Dawn Ainger, president and CEO, Genova Technologies

Dawn Ainger, Genova Technologies

FINALIST

Dawn Ainger

president and CEO

Genova Technologies

Dawn Ainger showed up for her job as a software engineer at Genova Technologies one day in 2001 to find the doors locked and the company shut down, with plans to file for bankruptcy. She never dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but seeing few other options, she decided to buy Genova and take it in a new direction.

There were only nine employees left.

In a stunning turnaround, Ainger diversified the company, focusing on IT market segments — and Genova has grown to have 74 full-time employees and 70-75 contractors.

Sales have increased 145 percent during a time of unfavorable economic conditions and strict government budgets.

She surrounded herself with employees who instilled the right “attitude, aptitude and integrity,” which is the tagline Ainger, president and CEO, carries with her on a daily basis.

“It was challenging at times, but I was able to let go because I surrounded myself with intelligent, trustworthy people who had those values,” she says.

Ainger is now able to focus on the long-term path of the company rather than micromanaging her colleagues and the day-to-day operations. She believes you must hire, right from the start, people who display these values.

“A work environment is much easier to operate when you can trust your people and you enjoy being around them,” she says.

Ainger treats her employees as if they were family. She cares about what is important to them and stresses worklife balance, and she sets that tone from the top.

The tone provides for a prosperous environment and an exceptionally low turnover ratio, less than 3 percent in the past 10 years — and of the nine professionals with the company in 2001, seven are still with Genova.

HOW TO REACH: Genova Technologies, www.genovatechnologies.com

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