- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

Randolph Graham says that he's happy being a geek. The former program manager for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, a Herndon telecommunications firm, has started a Geeks on Call franchise in Rockville, providing computer maintenance and assistance to homes and businesses throughout Montgomery County.
"I've gone out to neighbors and friends' places to fix their computers and figured this would be a great way to spend the day," Mr. Graham, 47, said. "So I picked Geeks because they have the national presence and a cool car to drive but they also give me my independence to run my operation as I see fit."
Mr. Graham said that he already is servicing small and midsize businesses with the one-man operation he owns. "I would someday like to expand this and get more people involved, but then again I love being hands-on and helping the customer."
He said that he's ready for any computer challenge after more than 30 years in the computer network industry, including serving as a computer operator for NASA's Mission Control operation.
"I've seen a lot, and the experience makes me feel confident and excited about going out to a company and fixing 13 or 20 of their machines in an afternoon," he said.
Michael Vanderslice, vice president of operations for Geeks on Call of America, said that Mr. Graham fit the company's requirements of having the necessary computer skills and being willing to work in different environments.
"I could tell after I met Randy in training that he was very capable of getting out into the community and being able to talk with his customers," Mr. Vanderslice said. "That's important in our field because the technician has to be able to got to a client's house or business and be comfortable with talking to the client."
The start-up has been a smooth process, Mr. Graham said. "I started up a network company [GG&M; Business Services Inc.] once before, so I was prepared, but the training, the investment, the certification and the financing have all been a breeze," he said. "I'm glad to be busy, otherwise I'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Mr. Graham said that time management would be his biggest challenge as he takes on the dual role of providing the service and marketing the company.
"But I like the fact that I get to control how a solution for a client is going to work and that my work and attitude will determine the happiness of the customer, not by what some higher-up tells me to do," Mr. Graham said.
Mr. Vanderslice said that he expected Mr. Graham's self-motivation to increase his orders 40 percent within a month.
"Randy is already on his way to making his franchise successful because he's out there in the community talking to his people about their computer problems," Mr. Vanderslice said.
Mr. Graham lives in Germantown with his wife, Rue, and their daughter, Cathy.

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