In order to know where you’re going, it’s important to look back at where you’ve been. While celebrating our 22nd birthday, we took time to reflect on our favorite moments and major achievements from 2019. We’ve grown significantly in every meaning of the word, now serving 558 clients in 8 states, more than ever before. It is an honor to know that so many schools, districts, and businesses trust us with their technology, a responsibility we take very seriously. We’ve seen technology trends and fads come and go, but our team is still here, offering smart, long term solutions that help our partners achieve long term results.

So what are some of the things we’re most proud of this year?

Donated Time

It’s no secret that Macro Connect has a deep commitment to service in the community. From packing food at Gleaners Food Bank to building beds for kids with Building Beds 4 Kids, staff members regularly take time out of their day to give back. To uphold our core value of being Community Minded, everyone at Macro Connect is required to select an organization and donate an average of 4 hours each month. Collectively, that’s added up to over 1,000 hours of service this year alone, which is more hours than a full-time employee works in six months! Here are some of the great organizations and projects we gave back to this year:

  • Gleaners Food Bank: In February, several of our team members gathered at Gleaner’s Food Bank to help pack food for food-insecure families across Southeast Detroit. Gleaners distributes over 42 million pounds of food every year. That’s 96,000 meals every day! We were proud to serve alongside some of our co-working friends at Hunt Street Station and others from across the community.
  • Playworks Michigan: Our Client Solutions Director, Miguel Davis, is a board member of Playworks Michigan which helps kids stay active and build valuable social and emotional skills through play. In March, and again in September, Miguel helped put the fun in fundraiser and invited a few Macro Connectors and partners to join him.
  • Building Beds 4 Kids: Just before Thanksgiving, about half of the Macro Connect team met at a workshop in Oak Park to build over 50 beds for kids in need. Helping others is always a great reminder to be thankful for what we have.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters: Client Solutions Specialist, Adam Letica, is committed to the power of mentorship. As a regular Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer, he loves spending time with kids and helping them achieve their potential.

We believe that a person who makes time to serve the community will also be a person who goes the extra mile for their clients. Our commitment to Detroit has never been stronger, whether you’re in need of a hot meal or a software update.

Rockin’ It All Year

We build our success on a foundation of stone, or “Rocks,” as it were. During our quarterly planning meetings, our team members take on Rocks, or quarterly goals, to accomplish. A rock might be something like pilot-testing a new customer service application or planning a conference for a local user group. Whatever the goal, the team member commits to accomplishing this goal within three months. This method increases internal accountability and helps us push the ball forward for our clients and partners. As of now, we have completed 96 Rocks company-wide; that’s 90% Rock completion!

Showing Up In Person

Although we live in the digital age, nothing compares to face-time with our clients and the industry in which we work. We’re always looking for creative ways to interact including joining some of the Midwest’s premier conferences, or opening the doors to our own office for professional development events. Here are just a few events we attended or hosted in 2019:

  • Midwest PowerSchool User Group (PSUG): Back in March, we drove over to Michigan City, Indiana for the 2019 Midwest PSUG Event. School Data expert Christian Anderson led 17 hours’ worth of instruction over 3 days to a packed room. Client Solutions Director, Miguel Davis and Client Solutions Specialist, Adam Letica also took advantage of the opportunity to hit the conference floor and share what it means to be a PowerSchool Certified Services Partner.
  • MACUL: A few weeks later, Miguel joined one of our longtime school partners, Pam Shoemaker from Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, to co-present a case study on the process we use to help schools improve technology utilization across their districts. The event ended with a great networking event back at Macro Connect Headquarters for about 50 educators and leaders from across the state.
  • Michigan Pupil Accounting & Attendance Association (MPAAA): With two members of our team on the board of the MPAAA, we’re deeply involved in the development of attendance, data collection, and accountability best-practices in the State of Michigan. Christian Anderson and Jan Janema attend quarterly association meetings and bring everything they learn back to Macro Connect so that we can offer outstanding leadership to our clients.
  • Next Level Group (NLG): This year, we were invited to join NLG, a national cohort of high performing IT managed services providers who meet quarterly to swap industry best practices. Miguel and CEO, Matt Morin, joined NLG in Florida just a few weeks ago for the group’s Q4 meeting.
  • Other Conferences & Events: We could go on and on, but to keep this brief, we also attended the Michigan Association for Educational Data Systems (MAEDS) fall event, and the Michigan PSUG Event on Mackinac Island. We’re looking forward to seeing you at our next event, either on the road, or right here in Detroit.

Strengthening Our Partnerships

In November, we were proud to host Michigan’s first-ever Detroit PowerSchool Summit at Macro Connect HQ. After a welcome breakfast, attendees enjoyed a keynote address by several special guests including PowerSchool CEO Hardeep Gulati, Solution Strategy Director Jason Springel, and Senior Account Manager Joshua Deegan. Then we spent the next two days leading in-depth PowerSchool instruction for over 40 teachers and administrators representing 30 districts as far away as Maine and Idaho! As a PowerSchool Certified Service Partner, we’re very excited to be Michigan’s top resource for PowerSchool training and implementation and look forward to hosting more events in the future. With the rave reviews we received, we hope the next one will be sooner rather than later!

Looking Into the Future

As technology strategists and thought leaders, we are not only enhancing the systems we already have in place, but constantly planning for the technology threats of tomorrow to keep our clients safe. That’s why one of Macro Connect’s top priorities in 2019 was strengthening our Cyber Security offering. Over the summer, we wrote a blog post about both the increasing importance of Cyber Security and our new Staff Training Program. This new curriculum is built around three key pillars: Education, Prevention, and Detection and includes more comprehensive phishing tests. We also added over 100 new questions to the existing bank of IT standards in our Technical Alignment Audit library. Together, this outstanding new Cyber Security service will help you stay ahead of hackers, especially those using Ransomware techniques.

A New Model of Service

You may be familiar with the concept of Just In Time manufacturing from the auto industry. If not, it’s where the production process is streamlined, and inventory is kept at a minimum, so that cars are not assembled until they are needed. This improves both quality and efficiency because it reduces the amount of stuff you have sitting around, limits over-purchasing supplies, and allows greater customization by the consumer. We thought it was a pretty great idea so the team at Macro Connect adopted a new, Just In Time, approach to IT support. Every afternoon, our support staff reviews the list of needs for the next day and allocates resources depending on that need. This helps us serve more clients with fewer people and greater speed, all thanks to the incredible dedication and flexibility of our innovative support team.

Macro Connect is Hiring

Macro Connect started 2019 with 19 employees. Over the course of the year, we added 5 more, bringing the team’s total up to 24 knowledgeable, experienced technology professionals, but we are still hiring! With new services like Cybersecurity Staff Training, closer partnerships with organizations like PowerSchool, and innovative Just In Time service delivery methods, we’re making sure we have the resources required to exceed your expectations.
Right now, we’re looking to fill two specific positions but are always open to other possibilities:

  • IT Support Specialist: A Macro Connect IT Support Specialist is responsible for on-site and remote technical support for our diverse group of clients. Tasks might include Cloud Services Implementation like Google Suite and Office 365, repairing laptops and workstations, and Active Directory Management. If that’s something in your wheelhouse, reach out. We’d love to meet you.
  • Client Solutions Specialist: A Client Solutions Specialist is responsible for helping teachers, administrators, and business owners find the right answers to their needs. Whether that’s sharing new technology options, assessing requirements, or directing them to the right technical resource, they know how to solve problems with creativity and confidence.
  • Other Great People: We’re always looking for good people. If you’ve got skills that you think Macro Connect could use, tell us! Our mission is to provide value to our clients and if that might include your talents, we’d love to know.

To keep up with everything we’re doing for our clients, for Detroit, or just for fun, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. We’re always sharing new updates on events, projects, and partners. Best of luck to you in these final few days of December. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better 2020.