are specific skills . . . attention to detail, good planning, good execution. It's not different from many industries. It just happens to be an absolute requirement in the industry . . .
In my current position, I see a lot of opportunity here to build their hosting division. They have a substantial hosting base and it will grow. I see it as an opportunity, but it's going to take work. The challenge in the industry is keeping your ear to the ground. Technology changes daily. It changes so quickly you have to keep an eye on what's going on. You have to do that constantly.
-- Judith Mbuya