Vet Sells His Company, Starts New One to Hire Vets

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – About a month ago, George McDonnell faced a big decision — whether to stay with the business he founded in 2006 or sell it and pursue an entirely new venture that ignited his passion.

The former owner of Canfield Computers LLC says his choice wasn’t difficult, and he is now building his new company, US Military Maintenance Northeast Ohio.

“I realized I couldn’t run both of those businesses and give them the full attention they deserve,” McDonnell said. “My passion is working with veterans.”

US Military Maintenance is a commercial cleaning and janitorial service dedicated to hiring veterans, active military personnel and military spouses, says McDonnell, who served 21 years in the U.S. Navy. “I feel like I’m fortunate,” he says. “I want to be able to give back to this community. A lot of veterans have trouble re-integrating into society.”

That led McDonnell to search for a buyer of the company. And that’s when Austintown-based Team Office Technologies stepped up.

“Canfield Computers and Team Office did a lot of the same things in the area of IT support, managed services, and supporting companies locally,” said Tom Reeveley, president of Team Office. “It was a perfect transition, because we use a lot of the same services and the same processes to manage those services. It was almost seamless.”

Team Office, in business since 1980, employs 24 and sells multifunctional copiers and provides network and computer support for small and medium-size companies throughout northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, Reeveley said. “We do a really good job of integrating copiers and make them do things that are more challenging, like scan directly into a database.”

McDonnell and Reeveley, who have known each other several years, were friendly competitors. “It was an easy transition,” McDonnell says. Canfield Computers employed two – one opted to take a job with Team Office while the other, a college intern, decided to pursue other opportunities.

The concept of a cleaning service staffed by veterans was first brought to McDonnell’s attention about a year ago through the professional web network LinkedIn. “I thought that this was a really great way to put veterans to work,” he said. “And that’s what it’s about – putting veterans to work, paying them a meaningful wage, and giving them something that they can do to feel like they’re doing something meaningful in life.”

There are 23 such businesses across the country, McDonnell said, and US Military Maintenance is the first of its kind in Ohio. “The oldest one is about a year-and-a-half old, and he’s doing about $500,000 a year in revenue,” he noted. “So, it could scale up and grow pretty quickly. These are veteran-owned businesses that are hiring veterans to do the work.”

And one discipline veterans know from Day One at boot camp is how to clean. “There’s always someone following us around with a white glove,” McDonnell said.

The company is in its infancy, he said, and will begin hiring once the business secures some new commercial contracts. “We’re starting off small,” he said.

Reeveley said the opportunity to acquire Canfield Computers couldn’t have come at a better time. “We’re just non-stop,” he said. “Business has been very, very strong.”

Bryan Higgins, Team Office vice president, said the company has earned a strong reputation in the IT industry and proved an ideal match for clients of Canfield Computers. “We met with the customers, and were able to handle any kind of issues that they had,” Higgins said, “and provide maybe a few additional benefits because we have the copier division as well.”

Higgins describes Team Office as the “IT department of small businesses” capable of handling networking issues, anti-viral protection and security measures. “We have clients from manufacturing, to services, to government,” he said, “pretty much across the board.”

Reeveley said that Team Office tends to take on projects that other companies wouldn’t, and that competitors often call for their services on a particularly complex job. “We have a friendly, open environment,” he said.

“We’re extremely pleased that George had discussed this with us and ultimately chose us to take over his customers,” Higgins said. “More importantly, we’re excited to help move on to his new goals.”

Pictured: George McDonnell, founder of U.S. Military Maintenance Northeast Ohio ; Thomas Reeveley, president of Team Office Technologies, and Bryan Higgins, vice president of Team Office Technologies.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.