Phoenix technology services are abundant, but the success story of SanTrac Technologies sets them apart. In this post, we’re sharing their story to showcase that minority-owned firms are a vital part of our economy.
Minority-owned businesses play an important role in our economy
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of minority-owned firms in the U.S. rose from 2007 to 2012. It went from 5.8 million to 8 million, respectively. This includes a 34.5% rise in the number of black or African American-owned firms. Those went from 1.9 million to 2.6 million.
In Arizona, minority-owned firms totaled more than 135,000 in 2012. With the 2020 census on the horizon, that reported number is likely to increase.
One of these firms is SanTrac Technologies, a Phoenix technology services company. Abdullah Mikal Sanders is the founder and President/Operations Manager of SanTrac. His company provides information technology, VoIP and low-voltage communications to businesses of all sizes.
The start of SanTrac, a Phoenix technology services company
Sanders started SanTrac in the early 2000s following a successful IT career in private and public organizations. This included other technology companies including IBM, Intel Corp. and the City of Phoenix.
He left that world to start his own business because, he said, “It was always a dream of mine.”
Sanders continued, “My dad was somewhat of an entrepreneur and preached about the importance of owning something for yourself. That stuck with me. I also started to play with old computers and thought, ‘Wow, I like this!’”
As an aspiring business owner, Sanders realized early on that he would need to prepare himself. His first step was electing to take typing classes in middle school. He eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in technical management, with an emphasis in electronics.
Following graduation, Sanders worked in the private sector to hone his skills and determine a specialty. He quickly realized he liked to work with his hands. This passion drove him to eventually focus on IT infrastructure as a business niche.
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship
Following a leap of faith into entrepreneurship guided by a mentor, Sanders began growing his business. He focused on serving small to medium businesses needing IT infrastructure. Eventually, SanTrac also began serving large corporations with low-voltage communications services.
Sanders became an SRP supplier in early 2019, following an introduction through a Supplier Diversity Business Expo Fair held by the company.
“We went to the event, and one of the SRP facilities managers walked by our table,” Sanders said. “I had already done some research on who was attending and knew what kinds of services he might be interested in.”
From there, Sanders was persistent and consistent. He transformed a “foot in the door” conversation at the event into a meeting where his company could present capabilities.
Eventually, he secured an initial project for small cabling work with SRP. Quality output and service since the successful first project has kept a steady flow of projects coming in.
“Quality work, done right,” he said. “That’s our focus.”
Positioning a Phoenix technology services company for tomorrow
Now that a new year has begun, Sanders is reaching out to find new opportunities within SRP. This is something the Supplier Diversity program is supporting.
“We can do low-voltage communications projects, data cabling, fiber cabling, access control and surveillance systems. From an IT standpoint, we also can do special projects and IT consulting,” he said.
He’s optimistic and hopes his story will inspire others. It doesn’t come easy, but being open to coaching is the first step that anyone can take.
“You have to be coachable,” Sanders said. “What I’ve learned through the process is that you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to have patience because nothing happens overnight.”
After successfully transitioning from an IT expert to a business owner, Sanders continues to hone his management and leadership skills. His determination will continue to have an impact. The clients he works with, the Valley’s economy, his 11 employees and the community will continue to benefit.