Some people discover their entrepreneurial flair after a long corporate career. Some, like Nina Vaca, are born with it…
“I don’t think anyone in my family had a corporate job,” she says. “Everyone-my mother, father, aunts, uncles-was an entrepreneur.” After graduating with a degree in communications from Texas State University, Vaca moved to New York City to work for an IT firm, but yearned to be near her family in Texas again. In 1996, six months after moving back, she started Pinnacle, an IT services provider, from the living room of her apartment in Dallas.
Among her earliest clients were AT&T and Verizon. That led to others in financial services, health care, and consumer products, “As a small company you can’t take anything for granted,” says Vaca, the mother of four children. “You have to know what your customers need, get it to them on time, and at the best price.” Gelling the money to grow the business over the past ten years has been an exercise in financial discipline. “I’m in this for the long term so every penny gets reinvested,” she explains. The strategy seems to be paying off.
The Hispanic business owner says her company now handles everything from data warehousing to call center technology. Recently, she signed a $40 million contract with BMW to manage their contract labor vendors, “This is a huge deal for our company and enables us to enter the vendor management business, a new segment for Pinnacle,” she says, adding what’s perhaps the best part: “We competed against publicly traded companies-and we won.”