Music was his first love, but business was in his blood
June 25, 2012 | Jewish Tribune
Rena Green Tribune Intern
RICHMOND HILL – Determined to follow his love for music, Shael Risman promised himself that he would never sit behind a desk like his father.
“My father was a fantastic entrepreneur in his own right,” said Risman, now the CEO of PACE Technical Services Inc. “I never wanted to be in the business [world]. I wanted to be a musician.”
After playing in the ’90s band Union Reservoir and recording a few solo albums, Risman was convinced that music was his destiny.
“I wanted to be playing [music] and doing what I loved no matter how much I was making,” said Risman.
Following his graduation from York University, he worked for minimum wage at a music store.
“I [started] to learn more and more about business and how it worked,” explained Risman, “and the music industry can be applied to any business.”
Despite his initial misgivings about becoming like his father, he began to realize his potential outside of the music world.
Risman teamed up with partner and PACE president Michael Sugrue, to start what is now one of Profit Magazine’s top 200 fastest growing companies in Canada.
Providing small- and medium-sized businesses with complete IT services for a flat monthly fee, Risman sheds light on his company’s success.
“A lot of IT companies do regular break-fix. If something breaks, you work for two hours and you bill. There’s no value to that. There’s no commitment,” he noted. “We wanted to be able to give businesses the feeling of having a full IT company, without having to pay the [full] support costs.”
Already recognized after seven short years as the top 200 managed service providers in North America and top 10 in Canada by Industry Magazine, Risman said he has built himself up by taking risks.
“We started this company financed on credit cards, and now we’re in the top 200 fastest growing companies in Canada,” he said. “We had no investors. We invested our time and our sweat.”
Staying true to his musical integrity, Risman still finds the time to do what he loves on the side.
“I still play music; it’s just not touring the bars anymore!”