“Thanks for coming in for this interview.”
“Your technical background and experience are exactly what we need.”
“I see you have an M.B.A. from Harvard. Impressive!”
“But more importantly, how good are you at sleeping on airplanes?”
“Well, I, um … What?”
Whether or not that question is actually asked in Verrex Corporation job interviews is difficult to tell. President, CEO and chairman Tom Berry Jr. is at least half joking when he emphasizes the importance of certain employees having that enviable ability, but travel is serious business for an integration firm with a fast-growing global presence representing over 20 percent of its $37 million in 2014 integration and managed services revenues.
“Part of our global strategy is having the ability to travel around the world,” Berry says. “Some people that can’t sleep on an airplane can’t imagine going to Asia three or four times a year. We joke that we’re going to fall asleep on the airplane before takeoff and they’ll have to wake us up when we’re landing. That allows us to hit the ground running without being affected by jetlag.”
There’s a bit more to Verrex’s global strategy than finding employees who can sleep on planes. That’s one characteristic, albeit a quirky one, in a strategy that’s extremely nuanced and increasingly successful.
Will Travel for Clients
The first thing to know about Verrex’s decision to go global is that it never made a decision to go global. The Mountainside, N.J.-based firm has had a significant global presence for about six years. Do the math and one wonders why that was a good time to expand business globally.
The decision Verrex made and continues to make, says VP of global sales Bill Chamberlin, is to listen to its customers. At that time U.S.-based companies — and about 90 percent of Verrex’s business is in the corporate market — were increasingly opening facilities overseas. They wanted the same level of support and system design that Verrex had provided domestically for their operations abroad, so the integrator set sea to support its clients.
“Rolling it out in the headwinds of the global recession, we took our lumps,” Berry says. “We lost money. An investment was made heavily in 2010, 2011 and even into 2012.”
The lumps piled up when in 2012 Verrex shuttered its U.K., Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo and Singapore offices as part of a restructuring process.