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A new Pulse Founded in the 1950s to sell calculators, former Des Plaines Office Equipment branches out, changes name Changes: Building trust is key, says Miceli.

Byline: Richard Klicki rklicki@dailyherald.com

Chip Miceli gets a gleam in his eye when he discusses "the office of the future."

"When you walk into an office, it's going to be used by five other people other than yourself," he said. "You sit down at your computer and it knows who you are, your password is already there and you just take off and start doing your job. It says, 'Hello, Rich, your computer's ready to go.'

"When you walk out, I'll walk in and it says 'Hello, Chip, your computer's ready to go.'"

The office has changed dramatically since Miceli's father started selling calculators in his small shop in Des Plaines in the 1950s. But Chip and his brother, Victor, have been keeping their dad's business ahead of the curve over the decades, making Des Plaines Office Equipment one of the largest independent suppliers of equipment and service in the Chicago region.

The company, best known for sales and support of copiers and printers, has expanded over the years to include print services, video displays, IT network and cloud-based services, document software and office furniture and supplies. And, as of the beginning of the year, the company changed its name to Pulse Technology to reflect its broader portfolio.

"We're a service organization," Miceli said, "Whether we're servicing your copy machine or servicing your computer -- whatever we're doing for you -- I want you to be successful because, if you are successful, then I'm going to be successful."

The company's 4,000 customers range across the spectrum of size and industries, from large companies such as First American Bank and Alpha Baking, to small startups, and from legal and health care to education and government.

Vince Miceli, Chip and Victor's father, started the business in his garage in 1955 selling calculators. He eventually opened a small shop in downtown Des Plaines and expanded his product line to typewriters and word processors. He added copiers to his lineup in 1969, Chip Miceli said.

Chip joined the company in 1972, and he and Victor took over as owners when their father retired in 1986. During that time, the company grew its product line and expanded into a larger location in Des Plaines, then later to a facility in Elk Grove Village. A storm in 2017 damaged the Elk Grove building, leading to relocation to the current headquarters in Carol Stream.

Miceli said during that time he foresaw the technology revolution and moved the company in that direction as his vendors integrated

tech into their products.

"I'm a visionary and I love technology," he said. "I'm always looking at ways that we can help our customers use some of the tech that's out there."

But the key to Pulse Technology's success, he said, is the trust his employees build with their clients. Helping customers succeed in their business also means success for his team, he said.

"We're always looking at how do we help our customers do their infrastructure better," Miceli said. "You have to work with your customers. A lot of companies don't do that."

And that help can go beyond copiers or IT systems. Miceli said he has tapped into his own professional network to help a client who might need help, such as obtaining a business loan or modifying payments when the client is struggling financially.

"I've been doing this a long time, and I got a lot of relationships out there," he said. "And if I vow for someone, they usually get what they need from whomever I vow for."

Acquisitions of smaller companies have been a part of Pulse's growth during the past 15 years, Miceli said. Most recently, the company acquired Indiana-based company Kramer & Leonard, a family-owned office furniture company, in 2017 and McShane's, a business IT services provider, a year earlier. The acquisitions were the company's first move outside of Illinois.

Pulse has established a greater footprint, with locations in downtown Chicago, as well as Rockford and Chesterton, Ind., and Miceli said the company will continue to grow aggressively over the next year.

The company will move its headquarters from Carol Stream to a larger facility in Schaumburg this summer, designed to accommodate a larger customer call center and sales offices, as well as the additional employees Miceli plans to hire. He said the company will have 150 employees by the time it moves to Schaumburg, with plans to double that in the next five years.

That growth goes into the heart of the company's new name, Miceli points out.

"We all have one," he said. "Without a pulse, we'll die and there's no future for us."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 6, 2019
Words:771
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