Year Founded: 2005
Business Type: Software Company
Number of Employees: 40
"I think that we build the world's best software in order to help our clients. It's a challenge to be a company like that. To me, resilience means making a product and not taking shortcuts."
- Tom Bandy, Co-owner and General Manager
Tom Bandy could have located his software company anywhere. He chose Downtown Petersburg because he believes in its future.
"I grew up around here, and it was a special place where you would go to watch a movie or get ice cream," Bandy said, co-owner and general manager of BandyWorks. The company designs and develops internet-based software for a variety of clients in several states.
Today, with the decline of industry and tobacco in addition to other economic hurdles, Petersburg officials are working closely with local business leaders to help bring that vitality back. BandyWorks, like other local employers, is an important piece of the overall puzzle.
From a renovated house in the historic district where he set up shop, Bandy sees signs of promise for his area. "We're not finished, but there are numerous really cool renovated warehouses and factories that have been converted into apartments."
Active in area chambers, economic development initiatives, and schools and colleges, Bandy assists the area in any way he can.
When not acting as a cheerleader for Petersburg, Bandy is navigating the challenges of running a business day-to-day. He knows first-hand some of the pitfalls. At the age of 23, Bandy started his first computer software business and saw it take off. However, as with many young entrepreneurs, with success came new problems.
"I got too aggressive," said Bandy. "We brought in some venture capital and expanded too fast and lost control of it." At 51, he is older and wiser about business and has learned to adapt and change in order to meet a challenge, be it hiring employees or sticking it out during a recession.
With BandyWorks nearing its sixth year as a company, the Resilience Awards came at just the right time. According to Bandy, the media exposure and networks helped tremendously and the awards boosted the company at a critical time.
Even more, in April, Bandy became the first of the five Resilience Award winners from last year to claim the main prize-- enrollment in an executive education program at the University of Virginia's Darden Schools of Business worth nearly $10,000. Bandy said the course helped him push management of the organization down to his employees, empowering them while at the same time allowing him to focus on the bigger picture.
Ultimately Bandy hopes the change in Petersburg doesn't stop with him. "I hope that if we came back in five years and talked about it, there would be five more companies in Petersburg that are making a huge difference," Bandy said.