Tony Coleman epitomizes the American dream. Like many leaders, he had a focused vision and set about making his goals come to fruition. From the birth of the company in 1992 to the present year, AaSys Group, Inc. has evolved into a multimillion dollar force within the banking and IT industry. Twenty-four successful years is no easy feat and many want to know: Who is the man behind it all? Mr. Coleman is the captain of this extremely successful ship, and that is why his employees see him as a true visionary and his customers see him as the ultimate problem solver.
I sat down with Mr. Coleman to get his thoughts on AaSys’ various accomplishments and what his hopes are for the future. Through each answer you not only get the sense that he is a man of integrity and grit but that he is highly driven. At the core, he understands the value and importance of family at home as well as his family at AaSys.
Taisha Dickerson – Take us back to the beginning. How did you come up with the idea to start AaSys?
Tony Coleman-Computer hardware and software was fairly new. Many were figuring that the hardware companies, like IBM, Burroughs, and NCR were going to dictate the direction of technology for the future. I felt that hardware was going to become a commodity and the software companies like Microsoft and Novell would direct technology. These products required technical expertise to understand, operate and support. AaSys started as a technology support company.
TD-What was your vision for the company? Has that vision been fulfilled?
TC- My vision for AaSys is a work in progress. I envision AaSys continuing to be that trusted resource for financial institutions regarding any type of support for IT, Financial Operations or Regulatory Consulting. As financial requirements change, I want financial institutions to think of AaSys Group and call us first.
TD- Over the past several years (2008 through 2012), banks were hit pretty hard with mergers and closings due to the financial crisis. How was AaSys able to navigate through that?
TC- We lost a great deal of customers during the recent depression. Interestingly enough, our revenues, customer base and profits rose substantially. We didn’t change our focus during this period or deviate from our niche of supporting financial institutions. What we did was expand our footprint beyond the traditional area of Florida and Georgia and today we operate in 14 states.
TD-What do you attribute the success of AaSys to and how do you plan on sustaining that success?
TC-The AaSys team is the key, no doubt. The average tenure of our company is 8 years and this includes growth with new members. Many associates have been here for as long as 19 years. This is unheard of in our industry, especially for a small company. To sustain this success I must ensure that I don’t lose focus on our secret ingredient—The AaSys Team.
TD- What direction do you believe the industry of IT consulting is moving towards?
TC-Many companies don’t have an understanding of cloud computing technology. In the financial area which we support, the regulatory bodies are having concerns similar to the concerns they had when financial institutions went from dumb terminal to personal computers. Cloud computing will be important in the future. Another major direction will be the substantial emphasis placed on cyber security. Over the next five to ten years, both of these areas will be critical to the industry.
TD -What do you think AaSys’ three biggest accomplishments were for 2015?
- Making more time for family
- Watching our customer base grow to more than 350+ relationships, solidifying that our customers trust our expertise and our team.
- Allowing myself to let my senior team run the daily operations more and more.
TD-Describe a typical day for you at AaSys.
TC-The best part of my day is having the flexibility to be able to drop my son and daughter off at school and participate in their school’s morning assembly program. Another great part of my daily routine is to have the ability to meet with our customer’s one-on-one on a regular basis. I am blessed with a tremendous staff at AaSys that covers the small details of our daily operations which, in turn, allows me the opportunity to be more accessible and hands-on with our clients.
TD- Where do you see AaSys in the next five years?
TC- I see the company continuing to be the most trusted partner in the financial industry.
TD- As we start a new year, what do you most want to accomplish in 2016 for AaSys?
TC- We have exciting new services that will be available in the late second quarter and early third quarter of 2016 that will really set us apart from anyone trying to emulate our company model. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss it any further, but I am very excited about the benefit these new services will bring to our customers.
As Tony Coleman reflects on the successes of 2015, he clearly has his focus on 2016. Mr. Coleman understands the value in keeping up with important trends in the industry and adapting to change. His goal is to continue to provide his customers with more valuable options that will allow them to streamline their operations, while making security a top priority. Behind every successful CEO, there is a brilliant management team and staff, and Mr. Coleman never takes that for granted. He has inspired his team to be creative and leaders within their own right. Mr. Coleman knows the recipe for success; and with that, AaSys will continue to be the best at what we do for years to come.