Bridge over troubled waters

Neil Adelman likes to tell the story about the employee who messed up a big deal and got a call the next morning from his boss’ secretary. He rode up the elevator to the big guy’s office and said, “Sir, I know you’re calling me up here to fire me because I blew a $20 million deal,” and his boss says, “Why would I fire you? I just invested $20 million in your education.”

“People make mistakes,” says Adelman, CEO of Cleveland-based BlueBridge Networks. “And that’s fine as long as we learn from it and it becomes something that strengthens us and makes us a better company.”

BlueBridge, founded in 2004, secures its clients’ data and IT assets so they remain available before, during and after a disaster.

Adelman emphasizes the important role of collaboration with innovation. His company supports innovation in the region by connecting with all industries, companies and institutions of higher learning, which allows for growth due to common synergies and advancements.

He also welcomes employee input and implements their ideas on a regular basis. Rather than hand down rules, Adelman prefers to play referee.

“If somebody has something to say, they’re free to walk in my office, and I want them to tell me exactly what they think,” he says. “I don’t consider that to be insubordination. When people aren’t telling me what they’re thinking and something’s going wrong, then we’ve got a real problem.”

BlueBridge is Adelman’s fifth start-up, and he’s learned that micromanagement is counterproductive to creativity. He prefers to hire good people and stay out of their way.

“You have to let people run with ideas,” Adelman says. “If they can achieve their objective their way, then so be it. I hire them because they have a certain skill set. Why would I try to tell them how to do their job?”

HOW TO REACH: BlueBridge Networks, (866) 990-2583 or