Our first act as a new company was when Eric and I drove to the Sprint store to buy some high-tech (well, high-tech for 1999) mobile phones! At the time, who would have guessed that Integra would outlast Sprint? Now, we just have to outgrow them.
Before launching, we planned our company for about a year. Who knows if we ever would have launched unless we were nearly forced to do it? The small consulting company I was with had financial troubles and handed out a retroactive 20% pay cut right before Thanksgiving vacation. That was the second one in two years, and in my mind, it was enough to confirm that it was time to leave.
We could have just gotten jobs somewhere else, but Eric and I were vital on the nearly completed mission-critical software project for MEMCO Barge Line, and they really wanted us to stay and help finish it. I expected that to be the last software project Integra would ever do in the barge industry. Little did I know how much impact we would have on that industry for years to come.
Accepted into the St. Louis County Business Incubator
Our first office location was in the St. Louis County Enterprise Center designed for startup companies. We presented our business plan to the board and proved to them that Integra would create jobs in St. Louis County. We must have made a good case because they accepted us into the program, and we were grateful. The facility offered ample space for new companies with furnished conference rooms, premium A/V capabilities for presentations, and the flexibility to expand as we grew (if you’ve poked around the site, you already know how important that is to us).