Well I wanted my company to be mathematics based. So I looked up some common mathematics terms and kept hitting on algorithm and arithmetic, and I took ‘RITHM’ from those two words.
Give me a timeline of the birth of RITHM
In 2009, I moved to Lafayette from Baton Rouge. I couldn’t find a job because I was working in banking and no bank would hire me. So I began working for a local construction company. During this time, I learned how the construction industry worked and noticed ways that some processes were slower than they should be, so I came up with ways to optimize the time to make these processes faster.
I was a B or C student. I wouldn’t go to class because I would rather work. A lot of times I missed an exam or lesson or I wouldn’t go because I had a staff meeting or a project I was working on.
I earned my degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2010. I was working part-time at the construction company while attending school, but I tended to put my job before class assignments most of the time. I was a B or C student. I wouldn’t go to class because I would rather work. A lot of times I missed an exam or lesson or I wouldn’t go because I had a staff meeting or a project I was working on.
I was eventually offered a full-time position with this company as an Accountant and went to classes at night. I started working hard getting in to every single role with the company, and found that I really liked problem solving with a business. I absolutely loved working for them. One day, my boss hired a new accountant and I knew I needed to step up my game.
He sent out an e-mail challenging both of us to graph some important data. I was working late at night so I saw the e-mail first and responded right away and told him I would do it. I was excited about doing something new and creative.
I found a format in an investment portfolio that used these fancy dashboards and I thought ‘this is slick.’ So, I took the data I was given and I built a dashboard in Excel by keying in the information one-by-one. I worked all night long, and sent it out the next day. My boss went nuts, and he sent it out to the entire leadership team and they overwhelmingly accepted it.
Every week I would send out this report. I learned how to make data accessible and live through Excel, so if anyone wanted live updated numbers, they could do so. As I continued leveraging information within this company, I got the CEO’s attention and he offered for me to take some Information Technology courses and eventually promoted me to Director of Information Services. So, I went back to school to take extra classes and learned programming. I began to guide the company towards a more effective IT strategy.
At what point did you decide you wanted to go out on your own?
It was a year after I graduated and I didn’t feel like I was growing. I knew that I had the potential to do more. I hit a ceiling financially and professionally, and I needed more. I broke through that by getting another job where I could work during business hours, didn’t have to work at night anymore, and I had the freedom to work on my business.
I was really excited and motivated and inspired by the freedom that I had. I learned how the construction industry worked and I fell in love with it.
While I was working this new job, I would use my free time and work after hours working on a logo for a company that I wanted to run. After many tries, I came up with the name RITHM and a logo.
I was really excited and motivated and inspired by the freedom that I had. I learned how the construction industry worked and I fell in love with it. I loved it so much that I asked project managers if I could go to job sites. I needed a job that would give me the freedom and the time to build RITHM. Eventually, I got to the point where I got my first business opportunity that allowed me to leave that job and launch RITHM in 2012.
I made a RITHM business proposal with my former employer. They gave me the time and inspiration to keep going. After that, I started calling other construction software consultants, showed them what I built and asked if they knew anyone that would be interested. Shortly after, I partnered with a couple more companies in Dallas and Houston after I showed them examples of what I had created. And there it all began.
Fast forward five years. What is RITHM today?
RITHM is now partnered with numerous contracting companies across the country and we’ve become a proven leader in leveraging information.
I’ve always been passionate about providing good customer service. I think that’s all that is. I want everyone here to treat the customers that way and also internally, each other. Yes, we still make mistakes and we’re still young, but we are continuously improving every day by learning from our mistakes and our successes.
You’re obviously very driven. Where did you get that inspiration in your life? Do you credit anyone to instill that drive in you, or did you break the mold?
My dad was sort of an entrepreneur. He didn’t have a boss and I always recognized that. He was a commercial fisherman and he controlled how much he wanted to make by how much he fished.
I always wanted to work, and when I had a new job I always wanted the next job, and the next job, and the next job. When I was 15 years old, I stocked shelves at a grocery store and I asked my boss for more and more responsibilities. Something happened, I think. Other people around me giving me positive feedback just pushed me to do more.
Now that you run your own company, is instilling positive reinforcement something you like to pass on to your employees?
That’s customer service. I’ve always been passionate about providing good customer service. I think that’s all that is. I want everyone here to treat the customers that way and also internally, each other.
Being able to provide people with jobs and careers. That’s the best thing. I wanted to provide people with the same opportunities that I had and give people an open field to discover what they want and who they are.
Yes, we still make mistakes and we’re still young, but we are continuously improving every day by learning from our mistakes and our successes. It does feel good that when we do something, and a customer says ‘that really helped us out.’
Whenever you’re not here, what’s the kind of stuff you like to do for fun?
I love to travel, see new places, experience new things and eat good food. I love to cook. I love watching television shows and engaging in every single aspect of life outside of work. I do get burned out at work, but I definitely need a break from it just like everybody else.
What’s your favorite thing about starting RITHM?
Being able to provide people with jobs and careers. That’s the best thing. I’ve always wanted to do that. It’s still kind of cheesy, but I used to put on my resume’ when I was 18 years old that my objective was to make a positive influence in the lives of others through my work. I wanted to provide people with the same opportunities that I had and give people an open field to discover what they want and who they are.
I still want to make money for myself, of course. I want to win and I want everyone else to win at the same time.
You’re probably bad at boardgames.