Cedar Rapids' GreatAmerica Financial Services expands IT services unit

Company invests $2M in computer and network systems, remodeling

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April 1, 2014 | 3:15 am

GreatAmerica Financial Services, a 20-year-old commercial equipment financing and value-added services company, has expanded a three-year-old business unit that provides nationwide information technology services for dealers to offer their customers.

Collabrance provides remote monitoring and remediation of computer networks, servers and workstations. The business is staffed with professionals trained in problem solving for computer, network and communication technologies.

As demand has grown, Tony Golobic, chairman and chief executive officer of GreatAmerica Financial Services, said the $1.4 billion company has invested $2 million in computer and network systems as well as remodeling 18,000 square feet of the third floor of the GreatAmerica Building at 625 First St. SE.

"We aim to become a much broader company is terms of the services we provide to our customers," Golobic said. "We are offering human resources consulting, servicing commercial lease and loan portfolios and monitoring printing devices.

"Everything in many offices is controlled by computers. More and more small businesses are becoming dependent on computers and yet it takes real high priced expertise to keep those things running."

Golobic said many businesses are too small to afford a professional information technology department. That's where he feels GreatAmerica's Collabrance can play a significant role and keep costs to a minimum.

"We are outsourcing computer system service to Cedar Rapids, not to China," Golobic said. "We are adding jobs beyond the sales, accounting, and finance positions we typically advertise.

"We have 20 percent of the third floor available for expansion. We have about 54 IT employees working in Collabrance and we will add employees as the business scales up.

"We have 46 of our dealers signed up and we expect that number to continue to grow. We are projecting double- to triple-digit revenue growth into 2017."

Golobic said the name of the company recently changed from GreatAmerica Leasing to GreatAmerica Financial Services to reflect that the company is no longer just a commercial equipment financing business.

"Our corporate mission is to help our customers to become more successful," he said. "We are constantly saying 'What do we need to do to fulfill our mission?' We will fill the needs we can do better than others and at a reasonable price."

Golobic said GreatAmerica has a goal of having 30 percent of its annual profit generated by non-financial services.

"We feel value-added services will continue to expand in years to come," he said. "Our dealers will grow to become a  sole source of financial and value-added services for their customers."

GreatAmerica Financial Services will host this month's Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance PM Exchange from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Guests will enjoy complimentary refreshments and an opportunity to create new business contacts while learning about area businesses.

There is no cost to attend. 

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