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Young Entrepreneurs Series: Mat Nguyen of Worksighted

Dec 30 2010

Article and pictures courtesy of Grand Rapids Press. Read original article.

HOLLAND — After interning at a Fortune 500 company, Mat Nguyen knew he didn’t want a corporate job.

Before the computer science major graduated early from Hope College in December 2000, he and classmate, Michael Harris, launched the technology firm Worksighted Inc.

A decade later, Worksighted has 16 employees, spurred by the acquisition of two firms in the past two years. It has grown an average 10-15 percent each year, said Nguyen, who declined to share annual sales revenues.

“We still think of ourselves as a start-up,” said Nguyen, who is president. Harris is vice president of the private company they co-own.

The company, headquartered on an upper floor in downtown Holland, now has an office in Lansing. Clients include Bank of Holland, Magna, Charter House and Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream Co. Worksighted serves as its clients’ outsourced IT department, providing everything from web design to network infrastructure.
The biggest success has been creating a nontraditional workplace employees don’t want to leave.

“We have a culture of autonomy and self-management,” said Nguyen, noting the company does not have turnover. Employees, for the most part, tailor their own schedules.

Everyone is salaried, and bonuses are earned based on individual, company and team performance.

Nguyen believes people are looking for a job that offers more than a title, a salary and a chance to climb the corporate ladder.

“It’s how do you feel at the end of the day,” Nguyen said. “Did I make an impact? It’s a different mentality.”

When hiring, Nguyen looks for applicants who are well-versed in more than just technology.

“We look for someone with a diverse background and experience,” said Nguyen, who could be describing himself.

The multilingual and multicultural Nguyen is the son of Vietnamese immigrants. He was born and raised in Paris before moving to Holland at 16.

Even as he perfected English, his third language, he graduated near the top of his class at West Ottawa High School in 1997, earning a scholarship to Hope College.

He credits his immigrant experience for teaching him how to connect easily with strangers and be open to different viewpoints.

Active in the community, Nguyen co-founded the Holland Young Professionals in 2003 to make Holland feel more welcoming to a cross-section of Millennials who might crave the setting of a bigger city.

He has since been recruited to share his ideas at the regional level as a member of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance.

“I think every next generation is important because we have to look for that next generation of leadership,” Nguyen said.

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