Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG) recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary. Exciting company milestones like this one often find entrepreneurs reflecting on their history and the intangible aspects of their growth. LEDG helps organizations create modern, connected facilities through the planning, design, and installation of data center and intelligent building solutions. Founder, Todd Boucher, attributes their success to their company culture, the integrity of their employees, and the meaningful relationships they have been able to build with customers and partners.
The Starting Point:
Todd was born and raised in Enfield, NH and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003. After working in startup software companies for several years, Todd was inspired to seek a new path after a difficult end-of-quarter exchange with his boss. “The startup I was working for was under a lot of pressure to grow,” says Boucher. “At the end of the quarter, I was working on a deal that had initially seemed promising but had since begun to waver. Our sales leadership told me that I needed to get on a plane and sit in the customer’s office until he gave me an update on the project. I couldn’t believe the suggestion that I should sacrifice a potential customer relationship to get an update on one project. It was the first time I realized that the only way to find a company that is completely aligned with your values is to start one yourself.”
After leaving the software company he was working for, Todd returned to work with his family’s business in the electrical and telecommunications industry. “Our work in data centers was increasing,” recalls Boucher. “What I noticed was that our customers were investing heavily in new, innovative technologies (like virtualization) that were changing the dynamic of their data center, but the physical infrastructure components (like power and cooling) weren’t updated to match the change in technology.” Leading Edge Design Group was founded in December 2007 as a consulting company focused specifically on data centers and helping customers develop designs that aligned physical infrastructure with technology profiles and planning. Since 2007, Leading Edge Design Group’s offering has expanded to design-build services and intelligent building solutions.
Why New Hampshire?
New Hampshire was home to Todd, a state that he knew was supportive of small and startup businesses, and the people of the state represented the values that he hoped would define Leading Edge Design Group.
What Todd Has Learned
In December, Leading Edge Design Group celebrated their 10th anniversary. That celebration brought about a rewarding, introspective look at the history of their company and an exciting look at their continued growth and evolution for the next ten years. Todd says they have learned countless lessons over the past ten years, including the ones you read most about like hiring the right people, being willing to fail, and more. As LEDG heads into their next ten years, Todd shared his guiding principles that will help steer their success and the success of his employees:
In order to care for our customers, we have to care for each other
You often hear that the hallmark of a great company is their dedication to customer service. While I believe that is true, I don’t believe that it is possible without first being dedicated to each other. We want our team to feel supported both inside and outside of work and that they have the space to care for their family and what is truly important in their lives. The commitment to and feeling of caring for one another is what manifests into great customer service.
How you do anything is how you do everything
For any business to be great, you can’t turn your commitment to quality on and off. It is easy to place greater emphasis on larger projects or high profile clients but is the commitment to the small things – how we communicate with each other, how we establish and follow a process, how we respond to a warranty issue – that has been most important to our success. Our commitment to quality has to extend through everything that we do and we hold each other accountable for this commitment while working on projects large and small.
Build Meaningful Relationships
We live in a world that is increasingly digitized and our work helps customers increase their utilization of these technologies. However, before we can help them we have to earn their trust. We have learned that this requires us to be great listeners; that it is easy to share your expertise and experience with potential clients but more impactful to spend the time to truly hear what they need most. Being great listeners and being focused on quality in all that we do (how you do anything is how you do everything) is how a meaningful relationship is built.
Don’t dilute value
Building a meaningful relationship means that there is both trust and a mutual sense of value shared between us and LEDG customers. If we allow that to be marginalized, we are diluting the value that we provide and eroding the relationship we have with our customers and partners. As we have grown, we have learned to understand when this value is not recognized and have better developed a willingness to walk away from projects where our value is not established.
Know what you can control
There are so many things in business that we can’t control. Competition. The market. Regulation. Customer procurement processes. Great companies are defined by being exceptional at the things they can control and know how to respond to the things they can’t. We live in a world where excessive responses are sensationalized. We have to recognize that these reactions are temporary. For LEDG, what endures and creates meaningful relationships with customers are responses that are pragmatic, ignore ego, and focuses on moving forward and finding solutions.
What’s Next for LEDG?
Being in the forefront of innovation is important to LEDG along with doing an excellent job of what their customers are asking of them today. LEDG’s business has always existed at the intersection of technology and facilities infrastructure which is at a historical inflection point in today’s building economy. This is what makes the future of LEDG so exciting. With the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the expansion of Power over Ethernet (POE) capabilities, the network will play a critical role in creating facilities that operate efficiently and provide buildings owners with the data they need to make decisions. They have built their business on the diverse knowledge set of technology and facilities infrastructure and are thrilled to help create the intelligent buildings of the future.