Brothers celebrate 30 years since launching tech company in their York basement
- Scott and John Dolmetsch launched Business Information Group from their basement before personal computers were the norm.
- ¿Quieres leer esto en español? Haga clic aquí.
Decades before the launch of social media, when the internet was still in its infancy and wireless cell phones were a dream of sci-fi novels, John and Scott Dolmetsch enrolled at York College of Pennsylvania’s brand-new Computer Information Science program.
It was the early 1980s. John had finished high school the year before and was working at the local McDonalds’. Not wanting to quit his job, John chose York College to stay close to home. Scott, who graduated a year behind John, enrolled with him.
The pair excelled in a field that many fellow students couldn’t seem to grasp.
Looking back today, it’s what set them on the path to starting Business Information Group, an IT service management company that’s now been in business for 30 years.
“Computer programming is an art,” John says. “You have to have a knack for it.”
The art of tech
The draw of making money with their newfound skills led both brothers to leave college in 1985 before finishing their degree. They worked for several local companies, developing software.
Over the course of the next decade, computers went from a single, massive, $10,000 investment for a company to compute payroll to everyone having their own word processor and then personal computer.
John and Scott were in the thick of the revolution.
“Luck has a lot to do with it,” Scott says.
In 1992, they were ready to launch out on their own.
The brothers set up shop in their basement on Linden Avenue near the York fairgrounds and launched BIG. They spent their days installing computer systems and software for local companies.
The duo never looked back.
“I never said I need out,” Scott says, “I only said I need more help.”
A continuous pivot
At the beginning, John and Scott had to reinvent themselves every five to seven years as technology shifted. Now, they reevaluate their direction every year.
John, the self-dubbed risktaker of the pair, is constantly looking to what’s next in the tech industry.
“My role in the organization is I’m allowed to look at things and throw them against a wall and see what works and what doesn’t and try it and fail,” he says. “Most stuff fails. You have to have someone in the organization who’s testing the tech waters.”
The metaverse is weighing heavy on John’s mind these days. He bought his first property in Decentraland over a year and a half ago.
“It’s important to understand, to keep up with things, to stay ahead of the game,” he says.
For Scott, who prefers catching real fish to casting a coded fishing line, keeping up with cyber security and crime has been his number one priority.
“Fifteen years ago,” he says, “we were not worried about our customers being attacked by a nation state. Today, everyone is a target.”
Growing from two brothers in a basement to over 100 employees at their downtown York office, John and Scott have seen a lot of change. One of their biggest joys has been watching their employees get married, raise families, and their children returning to BIG as interns.
With the evolution of technology through three decades, Scott has come to appreciate more and more the value of unplugging and enjoying the small things, like his York community.
“This is an awesome place to live,” he says, “and there are plenty of opportunities. You don’t have to leave the area to work in tech.”
“You can be successful at everything if you really enjoy it,” John says. “Don’t just do something to make money; it’s not fulfilling. We happened to find something that really resonated, and we built on it.”