Esteban Mejia Jr. has the restless energy of an Air Force veteran who once worked long shifts as a nuclear cruise technician.
Returning home, the Mercedes native built an information technology business from scratch. He’s now working to extend his brand.
“My dad would tell me, growing up, ‘Never back down from work,’’ he said. “So I’m always thinking, ‘what else, what else can I do?'”
Mejia is the founder and chief executive officer of Sky I.T. Solutions of Weslaco. He recently channeled his energy and ambitions into the Emerging Leaders Initiative of the Small Business Administration. His nomination to participate in the SBA program came from Marie McDermott, the executive director of the Weslaco EDC.
The SBA initiative provides intensive entrepreneurship education and training to small business owners and executives who want to elevate their business to higher levels. The course includes nearly 100 hours of classroom lectures and experience. It also includes opportunities to work with experienced coaches and mentors.
Rethinking his business
For Mejia, the Emerging Leaders Initiative is just what his company needed. He began his company in 2003 with a single employee – himself – and went door-to-door to drum up business. He is now seeking to build from a customer base of more than 100 commercial accounts with contract work for federal agencies and local governmental entities.
Mejia is excited about his company’s latest offering – wireless internet services.
“You get trapped into the day-to-day grind,” said Mejia. “Then a program like this one comes along and it motivates you, makes you think and challenges you to improve.”
Mejia describes the SBA program as being “a condensed MBA program” which compelled him to detail three-year goals in three core areas he wants to grow Sky I.T. Currently the company’s services include computer system design, network equipment programming and surveillance security systems. A focal point of where he wants to grow is being a wireless internet service provider.
Looking to “what’s next”
On a drive to an area south of Weslaco and going into Progreso, he points to two 100-foot towers. They represent his first steps into wireless with a focus on rural areas in the central portions of the Valley.
“I’ve spent the last 16 years building my business, reputation and resources, but you’ve got to keep working, thinking, ‘what’s next?'” he said. “I don’t want to go into my 60s being just an IT guy, laying down cable.”
There are no indications the 42-year-old Mejia will be anything of the sort in reading through his strategic growth goals in the business plan he shared with the SBA. He wants to grow his employee staff from nine to more than 20. Mejia forecasts steady growth in commercial and government accounts. He wants to eventually put up seven towers and have more than 1,000 wireless customers with a dedicated staff for those services.
“I have a great thing going,” Mejia said of Sky I.T., “but the (SBA) program shook me up in reaffirming that you have to continue to push.”