September 1, 2014

Trendsetters in Information Technology

Mike Vogel | 1/1/2010


Tony DiBenedetto
Tribridge / CEO
Tampa

Accolade: Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur of the Year 2009

Community: Co-founded the Tampa Bay Technology Forum
and is executive director of the TBTF Foundation, which funded 25 computer labs for the Boys and Girls Club, exposes
youngsters to careers in math and science, promises the disadvantaged who want to pursue science and math financial support for college and mentors them through high school.

The competition: “You always have to be competing with yourself.”

[Photo: Mark Wemple]

So this is how companies are named. Tony DiBenedetto and his co-founders got a case of beer in 1998, watched Fletch and went boating on Tampa Bay. They came up with about 100 bad names for their new IT company before Tribridge emerged as a play on the bay bridges, the three of them, a bridge for clients and so on. Tribridge they thought was laughable but, on reflection the next day, it resonated.

From that provenance, Tribridge grew, reaching $65 million in revenue in 2009. The 300-employee company provides 1,800 customers nationally with IT services and business consulting. A hot area: Managed services, in which customers pay a fixed fee for Tribridge to take care of desktop, server and IT support.

DiBenedetto was raised by his grandparents in Fort Lauderdale. After his grandmother died when he was in middle school, he lived in 13 different houses, on a friend’s couch and the like, while attending Fort Lauderdale High. “I’ve seen some pretty crappy things, I guess. I always viewed it as a learning experience,” he says.

At Florida State University, a friend, a confident entrepreneur type, convinced DiBenedetto to join him in starting a Brazilian art import business. They didn’t do well, but DiBenedetto caught the entrepreneur bug. And he couldn’t shake it during the 11 years he spent at Arthur Andersen after graduating from FSU with a degree in business management information systems. He started a truck leasing business on the side and a restaurant and bagel shop before launching Tribridge. His idea of leadership is drawn from James C. Hunter, author of “The Servant” — that the CEO is at the bottom of an inverted pyramid with the role of removing obstacles in the way of employees helping clients.

“To me, you have to create the attitude of winning,” says DiBenedetto, 44.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Albert Santalo

Albert Santalo
CareCloud
CEO, president
Miami

Family: Father of four; married to school teacher Rebecca Nuñez Santalo

CareCloud, the newest startup from Albert Santalo, 42, won ITFlorida’s Small Business of the Year award in November — impressive considering his company’s first full product release comes just this month. (It’s been tested with a few seed clients.)

CareCloud provides internet-based software services to doctor practices, providing practice management systems, social networking, billing, collections and other revenue cycle management services. Electronic medical records technology debuts later this year.

Born in Baltimore to Cuban parents who moved to Miami when he was 11, Santalo says the demand is there for his 16-employee company. “No one’s happy about how much they collect, and so we help them collect more.”

Tags: Trendsetters, Business Services

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