Bellevue IT services and sales company, Network Architects LLC was recently recognized as one of Ingram Micro’s top 500 Fast-Growing SMB Channel Partners in the U.S. for 2015. Ingram’s Micro MB 500 list celebrates the success of Ingram Micro partners serving the small and midsize business market. Network Architects earned a ranking of 394 and has expanded its business by 23 percent in the past three years. Network Architects founder and managing member Brian McKinley is honored by the award but remains focused on Network Architects end goal: Supporting their clients. “Although we don’t focus our attention on trying to get on lists like this, receiving this accolade is a nice reminder that we are doing the right things for our clients,” McKinley said.

We asked McKinley about managing growth in a small- to medium-sized company and how he keeps office morale on the up and up.

How did you prepare for growth?

As a technology company we practice what we preach and heavily invested in technologies that will allow us to grow. We also invest in training to make sure our engineers are staying ahead of the technology curve.

Looking back, were you as prepared as you thought?

We have a feedback loop we are constantly monitoring so we can make adjustments as quickly as possible. In our technical field, empathy and communication are our most valuable assets. Knowing where people are coming from, finding common ground, and building relationships are hugely important, especially in fields like ours where we focus on understanding customer needs and creating long-term solutions. This helps us stay grounded while still planning for future needs.

How do you ensure the health of company culture during a period of intense growth?

We have daily huddles. It’s a chance for us to identify where we need to focus our resources for the day and everyone is clear on our direction. Everyone is encouraged to participate, from help desk personnel to senior engineers and management. We also have fun with Bacon Tuesdays, chili feeds, and team building events.

Do you do anything specific to maintain morale when employees might be feeling overworked and stressed?

We have projects that often require long hours. We normally meet at a restaurant afterward and relax over a late dinner that the company pays for. Having our office in downtown Bellevue allows us the convenience to take the crew out for meals or coffee and donuts. We’ve been known to play jokes and pranks on each other, too. No one is off limits, especially me. Network Architects is growing and is a great place to work because the people involved are all on the same page. We really like what we do and the clients that rely on us to do it.