LIVONIA, MICH. (May 30, 2017) -- Rich Miller grew AM Data Service, his Livonia IT consulting business, from his basement to a 6,200-square-foot space that was christened with a ribbon-cutting and 10-year anniversary celebration on May 23. The entrepreneur boasts he barely graduated from high school.
“Rich really is an entrepreneur and a problem solver,” said Dan West, Livonia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “He was an auto mechanic. He worked on a racing team and eventually started this business. What’s neat about Rich is he’s obviously figured things out.”
“He went from his basement to 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet to 2,400 square feet and now to a 6,200-square-foot operation with 17 employees.”
Their new space boasts many fun amenities, such as ping pong and pool tables, a giant bean bag lounger, kitchen with high-tech coffee dispenser, white board walls and many other conveniences that make AM Data Service a great place to work.
AM Data Service is an example of technical innovation, strength and fortitude. They provide outsourced IT services to other businesses in addition to enterprise content management (ECM) and software development. They recently released Force LMS liability management software for law enforcement agencies to track, report and analyze use of force, pursuits and training.
“We’ve grown many fold over the last 10 years,” said Ian McCain, director of operations. “I like to think it’s based on the vision of providing affordable managed care IT services but really, the truth of the matter is, it’s based on the people that comprise the company. As much as Rich is a part of it, our staff is a huge component of that. We wouldn’t be the company that we are without them. We certainly wouldn’t be here without them.
“I would like very much to thank Rich but also thank our staff and everyone who came out here to support us and have supported us over the years from the long nights, the smaller spaces, the cramped spaces, the bigger spaces and now as we’ve grown into a much bigger space.”
AM Data Service employs Miller’s dad and wife and his two best friends he relocated here from Orlando.
“Just looking around this place, I can see that Rich treats his employees like family,” said Livonia Mayor Dennis Wright. He’s also a business owner. “You can see that they work hard and play hard. It’s clear that Rich wants to make this a great place to work.”
Janet Benner, lead technician, has helped build AM Data Service for seven years. Clients consider her part of their staff. When a server goes down or a water main breaks in the middle of the night, Benner races to the client.
“That poor girl -- I don’t think she does anything other than work,” said Sandy Stem, president of S.J. Stem & Associates, P.C. “Sometimes I try not to call her so much but she’s just so responsive and so good. Whatever I need, I know I can rely on Janet for the answer or to fix the problem.”
Benner said Miller is the best boss she’s ever had and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. She works as hard as she does because she loves the work and that’s the example Miller has set from the start. He doesn’t ask his employees to do anything he’s not willing to do himself.
“Rich has improved my life and all of our lives by giving his all every day to ensure that AM Data Service is successful, constantly growing and just a flat-out cool place to work,” Benner said. “We've come a long way from the two-room suite where we were when I started.
“Rich is a great leader, teacher and person in general. I'm proud to know him and call him a friend.”
Sometimes Miller gets choked up when his employees demonstrate gratitude. He recalls fondly, all the times that employees have thanked him, but believes that it is a team effort where everyone is working to mutually improve each other's lives.
“This is why I went into business – to provide high-quality jobs and to treat people right,” said Miller, a Northville resident. “Without the people, the business is nothing.”
A business owner himself, Livonia Mayor Dennis Wright said Miller reminds him of himself.
“I never went to college either,” Wright said. “I worked hard and treated my employees right and it paid off. Just like it is for Rich.”
The mayor joked with the AM Data Service staff just before he cut the celebratory ribbon.
“All this growth you’ve had, do you have to check the address to make sure you’re going to the right building every day?” he asked. “This is phenomenal. We’re proud to have you here and part of our team. We hope you keep growing. I’ve got a couple other buildings we’ll start looking at real quick.”
Their clients aren’t surprised at their growth. Most of them have used other outsourced IT departments so they understand the value of what AM Data Service provides in comparison.
Stem used two IT vendors before finding AM Data Service.
“Nothing was really affordable for me but Rich was able to find something that worked well,” Stem said. “It was a good fit.”
She said they are reliable and highly responsive when she has a question or an issue.
“AM Data is peace of mind,” Stem said. “Being a small business, I don’t have time to put into computers. They’re a phone call away and they’re really responsive. I don’t have that much in my budget as far as computer service. It’s kinda like accounting. It’s a necessary expense you don’t want to make.”
The IT vendor manages Stem’s computer back-up services and they installed her company computers. They set up her firewall and VPN as well. She has what they call managed IT services on three computers, which means AM Data Service monitors those machines, pushes security patches to them and ensures they are running optimally and don’t get infected with viruses.
AM Data Service provides managed IT services to clients from a variety of industries, from manufacturing to medical to legal. Their list of 60-plus clients is certain to grow.
One year ago, this small business had no sales staff. Today they have a dedicated staff of three who sell managed IT services and enterprise content management (ECM) solutions. The staff is divided into two areas: managed IT services and ECM, specifically software called OnBase, which is developed by Hyland Software.
AM Data Service has a team of OnBase solution architects that design ECM systems to help other companies manage their documents and data that directly integrate with hundreds of business applications. The OnBase ECM software manages content, documents, processes and cases within one platform and it organizes critical systems and content into a single place.
Their OnBase developers build custom ECM solutions for clients all over the country.
“Our solution architects are extremely skilled at leveraging the functionality of OnBase to improve our clients’ processes and making them much more efficient,” said Krystian Lagowski. The Plymouth resident is the company’s lead ECM developer. “What were once labor-intensive tasks can be automated and processed in seconds, freeing that valuable staff up for more critical roles.”
AM Data Service, 33097 Schoolcraft Road in Livonia, provides outsourced IT services to other businesses in addition to enterprise content management (ECM) and software development. They recently released Force LMS liability management software for law enforcement agencies to track, report and analyze use of force, pursuits and training.