Nerds On Site on Site at Fanshawe
Born local, bred global, reach universal
This may seem to be a far-reaching and ambitious mantra, but for a London, Ontario business that is now operating in nine countries on five continents, the message certainly resonated with the students in the International Business Management (ITB) program at Fanshawe College.
Nerds On Site CEO Charlie Regan (centre) speaks with students
Carlos Lemus (left) and Jose Espana
Two red Volkswagen Beetles arrived at Fanshawe College early on Tuesday, September 15, 2009. This time the technology partners were not calling on a client in need of assistance, but sharing insights and inspiring visions for the students of Fanshawe's International Business program. In addition to the distinctive shape of the red VW Beetle and the cheerful Nerds On Site logo, there is also a clever marketing tactic and customer service innovation - a business card holder on the outside of the vehicle so that interested homeowners or small business owners in need of technology assistance can more easily contact a specific Nerds entrepreneur. These vehicles also featured a sticker across the back window with the flags of the nine countries in which Nerds On Site is currently operating. This visual clue provides an insight into the global aspirations of Nerds On Site.
In the classroom, students listened to the ambitious vision to employ 50 million eNerds or EntrepreNERDS operating around the world to meet the technology needs of emerging markets.
Charlie Regan, CEO/Managing Director took time out of his busy schedule of meetings with his management teams and boards of directors to share a number of the tenets of his management philosophy and inspire the class of 40 students.
For two action-packed hours he shared stories, motivational moments from his own career and the Nerds organization. Without a note or a PowerPoint slide he enthralled the group perhaps reflecting his extensive Dale Carnegie training. Dale Carnegie training is one of many learning opportunities provided to all eNerds to help enhance their communication and relationship-building skills.
Charlie described the key skills many employers value and specific hiring practices used by Nerds On Site, which feature virtual applications and interviews at IWantToBeANerd.com.
Mr. Regan also touched on the importance of humility, Canadian values and exciting opportunities for Canadians to collaborate with enterprises throughout the world to achieve synergistic success in the global economy.
Also visiting Fanshawe from Nerds On Site were David Redekop and Arthur Wiebe. Charlie mentioned that he first met David when he was working in a computer retail store even before Nerds On Site was incorporated. Not only was Charlie impressed with David's technological expertise, but even more importantly, David's honesty and ability to solve tech needs cost-effectively led to a long-term relationship. It was fitting then, that this honest, humble co-founder of Nerds, David Redekop, would tell the class about the Nerds' mission. Arthur Wiebe videotaped Charlie's presentation to upload to the Nerds intranet so that eNerds in nine countries could also witness the inspiring and remarkable message that Charlie delivered.
Mr. Regan provided insight into the Nerds business model, their focus on small business customers, the importance of transparency to inspire all independent Nerds and the use of in-house technology to deliver prompt, efficient customer service. In addition, there is an ongoing commitment to train Nerds in all global markets through the University of Nerdology.
Beyond that Charlie offered advice about the importance of balancing faith, family and career. He emphasized the importance of reading. He recommended several books on management and also indicated that he had learned a great deal from reading the Bible and the Koran. Mr. Regan stressed the importance of celebrating diversity and taking a world view. With this type of message, it is no wonder that the students in the International Business Management program found his comments fascinating.
The ITB program has achieved consistent growth in enrolment since it was first offered in September 2006. Impressively, the post-graduate certificate program has attracted students from 13 countries including China, India, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Dubai, Ghana and other markets, as well as an exchange student from the Netherlands.
The majority of students already have a university degree and several have graduated from programs at Fanshawe College.
One of the co-founders of Nerds On Site is John Harbarenko who received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Fanshawe College in 2008.
Although John was not at Fanshawe for the presentation, the coordinator of the ITB program, Murray Morgan, had met with John, Charlie, David and the Nerds management team several times during the summer. Morgan ascertained the business objectives of the Nerds team and explained the nature of the ITB courses and curriculum. After sharing how the work of the students had been of value to other London area businesses looking to export and explaining the quality and diversity of the student group, the Nerds team agreed to invest their time in what we hope will be a beneficial collaboration for all stakeholders.
The students will begin gathering data for a comparison of two markets in groups of two for their major in International Trade Research. This project is part of the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) curriculum and will eventually be submitted to FITT for external grading as part of the process to earn a FITT Diploma in International Trade.
After the classroom presentation, Charlie offered to buy coffees and snacks for interested students. A good portion of the class joined Charlie and Professor Morgan in the James Colvin Atrium to continue the discussion. Once the students have completed their initial research, we hope to invite the Nerds team back for further discussions.