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ITX Corp.’s 25-year success story is ‘all about the relationship’

To thrive, to prosper and to grow, a company often must adapt to a changing marketplace.

What was a requisite for a client 10 years ago may very well be an obsolete service today. Thus, the ability to adjust, and sometimes even reinvent, is critical.

ITX Corp. is proof. When Ralph Dandrea launched the firm in 1997, it was basically a two-person consultancy. Over time, the focus shifted to general software project management, and today ITX is a full-service software development company.

Headquartered on the ninth floor of The Metropolitan, ITX prides itself on the ability to solve complex problems for clients. The number of employees has pushed past 260, with their designers and developers building software, websites, mobile apps and web portals.

“We’re led by what customers are actually doing,” Dandrea said. “We got really good at designing and architecting and helping customers understand what they need to build.”

Ralph Dandrea

A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, Dandrea was designing inventory software for video rental stores while he was attending Cardinal Mooney High School in Greece. But it was another event during his high school years that shaped his approach to business.

His father, Bob, owned Dandrea Electric, a family business started by his grandfather. But an economic downturn in the 1980s forced the firm into bankruptcy. Ralph was 17 at the time, and he has never forgotten what life was like then.

Thus, even as ITX grew — reaching $3 million in revenue after just three years — he had a strong grip on the reins. Continued growth obviously was essential, but it would be regulated, not whirlwind.

“I didn’t want to grow more than 30 percent any year,” he said. “I didn’t have the money to grow that fast, I didn’t want to take on debt and I didn’t want (external investment) partners.

“When you have (external investment) partners, the interests are often different. Alignment of interests is the most important aspect in business. If everything is aligned in the network, everything works great. But when you bring on investors, they’re just worried about getting a return on their investment.”

Today ITX is debt-free; maintaining a common-sense approach to growth is one reason why, Dandrea said.

“I would rather be sure-footed than in debt,” said Dandrea, who  was named to the Rochester Business Journal’s Power 50 Technology List in April. “I’ve passed on some opportunities. The only time I allowed us to grow faster (than 30 percent) was in 2008; we had 54 percent growth.”

While he doesn’t necessarily regret loosening the growth cap, there were issues.

“There was a noticeable loss in control,” Dandrea said. “It took us a year to two years to straighten out the cultural delusion.”

Workplace culture is a critical component of the ITX mission. “We have a very harmonious environment,” he said. They also have an attrition rate that is below the industry norm. One reason: using a mark-to-market salary evaluation. Just as accountants use mark-to-market to assess fair value of assets, ITX does the same with the salaries of designers and developers.

All of that plays into the bigger picture of the partnerships with clients.

“It’s all about the relationship,” Dandrea said. “I see the world through risk management. What are the risks to a relationship and how do you resolve those risks early on?”

A little TLC is great when you have the flu. A lot of TLA helps fuel ITX: Trust, Loyalty and Advocacy. Dandrea believes that if ITX is successful in meeting client needs and solving challenges faced by clients, then loyalty is built. And in turn, clients become advocates of ITX.

That’s why there is more to the customer relationship than a strictly  transactional deal. “What is the likelihood that you live up to what you say you’re going to do?” Dandrea said. “If a customer needs to get something done right and on a certain timetable, then we’re a good fit.”

They have been for 25 years. But in reaching the 25-year milestone, Dandrea believes he is fortunate. “This isn’t just my doing,” he said, giving a figurative tip of the cap to the management team, business partners, team members and clients, as well as the mentors he had along the way. “I’m very grateful.”

[email protected]/(585) 653-4020

Imagine Monroe approves incentives for six area projects

Imagine Monroe, the county’s industrial development agency, has approved incentives for six projects that are expected to create nearly 200 local jobs and retain more than 1,000, including the addition of 100 at Bausch & Lomb Inc. and 50 at ITX Corp.

“In one of our most productive months ever, Imagine Monroe today advanced six significant economic development projects that will help to secure over 1,500 more jobs for our residents,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo in a statement Tuesday. “I thank these growing employers—including Bausch & Lomb, ITX Corp. and more—for their commitment to doing business in Monroe County.”

Bausch & Lomb has proposed a 110,000-square-foot building expansion on its North Goodman Street campus that will retain 1,000 jobs and create 100. Last November, Bausch & Lomb’s parent company Bausch Health said it planned to add multiple production lines at a site in Ireland and in Rochester to support manufacturing of its disposable silicone hydrogel (SiHy) daily contact lenses.

The $140 million expansion will include an energy-efficient building and the company will seek LEED Silver certification. Bausch & Lomb was approved for sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions, as well as the Enhanced JobsPlus property tax abatement. The investment in Rochester’s optics center also is being assisted by up to $3 million through Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Program.

The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

ITX Corp., a global software product development company in its 22nd year of business, has proposed expansion and relocation of its corporate headquarters from Pittsford to the city of Rochester. The project includes the renovation of 14,000 square feet in the Metropolitan building to include a conference center in which the company will train its entire U.S. workforce.

ITX employs 105 people in the U.S., including 61 in Monroe County. The project is expected to create 50 full-time positions over the next three years. ITX sought approval of sales tax exemptions on construction materials, furniture, fixtures and equipment related to the project.

Real estate holding company 45 Becker Road LLC has proposed renovating 40,000 square feet at 45 Becker Road for tenant Orolia USA Inc., which develops and manufactures resilient positioning, navigation and timing platforms for global positioning systems. Imagine Monroe approved sales tax exemption on materials, equipment and furnishings on $675,500 in purchases.

The project impacts 90 employees and is expected to create an additional 20 jobs over three years.

FiveTwentyFive East Broad LLC, a real estate holding company owned by the Konar family, has proposed the construction of four buildings in the city’s Neighborhood of Play. The final phase of the redevelopment includes residential and office and retail space.

The city of Rochester has requested an 11-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the second phase, and the applicant is seeking sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemption. The projected job creation is 3.5 jobs.

Rock Environmental Inc. has proposed the purchase of a commercial-grade, truck-mounted cleaning system and two cargo vans for its environmental and industrial services business. The company employs 26 people and expects to create two jobs over the next year. RE has been approved for the GreatRate program through Monroe County Industrial Development Corp. and is seeking sales tax exemption for purchases of $102,899.

Precision Grinding and Manufacturing Corp. is planning a 12,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate growth. The $1.5 million project will impact 155 full-time employees and is projected to create 12 full-time positions over the next three years.

Imagine Monroe approved sales tax exemptions on construction materials and furniture and fixtures related to the project.

“Projects like these show how we’ve been able to secure over 20,000 more jobs here since 2016 alone and prove that Monroe County is open for business now more than ever before,” Dinolfo said.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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