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SCN Hall of Fame 2020: Christina DeBono

To say ClearTech founder Christina De Bono is driven is an understatement. Down the street from the company’s Pasadena offices is the Rose Bowl Stadium, where you’ll often find De Bono training for a triathlon she will swim, bike, and run in 2020. This upcoming competition only punctuates the many 100-mile rides, time trials, and races De Bono has completed.

Christina DeBono

The company was launched in the back of De Bono’s house during the 2009 recession. Ten years after its inception, technology integration and managed services company ClearTech has grown to a team of more than 25, with 16 full-time employees.

“I always had the philosophy that we want to do everything we can to build a lifelong client,” she said. “We want to understand who they are, what their needs are, what their issues are, and how we can make them more successful at what they do 365 days a year.”

De Bono learned from entertainment clients the necessity of zero tolerance for downtime—an objective that is applicable to all markets ClearTech serves. For example, in higher education, “Critical to student success is having their classrooms up and running 100 percent of the time,” she said. “We found a real niche where clients always needed someone to help them replace projectors, fix broken cables, or do upgrades.”

Relay Race Teams

Searching for guidance on running the business, De Bono joined NSCA, the National Systems Contractors Association, in 2015. She said, “As it turns out, NSCA has the cookbook of all the aspects you need to run your own business.”

De Bono attended an NSCA conference about how to pivot companies toward becoming service businesses. “I took it really seriously,” she said. “I went back and met with the whole team, and we agreed to launch a formal service program and service business that would be separate from our integration business.”

By the end of 2016, ClearTech had built out its managed services program. The company was honored by NSCA in 2017 with an Excellence in Business Award for its strategic transformation. “Then I was elected to the NSCA board,” continued De Bono. “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve on this board, which is made up of incredibly successful and dynamic members. NSCA has done so much for our industry.”

ClearTech is committed to helping the community as well. “I am particularly concerned about our world being sustainable in the future,” she said. She volunteers with the Commission on Voluntary Service & Action (CVSA), which is dedicated to serving people in need of systemic solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems.

Future

“Our industry is going through a lot of transition right now,” said De Bono. “I don’t think that the future, even in the next three to five years, is going to look like it is today.”

She added, “As an industry, we are going to have to change our business model or we’re not going to be viable in the future.” She cites the commoditization of hardware and an increased need for different services as reasons ClearTech is moving toward a services model.

A common rallying cry, De Bono said, is that “we don’t have enough young people getting into our industry. Plus, we need people from different backgrounds and different ethnicities because we’re not representing all the voices reflective of our market.” 

De Bono and ClearTech are doing their part to help bridge the divide.

READ MORE: SCN Hall of Fame 2020