Western Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year Featured

5:50am EDT April 29, 2003
Anthony Bambocci unlocked the door to success by developing computer software for law enforcement agencies.

Bambocci, a graduate of St. Francis University, started Digital Solutions Inc. in Altoona in 1984, just two years after graduating from college.

From a start with just $500,000 in annual sales and five employees, he has grown his software company into a 70-employee concern, with 2002 sales exceeding $7 million, by focusing on a narrow but lucrative market segment.

"We have simplified our business model into one narrow statement: We automate criminal justice agencies, period," Bambocci says.

Bambocci attributes Digital Solutions' success to an employee culture that rewards high performance, quality products, outstanding customer service and, to some degree, luck.

"The Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association made a decision to standardize county jails and prisons with one software vendor in 1988," says Bambocci. "They invited a number of jail software vendors to demonstrate their products, and our company became the selected vendor. We built our market focus from there."

Digital Solutions developed an information software product, OM, in 1987, and continued to exploit the market for software for the corrections segment. In 1992, Bambocci created a subsidiary company, Corrections Development International, to create software packages for probation and parole agencies, district attorneys, juvenile detention centers and criminal courts.

In 1994, he launched another subsidiary, Inmate Telephone Inc., to provide collect call service to incarcerated offenders, and in 2002, started Offender Management Services to provide automated telephone reporting services to low-risk offenders sentenced to probation.

Says Bambocci: "By surrounding ourselves with the right people, we have enabled our company to develop itself into an organization with the capacity for growth. We tend to hire bright people with the appropriate character aspects, without a specific job in mind. We look to hire individuals that are motivated by building something and being part of something that is greater than their own parochial interests."