With years of experience and a commitment to providing improved IT service to Bakersfield businesses, Josh and Stephanie Lowrey launched TRIS Technology Solutions (www.trisbak.com) as a home-based business in 2014.

After two years of rapid growth, state economic development officials had recognized the company as a “Rising Star in the IT Industry” and a “Business to Watch.” The company also was named a “Small Business of the Year.”

TRIS Technology Solutions went from a two-person company run out of the Lowreys’ Bakersfield home to having full-time and part-time employees and moving twice within the last four years. In fact, the demand for the company’s services is so strong, that TRIS Technology Solutions recently expanded into a large commercial office with attached shop at 2810 Mosasco St.

Stephanie is the president and Josh is the “converged infrastructure engineer” for a company that supports comprehensive-managed IT services, including 24/7 on-demand services; business continuity planning; security, including email and spam protection; cloud services; phone systems; virtualization; hosted solutions; application and database development; home theater and automation; surveillance systems; low-voltage and data cabling; servers and work stations; Wi-Fi and routers; time clocks; and ISP integration.

Nominating TRIS for the “Rising Star” award, small business development consultant Jay Thompson noted that the couple’s “greatest entrepreneurial achievement, besides surviving the first year, would be achieving a 100 percent customer satisfaction rating. This has translated into major growth in their business.”

Small-business owners often use personal and family savings to finance startups and expansions. The one-year survival rate for small businesses was about 80 percent in 2016. Half survive five years or longer and only one-third survive 10 years or more.

The goal of the Small Business Development Center at California State University, Bakersfield, is to help new businesses, such as TRIS Technology Solutions, not only survive, but to prosper. The SBDC is a program sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Deploying an “army” of experienced business consultants, centers, such as the one at CSUB, provide free advisory services to local entrepreneurs.

With Josh formerly working in IT for a large corporation, the couple relied on their personal finances to found and grow their new company. They are in the process of restructuring their debt through conventional loans. And SBDC consultants are helping fine-tune the company’s business and marketing plans.

“It’s hard to find an extremely smart network engineer who has amazing people skills,” noted Thompson. “Josh is truly a one-in-a-million type of guy who bends over backward for his clients by doing what is right, while taking the time to educate each client on current trends in the industry without speaking in ‘nerd talk.’”

The Lowreys worked with their SBDC consultant to make the big step from a home-based business to a storefront. With their consultants’ help and proper planning, the move has been a huge success. TRIS Technology Solutions plans to add more employees and obtain a loan to purchase new equipment.

Stephanie is the “face” of the business and handles promotions and the back office, while Josh is the technical guru.

The Small Business Development Center at CSUB is one of five service centers within the University of California, Central California SBDC Regional Network, which is a partnership between the university and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The center at CSUB assists entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Kern, Inyo and Mono counties by providing free consulting, small business training and research. For more information, go to www.csub.edu/sbdc.

Kelly Bearden is the director of the Small Business Development Center at California State University, Bakersfield.

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