Microtech’s Tony Jimenez Talks Success
Story By: Rita Cook
Successful, humble and a leader in the Hispanic community, Tony Jimenez is living the American Dream. It is a dream he worked hard to achieve.
It is a dream he does not take lightly.
“There are people out there who do not want to see Latinos succeed,” Jimenez, the founder of MicroTech, said in a recent interview.
That does not daunt him, however; it just makes him work that much harder.
“It is difficult for folks to think you did it the right way with no extra benefits or extra help,” he says about being Hispanic and rising to the top of his field with no handouts. “At the end of the day, I hope people will take a look at my efforts and successes and realize the opportunity is there if you apply yourself. We have the ability to do great things in the community.”
Jimenez identifies with Texas even though he has lived in a number of states as a military brat. Technically from Virginia he was born at the Portsmouth Navy Hospital, but shortly after his birth his Navy father was transferred.
Over the years he lived in Germany and Spain and around the United States, having joined the Army him-self when he was old enough. During that chapter, he traveled around the world and then ended up back in Virginia in 1991. He says he still has a unique connection with Virginia, but he likes to call Texas home.
It was in Texas where he was stationed in San Antonio and where he received his bachelor’s in Business Management from St. Mary’s University.
Jimenez also has a master’s in Computers and In-formation Systems from Missouri’s Webster University and a master’s in Acquisition Management from Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) in Melbourne. He is a graduate of the Executive Education Course at the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business and is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Governance Fellow.
He has the military to thank for his success in technology since it was while he was enlisted that he was steered in that direction.
“I didn’t choose it, it chose me,” he says. “I was working in the military in what they call the acquisition side and I essentially got about halfway through my military career and I was responsible for buying large-purchase and equipment items that Uncle Sam needed in order to make sure the mission was a success.”
Around that time he got more involved in the technology purchase area of the business and he says before he knew it he had his various master’s degrees.
“It was after that I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time (with) the technology to decipher requirements so I could make informed acquisitions as they call it,” he explains. “I got involved in some pretty neat stuff early on — one thing led to another, and be-fore I knew it I spoke technology fluently.”
Jimenez retired in 2003 from the Army and after a brief stint at a large technology company, where he worked for six months, he decided pretty quickly he had the things he needed to start his own company.
Early on, money was the only issue with his start-up, but he did it anyway in 2004.
“Access to capital in the first few years was a challenge, but we worked through that and attracted some good partners and people and we grew to amazing numbers,” he explains.
From there, his company was the fastest-growing Hispanic business in the nation three years in a row and was recognized by everyone in the industry as a company to emulate.
“We grew and grew, and early on I took some partners on. We eventually made the decision it was time to do it on my own,” he explains, adding that two years ago, he bought his partners out and restructured the company.
With that restructuring, he is doing some innovative things. As a result, he says his company is back in its original growth pattern “and the rest is going to re-main to be seen.”
Jimenez says the good news is the company is seeing the same things now that he saw the fi rst time around during the first round exponential growth.
“I feel good about the fact that I am back in the growth pattern, and this time around we are a lot better. I think the growth we saw the first time is nothing compared to what we will see now,” he adds.
Overall, MicroTech is an industry leading prime contractor on over 100 federal projects and holds more than 25 procurement vehicles, offering access to 2,500 vendors and over a million technology products and services. Since founding MicroTech, Jimenez has grown the business into a profitable multimillion-dollar company, providing IT and network support to many Fortune 500 companies around the globe.
Even with the growth of MicroTech, however, Jimenez says success can be “pretty scary.”
“At first you feel great about it, and then after a while you begin to realize that you had not really in-tended it to happen,” he says. “But somewhere along the line you became a role model and an inspiration for people who are trying to, or thinking about starting a company.”
That comes with a lot of responsibility in his mind because he believes it is imperative that he represent the community properly. Not just the Hispanic com-munity, but all minority communities.
“Those successes are not as commonplace and we have to be careful because with success comes scrutiny,” he explains. “Initially, success was wonderful and I thought it was amazing. My family and friends loved it and folks said they knew me back when.”
Fast forward to now. Jimenez says that when you begin to build that portfolio, you start to realize it is more than just the accolades. You are now an important part of the community you represent.
He is all about giving back and sits on the board of the Boy Scouts, the George Mason University’s Board of Visitors, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy Executive Advisory Committee, Partnership for a New American Economy, and the Latino Donor Collaborative. He is the former National Chairman of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) and is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and the Dis-abled American Veterans (DAV).
“You must represent in the best possible way — and give back and mentor and make sure you are doing everything ethically and responsibly,” he says. “When folks see your success, it opens the door for others.”
For his achievements, Jimenez has been named “Executive of the Year,” “Most Innovative Entrepreneur,” “Most Influential Hispanic in IT,” “Entrepreneur of the Year,” “Small Business Person of the Year,” and “CEO of the Year” by several national organizations. Jimenez also has been recognized as one of the “Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation” by Hispanic Business Magazine, one of the “Most Powerful Minority Men in Business” by the Minority Enterprise Executive Council, “Most Innovative Entrepreneur” by Goldman Sachs, PODER-abc* Entrepreneurship Award winner, one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Virginians” by Virginian Business, and he was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) for his sustained sup-port and advocacy of Veterans and Latinos.
“For me, the most important thing is to know the things I am doing is opening doors for others out there,” he says. “Someone from a poor family, Hispanic, minority, from the military was able to figure this out. The things I have accomplished came from hard work. I knew and understood what I needed to do. My father and mother who did not graduate high school both understood the importance of education and taught me and my brother and sister how important education was.”
Under Jimenez’s leadership, MicroTech has been awarded the distinguished Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Award as General Service Administration’s (GSA) “Most Successful Newcomer” by the Coalition for Government Procurement, the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award (MBE 100), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Blue Ribbon Small Business” Award, the Diver-sityBusiness.com “Top 25 Disabled Veteran-Owned Business” Award, the U.S. Department of the Army - “Featured Small Business,” and the U.S. Department of Transportation — “Small Business Success Story.”
Jimenez says he still gets excited when he reads about other people’s success, too.
“That is what success is all about is getting excited when other people do great things. And before you know it, we won’t be in the minority; we will be in the majority of people that others know you come to get the job done,” he explains.
“We have some great leaders out there and I think the most important thing for people to know right now is that the future is ours. If we don’t seize the opportunity right now, then a dream never becomes a reality.”
In closing, he says when it is all said and done, he wants folks to know he worked hard and made the sacrifices to blaze the path for others.
“I have no problem with taking risks and taking the scrutiny that comes with being one of the early folks in the industry because there is a lot of skepticism that comes with the success if you are Hispanic” Jimenez concludes.
“I have been told Hispanics don’t know IT, there aren’t that many Hispanic in this business. I guess, looking back, I want people to remember that I opened the door and I proved to people that we (Hispanics) can and will continue to be a player in this space and more important I did it at a time when it was not easy. The more we can bang our own drum and talk about our success, the easier it will be for the young people who aspire to do great things to be able to do those great things.”