Lacey woman's entrepreneurial dream nets small business award [The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.)]
(Olympian (Olympia, WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 15--After years spent working for other people, Trena Payton decided it was time to explore the "entrepreneurial experience" of running her own business, first launching her startup in the second bedroom of her home.
Ten years later and Payton, 52, is at the helm of ABN Technologies in Lacey, a company that provides computer-related services and staffing services, and employs about 12 people.
You can also add "award-winning" to the list of ABN's accomplishments after the business was recognized by the small business division of American Express as the "2013 On the Rise Government Contractor of the Year."
"Through hard work, client references and past performance records, the company has seen great success in government contracting, which makes up 100 percent of the company's revenue," American Express Open announced in a news release at the end of August.
Although ABN Technologies has recently expanded into administrative staffing services, the biggest portion of the business is devoted to computer procurement: making hardware and software equipment purchases for her clients.
Payton's interest in computers was sparked in the military.
She spent three years in the Army after joining at 19, then would advance to a long career with the Department of Defense working in several areas, including as an information systems specialist. Her next stops were in the IT departments of Nordstrom and Washington Mutual, long before the thrift failed.
The information technology industry interested her because it offered career growth and few barriers to women, she said. "It was open to all kinds of talent," Payton said.
In 2003, after working for Washington Mutual, she sensed there was an opportunity for an IT business to serve federal, state and local clients in Washington state.
Payton picked the Northwest after she was exposed to it during her travels with the Army, where she made stops in Louisiana, Germany, South Korea and here during temporary duty assignments.
She remembers being impressed with Mount Rainier and the beautiful scenery every time she would fly into the state.
It's also quite a bit different from where she grew up.
Payton is from South Central Los Angeles, an area of the city that exploded into the national consciousness for news of drug and gang activity in the 1980s. But Payton, who grew up during the late 1970s, said the area's reputation was long established before then. And it was more than just a temporary cultural shift for that part of the city, it was already a "way of life," she said.
Employment helped Payton stay focused on other things.
At 16 she took part in a summer program with the Federal Aviation Administration for disadvantaged youth, learning basic office skills, such as copying, typing letters other general office skills.
"I don't remember not having a job," Payton said.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403
(c)2013 The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.)
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