“For me, the ability to think freely is probably the biggest thing, because I think if I can think about something than I can do it.”— Rick Krenmayer, CEO and co-founder, Stasmayer, Inc.
Rick Krenmayer became an entrepreneur at age 12, co-founded Stasmayer, Inc. in his dorm room, and today has a company that is on the Inc. 5000, one of the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina, and one of the United States’ top IT Managed Services companies. Check out my Freedom Media Network interview with Rick about freedom’s impact in building his successful business:
Here is the unedited transcript of my interview with Rick:
Rick Krenmayer: 00:00
Most people say “Go away to college. Go away to college.” I didn’t want to go to college. I’ll be honest. I tell a lot of people this and I guess this will be public now is I went to college really to appease my dad at the time. And my dad was super excited for me to go to college. I was only the second person in the family to go
Curt Mercadante: 00:20
So, we’re here with Rick Krenmayer. He is co-founder and CEO of Stasmayer, one of the fastest growing companies in South Carolina. Outsource IT, managed services. Rick, thanks so much for joining us today.
Rick Krenmayer: 00:30
Curt Mercadante: 00:31
So, the only set question we ever have is … I’m wearing it on my shirt. We gave you a shirt earlier, which is freedom. What does that word mean to you?
Rick Krenmayer: 00:38
It’s a deep question, isn’t it? So, I would say that it’s the ability to think about what you want to think about, do what you want to do, be who you want to be, and have the ability to accomplish what you want. So, I guess you could say it goes back to the pursuit of happiness really because anything that’s possible should be possible. So, there’s no reason, there’s no excuse these days not to be able to accomplish what you want within reason, obviously, financially or what have you. But it all starts with thoughts. I mean, I think for me, being able to think freely is probably the biggest thing because I think if I can think about something them I can do it. So, that would probably be my answer for that.
Curt Mercadante: 01:19
And we’ll talk about the values because you have no excuses up here. Just accomplish goals.
Rick Krenmayer: 01:22
Yes. We’d have that. That’s right. Every Monday we talk about it.
Curt Mercadante: 01:26
So, we met a couple months ago. We kind of met over Twitter, right?
Rick Krenmayer: 01:30
Yeah, we did.
Curt Mercadante: 01:31
Around the storm, right?
Rick Krenmayer: 01:31
During the hurricane.
Curt Mercadante: 01:32
You’re an amateur meteorologist. Your dad was a meteorologist. When we talked, it was interesting because you traced the roots of Stasmayer all the way back to … you were like 12 or 13 years old?
Rick Krenmayer: 01:44
Curt Mercadante: 01:46
How’d you get started that early?
Rick Krenmayer: 01:49
So, I’ve been around technology for a long time. So, what started for me was I always had an affinity for gadgets and simple machines. And I was a musician and my dad used to play a bunch of music in the house. I remember being really young, like four, five, or six. I’m like, “What’s that?” And I would hear a sound, maybe it was like electric light orchestra, or maybe on a Genesis album or a Peter Gabriel album. My friend’s like, “That’s a synthesizer.” I was like, “What’s that?” And he’s like, “It’s like a piano, but it has all these different things that can create different noises.” And I’m like, “Well, that’s really wild.” So, when I was younger I was super into Mozart because I saw the movie Amadeus at one point. This is when I was really young. And then I got on a piano and so my dad and my mom bought me a synthesizer.
Rick Krenmayer: 02:38
So there was one of my first gadgets. And then with the whole gaming revolution that was going on at the same time, the gadgets kept showing up in the house over time. And finally my parents were able to get enough money put together to get a computer for the household. Because at that time, everyone had started like-
Curt Mercadante: 02:55
This was in the nineties?
Rick Krenmayer: 02:56
Yeah, it was in the nineties. The first computer I ever used was an Apple actually. I remember using the Apple IIs and the Macs. So, finally, years later, about ’91 or ’92, they finally had a computer at the house. It was a Windows 3 device. Remember that?
Curt Mercadante: 03:14
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:03:15].
Rick Krenmayer: 03:14
And now we’re dating ourselves. So, I got hot on that thing. I started learning it and then I started consulting little businesses and homes right around 12 years old.
Rick Krenmayer: 03:25
So this is ’93. Yeah, I took it up really fast. I think for a while we were trying to find maybe what was my calling and all this stuff. Things I really gravitate to. Music was one of them, but nothing like the computer systems. So, when I got on the computers, that was the big thing.
Curt Mercadante: 03:41
Rick Krenmayer: 03:43
At 12. Yeah. So, I had experience doing green screen stuff, orange screen stuff, all the old school stuff. And then in high school I was a programmer. I became fluent in about seven different programming languages. Still doing music, by the way. Still writing actually. this is when I started working as a farmer. It was a hydroponics plant. We grew basil and flowers and a bunch of other cool stuff up there. So, I was a harvester, yet it was a very high tech place.
Rick Krenmayer: 04:11
Everything was timed. We’d open up the greenhouse to let air in.
Curt Mercadante: 04:16
Was this right outside of Boston?
Rick Krenmayer: 04:17
Actually this is in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. So, that’s where I grew up. New Bedford, Mass, Dartmouth, Mass and Martha’s Vineyard, actually. I landed this job because I needed to make some money because I was actually in a band and I needed to buy a bass guitar. And so my father’s like, “Well, you need to get a job.” So, the drummer in the band got me this gig and then I started working there. The owner realized that I was kind of into computers there too. So he and I became pretty close friends, even after I left there. Then I started hopping into tech jobs. I actually had a job doing material requirements planning and I was a machinist at the same time, so I’d learned how to do the job and document the job and I was helping them to get ready for live inventory.
Rick Krenmayer: 05:01
And then after that, I had my big opportunity, I went to Tyco International. And at this point I think I’m about 19 or 18 and I was working on AS/400 stuff. I was working on connections going across the country and this business unit I was at was a quarter billion dollar business.
Curt Mercadante: 05:18
Were you at UMass at this time?
Rick Krenmayer: 05:20
This is right before I started college. So, I get to start college around this time, but all the stuff I learned was all on the job. I’m not discounting college, but if I had not had that experience with Tyco and AFC cable systems back home, it wouldn’t have been the same deal.
Rick Krenmayer: 05:39
And I then I met my business partner, Dave Stasaitis, a couple years later actually. So, in 2001-ish. Around there.
Curt Mercadante: 05:48
And I think he was at UMass as well?
Rick Krenmayer: 05:51
Yeah. Yeah. So, most people say “Go away to college. Go away to college.” I didn’t want to go to college. I’ll be honest, I tell a lot of people this, and I guess this will be public now, is I went to college really to appease my dad at the time. And my dad was super excited for me to go to college. I was only the second person in the family to go at that point in time, my dad being the first one to be degreed as a meteorologist scientist. So, I had super big respect for my dad because I saw that he was a super smart guy. Mathematics, all this stuff. And so I was like, “You know what? I’ll check it out.” Now, looking back on it, I realized my dad had this interesting talent stack.
Rick Krenmayer: 06:26
He was a scientist and a meteorologist but he was a sales guy. Now, it all makes sense to me. But I was like, “Man, you went to school for this, but why are you doing this?” And so now I understand how life works. But it was interesting. Very interesting background. So, I’m like, “Okay.” So, I did it. I went to school. I stayed in town because it was a good school. UMass Dartmouth was a good engineering school. And I said, “Well, I can do the programming thing.” And I realized real quick that programming wasn’t going to be my calling. I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day just coding stuff. So, then when I got interested in the IT stuff more. There was a major, actually. They had just started a major at my college regarding information systems and then I was doing the IT thing at Tyco and it just kind of came together.
Rick Krenmayer: 07:10
And then I met business partner and then at the end he’s like, “Man, we need to start a business.” He said, “We should start a business.” I was like, “I don’t know man. I got this really cool gig with Tyco” which is now defunct, by the way.
Curt Mercadante: 07:21
Yeah, right. They ran into some-
Rick Krenmayer: 07:23
I was there when that happened. I remember when the stock price went down low and I was at a meeting. They said, “Well, how low can it go?” I said, “Zero.” And of course I’m really young and naive and I say zero. And everyone’s like, “You need to be quiet.” I was like, “Well, that’s the truth.” Our CFO and CEO was stealing some stuff apparently.
Rick Krenmayer: 07:38
So, that’s how I did that. And then we started the business. Ran it in college. Ran it out of the dorm room, which apparently was a no-no. They actually shut me down.
Curt Mercadante: 07:48
Rick Krenmayer: 07:48
I had a computer in there and an AC unit and I was busy working for clients. I forgot that I had to move out of the dorm. So, all my stuff got locked in the dorm at one point. At that point Dave had already started moving stuff down South because he had a gig here because the economy was kind of rough at the time. It was like 2002 or three. It was a little bit of a weak economy.
Curt Mercadante: 08:09
Rick Krenmayer: 08:10
Yeah, it was kind of hangover from all that stuff. And I remember it like it was yesterday.
Curt Mercadante: 08:16
So, 2003 you started this. It’s 2019. You started in college. What are you, in you’re late thirties?
Rick Krenmayer: 08:23
38. I tell everyone I’m 21. 21.
Curt Mercadante: 08:25
21? 21, yeah. So, 38 and you have an old company now, right? I mean, it’s been around for a while. It’s not a startup anymore. Walking through the hallways and out in the lobby, you got top rankings, managed service companies-
Rick Krenmayer: 08:44
Curt Mercadante: 08:45
You’re Inc. 5000 consistently?
Rick Krenmayer: 08:47
Yeah, we were on Inc. 5000 consistently.