This month we welcome a conversation with Tyler Smith, President of Matson & Isom Technology Consulting (M&I). If you've lived in Chico a long time, the name Matson & Isom is likely familiar to you. Founded in 1962, M&I was originally an accounting firm. The demand for technology services was so high that in 2000 they split off to form a separate venture. They retained the legal name, and the accounting firm is now operating as K-Coe Isom.
Tell us a bit about M&I
M&I is a consultancy that provides technology services primarily in northern California, however, we have clients all over the United States. Our focus is simply to help our partners to be more successful through the effective use of technology. We strive to be different, in that we provide IT support with partnership and respect as core principles.
Tell us about your journey with the company
I started here as an intern right out of college in April of 2002. I was excited about the idea of being a consultant and helping people solve problems, and truly leveraging technology to make their business better. I didn’t want to be stuck in a specific niche, I wanted the opportunity to help people in different industries with different challenges.
Describe M&I's "Special Sauce"
We focus on partnering with our clients, and always approach the relationship from a consultative perspective. Our goal is to understand our partners’ unique businesses and help our partners to make strategic technology decisions. We offer a great deal of expertise to support them in the journey toward leveraging technology for more strategic growth and success. For example, in our ClearIT Partner Program, we offer a series of training sessions known as the Productivity Series. These interactive training sessions are designed to help our partners and their staff be more productive and get the most out of tools they already own, like Microsoft Excel or Outlook.
If I ask a local what you're best known for, what would they say?
An accounting firm! (Laughs) Just kidding. We’re known for our people and our approach. Our ability to listen well and provide solutions, not just quick fixes. People know that when they work with us they’re gaining a strategic partner and not simply a vendor.
Let's have some fun. What's a little-known secret about M&I?
In the dot com era around 2000-2001, we had a dot com product. We created a community ecommerce web platform called igumbo.com. It was wildly successful… for about a week. No. It was never successful. I still have a few T-Shirts around somewhere…
How would you describe the culture at your company?
Our company culture is really framed around the respect we have for our clients and our belief in comprehensive communication. We’ve deliberately assembled a team of people who share that vision and can uphold that standard. The tech industry is one that changes quickly, and in order to maintain our quality of service, we make investments in our employees’ ongoing training and development to continually deepen their knowledge, and broaden the scope of what they can do.
Your employees. If we were were to ask them, what would be the top 3 reasons they love working for M&I?
We definitely look for employees who want to grow with the company. There’s a feeling that we care about them, their families, and their goals. My story with M&I is definitely a good example of how there’s upward mobility. (Laughs)
What about your business makes you most proud?
The depths of the relationships we build with our clients and partners. As I mentioned, our core mission is to help our clients be more successful. I know a lot of businesses have core missions, but I’m proud that we work every day to deliver on that mission for our partners.
Chicoans love fun facts. What's one about you, personally?
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Siskiyou County, about as far from technology as you could possibly get. Somehow made it into the industry anyway. (Laughs)
What's your first memory of Chico?
Trying to find a mechanic’s shop for my truck in college. This was in 1998, and at the time digital mapping was still a pretty new concept. So I got directions, and they said they were on Cohasset. I learned that day that there are about four different Cohassets in Chico, and I found every single one, except the right one… And then I decided to get a new mechanic.
When you think about Chico, what makes you most proud?
I love its proximity to mountains, to snow, to San Francisco, to Sacramento, to where I’m from in Siskiyou County. It’s a wonderful town that’s only about three hours away from skiing, or the ocean, or the city. I like that it’s close to all of those things, but still has a small-town feel with the economic and social benefits of it being a little bigger.
Your favorite spot?
Upper Bidwell Park, for the hiking. I love to take my kids up to Monkey Face.
What's one tip you would give to someone who is discovering all Chico has to offer?
Network! Get to know the people. There are so many corners in Chico that you’d miss if you didn’t talk to people who’ve either grown up here, or have lived here for a long time. There’s a lot of amazing stuff if you know where to look.
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