Matt Wilhelm of enCompass Group
Meet Matt Wilhelm, founder of enCompass Group in Cleveland, a dedicated team of business and compliance technologists providing managed IT services to regulated organizations. EnCompass services range from strategy to implementation to ongoing operational support. The company has eight employees.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I think I always had the entrepreneurship bug. Looking back, when I was a kid there were all kinds of symptoms. I think I was about nine years old when I used a word processor to make my first batch of business cards.
Growing up, I had all kinds of opportunities to help our senior neighbors: Taking out the trash, shoveling snow, raking leaves, and other mundane tasks were my specialty. In junior high I worked for my brother’s GTE Wireless agency store, back when the cellular industry relied on a network of agencies to sell services. My school bus dropped me off at the store, where I’d sell pagers and prehistoric cell phones.
While in college at the University of Akron
I took entrepreneurship classes. I still go back there today to give guest lectures. After college and grad school, and then after gaining tech firm experience, I started enCompass with my business partner, Scott Reid.
What are some specific IT needs required of regulated businesses?
Regulated businesses face unique IT challenges. Security and disaster recovery are two common areas that each regulating body shares, whether we’re talking healthcare or banking compliance. Our team helps ensure our clients’ adherence to the regulations set by their industry. Our managed IT services include tasks and attention to required actions like vulnerability scanning, network penetration testing and security patching.
How do you stay on top of the latest requirements?
We are a team. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that no one person can know everything, especially in IT. It is hard for one individual to keep up-to-date on the latest best practices, solution offerings, and compliance requirements.
We have assigned a different team member to each area of expertise so they can build a solid knowledge base. This makes it easy for our clients because they always know the go-to person in our company when they need service in a certain area.
Hiring talent with experience in a diverse set of skills keeps our whole team engaged and continuously learning from each other. We complete continued education courses and attend seminars to stay current on industry trends, and we constantly share day-to-day tech news and blogs.
What does your office do to build loyalty or blow off steam?
Since we’re a small team we are pretty close-knit. We have an amazing office in Tyler Village near the edge of downtown, complete with a lounge area and the obligatory tech company foosball table. We encourage sticking around the office after hours to build relationships between team members.
We have a great group of non-profit clients and our team enjoys giving back as much as we can to their organizations. We are lucky to have built a great team of professionals. Being the breath of fresh air missing in IT services is our vision, and these guys live it every day.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company in Cleveland?
Cleveland is a great place to start a business. Finding talented people with a strong work ethic who share the passion to make your company grow is the biggest challenge. And you can’t find a better place than Cleveland to find loyal, hard-working people.
Cleveland, specifically the core downtown area, has so much going for it right now. With the economic impact of our civic and corporate projects I can’t recall this much energy and optimism in a long time. Businesses thrive on energy and human capital; and Cleveland has an abundance of both.
If you have a great product or service with the drive and passion to serve your customers, do it. Take a risk and challenge yourself and others -- make a positive impact on yourself and this city.
Interview by Karin Connelly