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Acting on His IT Plans

When Tim Shoop completed his Navy service about 20 years ago, he bought a Coleman stove and lanterns and set out for Hollywood to pitch a tent and make movie acting his new career. But an interim job he took with Los Angeles' fastest-growing IT business sent him in a different direction. "I caught the entrepreneurial bug from the owners,” he says.

Shoop moved to Pensacola to be near his retired parents, and in 1998 he started computer repair company New Vision Computers, which he recently sold. In 2008, he founded Digital Boardwalk, which last year received the Small Business of the Year award from the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

Explaining how his service differs from the traditional IT model, Shoop says, "Traditionally, an IT guy fixes things when you call him; we call that 'break/fix.' But for businesses that rely on computers to make money, that creates down time — what I call the $1,000 coffee break."

Digital Boardwalk uses the built-in alert systems in most of today's high-speed computers, which signal problems and potential problems such as a virus or hard drive going bad. The company installs software on clients' computers that transmits the alerts to its offices as a work order. The average response time is 3.4 minutes, with a resolution time of 24 minutes; 98% of the problems it works on are resolved remotely.

Shoop expects to almost double the size of his workforce, all IT support personnel, to 10 by year-end. Says Shoop: "We want to become a key player in the Pensacola economy."