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Twinsburg -- Compass Computer Group, celebrating 20 years, was founded in 1996 out of necessity.
The owner of the company, Doyle Stutzman, needed a job.
"I worked at LDI out of Cleveland," Stutzman said. "When they went out of business, the company that purchased LDI hired the techs but not me, because I was in management."
As Stutzman pounded the pavement in search of employment, he found there weren't a lot of management jobs in information technology.
So he decided to start his own business.
He opened the company, which manages all things technical for outside businesses, in a small space in Solon, where they stayed for a year before moving to an initial Ravenna Road location in Twinsburg.
With two kids in college and two more at home, his wife, Naomi Mullet Stutzman, a stay-at-home mom, took a marketing job to help keep the family finances afloat while Stutzman grew the business.
His first move was to hire Morris Peterson, the "best salesman I've ever known," he said.
"He focused on sales, I focused on delivering what he sold," Stutzman said. "I had a technical background so I wore the hat of being the technical component of the company."
Then he hired two more techs and took on two partners.
Four years later, Stutzman was able to buy out his partners. And in 2008, he moved the business to its current home at 9408 Ravenna Road.
Now Compass Computer Group has 11 full-time and one part-time employees. They represent the IT department for small businesses with as few as two computers -- to large businesses with more than 200.
He also takes walk-ins with home computers that need service.
"We don't really make any money on it," Stutzman said. "That to me is just a community service."
Stutzman says he is proud of his employees, some of whom have been with him since the beginning.
"I take little credit," he said. "I have some very good people working around me who take care of what I can't. Without them I'd be working in my garage like a lot of my start-up competitors that have come and gone."
Stutzman added he can't believe it's been 20 years since he stepped out of LDI and into his own business.
"Twenty years, where did the years go?" he said. "How did this happen? It took me about 5 years to understand in my own mind that I had to make all the major decisions. It wasn't something that I was used to. I had an employee that kept calling me 'boss man' and I thought, wait, I am the boss. I have to make decisions."
Stutzman says he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
"I'm still having fun and enjoying working," he said.