Photo: Alex McKnightBob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data
A CEO's lessons
The biggest Florida company and ‘nobody knows we exist.'
Every day, Bob Dutkowsky gets up knowing that Tech Data, from the time it opens to when it closes, has to sell at least $100 million worth of goods just to break even. A favorite saying of his reflects his sense of urgency. “Hunt it, catch and kill it,” the otherwise mild-mannered Dutkowsky likes to say.
Dutkowsky’s company is a technology middleman that sells everything from $6 printer cartridges to $5-million Cisco routers all over the world. Based in Clearwater, the firm buys products at wholesale from major tech brands like Apple and Dell, then sells the gadgets and applications to tens of thousands of retailers and other middlemen, who in turn sell them to consumers and businesses in more than 100 countries.
“Our average order is $2,000, so we have to do a lot of hunting and fishing to keep the lights on,” says Dutkowsky. “If we run Tech Data really, really well, we make a penny and a half on the dollar.”
Those pennies mount up. The company has grown from $50 million in annual sales in 1986 to $26 billion last year — making it the fourth-largest firm in Florida and placing it 108th on the Fortune 500 list.
ALSO IN THIS ARTICLE: Steve Raymund; Avnet Technology Solutions
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