Web Developer Is No One-Trick Pony

Image from a PBN article with co-founders Ernie Gaines (center) and Jim McAssey (right).
Image from a PBN article with co-founders Ernie Gaines (center) and Jim McAssey (right).

Web Developer Is No One-Trick Pony

Brave River Solutions is among the fastest-growing technology companies in Rhode Island, delivering functional business technology and IT support to primarily small and medium-sized businesses.

After working together at a national software firm, BRS owners Ernie Gaines and James McAssey founded the firm with a third partner in 2000 with the idea of providing mostly Web site integration programming and services. But the partners were already working to expand and diversify their business when the dot-com bubble burst less than a year later.
That foresight enabled the young company to continue growing in a shifting industry and a much harsher economic landscape.

“With the dot-com bust and some of the things that happened shortly after the company started, we decided to expand a little bit in other areas in which we had expertise and people were calling for,” McAssey said. The decline of the IT market after 9-11, he said, “hastened the pace” of the expansion.

Recently, Brave River Solutions has been reaping the rewards of a sound strategy, technical expertise and reputation for superior customer service, Gaines and McAssey said. The company has experienced about 30-percent growth in the past two years and recently moved into new offices double the size of its previous space. It has grown to employ 15 people, and Gaines and McAssey said they expect to have 50 employees in five years.

Today, Brave River Solutions specializes in consulting and providing a range of e-business services to manufacturers and distributors. In particular, the company is an expert at recommending and implementing software packages that improve the power of a manufacturer’s supply chain.

As a supply chain management expert, Brave River Solutions enables its clients to do better business by upgrading the computer software that powers their entire operation – including Web sites, virtual warehouses and other technology interfaces used by customers, vendors, partners and employees, and back-office software products that manage internal operations, such as Oracle or PeopleSoft.

“We help companies go through the myriad products that are out there, and match up the products and their functionality with the needs of the company,” said Tom Durkin, senior sales representative for Brave River Solutions. “It meshes well with our business technology solutions focus. We take what their business processes are and look at the software that they’re trying to purchase and make sure they marry well.”

But the firm touches more of its clients needs as well. About half of Brave River Solutions’ business is dedicated to Web site development, again with a focus on designing e-commerce Internet portals that mesh with a client’s back-office computer systems and enhance supply chains.

“There are a lot of companies that can do a nice-looking, informational Web site,” Gaines said. “Where we really shine is in doing e-commerce sites that have a lot business logic tying them to the back-end systems and making them a part of the overall supply chain for that company.”

One such project Brave River Solutions recently completed was the development of an e-commerce Web site for AliMed, a leading manufacturer and supplier of medical products.
The company also does a brisk business providing comprehensive computer network support to small and midsize companies that can’t afford a full-time chief information officer or technical support team, Gaines and McAssey said.

One prominent client of Brave River Solutions’ “CIO-to-go” service is the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, which last July awarded the firm a three-year contract to manage all of its computer network needs.

While Brave River Solutions obviously has the requisite technological expertise to serve the varied needs of its clients, Gaines and McAssey stressed they have built their business by establishing a reputation for delivering what customers need on time and within budget.

“One of the things that I think makes us different is the long-term relationships that we build with our clients,” McAssey said. “Many of our clients have been with us since we started the company, and we may have started by building them a great Web site, but then they realized that we could help them with other aspects of their IT needs. So a lot of our business comes from repeat business with existing clients because we do a good job for them.”

Company profile: Brave River Solutions

Type of business: Business technology services
Owners: Ernie Gaines and James McAssey
Location: 875 Centerville Road, Warwick
Employees: 15
Year founded: 2000
Annual revenue: WND

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