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Rochester Top 100: Company plans to expand geographically

Rochester Business Journal
April 15, 2016

Two finance pros left comfortable jobs at a Fortune 500 company to try their luck as business partners.

Four years later their company, Pro-Nexus LLC, has achieved strong growth and is on track to achieve the owners’ goal of becoming a $100 million firm. This year the plan is to achieve 10 to 20 percent growth in revenue.

“We grew so rapidly, from a startup—two guys in an office—to 70 employees in four years,” said Robert Pickering, co-founder and senior executive vice president. “So this year we’ve taken a pause in terms of expanding into other markets to standardize what we’re doing across all of our locations.”

The consulting firm specializes in finance, accounting and information technology. It has its headquarters on Sully’s Trail in Perinton and has been in operation since 2012.

“All we do is consulting, projects, outsourcing and interim management—that’s our sole focus,” Pickering said. “There are a lot of these larger consulting houses and CPA firms around that dabble in what we do.

“When you dabble with something you can only be so effective, whereas it’s our sole focus.”

ProNexus has three other offices across New York—Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany—and two in Michigan, in Grand Rapids and Auburn Hills.

Adding two Michigan locations in 2014 was a learning opportunity, officials said.

“We’ve learned expansion in other markets is a little bit more difficult than what we initially anticipated,” said Rafael Vidal, co-founder and president.

The goal is to launch two new practices annually, focusing next on expanding its geographic footprint into New York City.

The firm employs more than 70 people, including 45 people locally. ProNexus’ employees have high levels of experience in the industry, Pickering said.

“We have a nice differentiator and a nice value proposition as compared to some of these competitors,” Pickering said. “Do you want to pay a CPA firm for a kid two years out of college at $100 bucks an hour or do you want a 20-year pro for less money?”

The culture of a Fortune 500 firm is part of what drove Vidal and Pickering to start their own firm. They realized they could create the culture they sought—one that included a strong focus on giving back to the community. The founders declined to disclose what firm they worked for previously.

“When you come out of those Fortune 500 public companies like we were in, it’s all about shareholder return and value for them at the expense of building good relationships with your clients and your consultants,” Pickering said.

“We tried to make a difference and change the way they did things, (but) two guys in Rochester, N.Y., aren’t going to steer a $4 billion ship in another direction,” he added.

Today the company’s focus is on profitable growth. That is also the challenge, Vidal said.

“Many of our clients face that issue as well, but from our standpoint it’s particularly managing how we grow from where we are today to the next growth milestone,” he said.

ProNexus’ Rochester headquarters will see job growth as the firm expands into other markets, officials said.

“We’ve made that commitment to Rochester,” Pickering said. “Every time we make an expansion, every time we open up a new operation it creates more jobs here.”

Added Vidal: “We want to continue to build awareness. If every company in Rochester just did 5 percent more with local businesses, think about how many more jobs we’d be able to create.”

The duo said they owe their success to those they have brought on.

“One of the big surprises for me was if you hire the right people and they believe in your philosophy you can really create a culture that’s truly authentic,” Pickering said.

The four-year-old company is just getting started, officials said.

“We set our goals high; we want to strive for success. We set this random goal of we want to be a $100 million company, and if we continue on the trajectory we’re doing and continue to expand on a controlled basis, we’ll get there.”

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2016 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 2. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.

ProNexus LLC
A consulting firm specializing in areas of finance, accounting and information technology.
Year founded: 2012
Top executive: Rafael Vidal, president
2015 ranking: 30
Current employment: 73
Headquarters: Perinton
Website: pronexusllc.com

4/15/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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