Transforming system networks and peoples lives in the process.
The grandson of a brick mason and the oldest of 13 children, Corey Bell has been building things his whole life. He began helping his granddad stack bricks at the age of 8. But on a hot day under the North Carolina sun, a 15-year-old Bell informed his Grandfather that this life was "for the birds."
Graduating from Clemson, Bell went on to law school, and later, to business school. At the age of 29, after loosing both his parents, he took the responsibility of raising his 9 younger siblings while working for a variety of companies (Nabisco, Chrysler, Dell Computers). One day he came home from work and scribbled down his 15-year plan. It included the usual stuff - a chance to give back something to the community, a nice home, a private jet - stuff he knew he'd never see if he stayed on the same trajectory. That night, he and his wife had a talk.
TriFusion was the result.
Bell explains TriFusion with this analogy: "Let's say you're buying a car. You go to the Chrysler lot and pick out your car. But you want to add custom rims, window tinting; you know, you want it all tricked out. That's what we do in the IT world. We pimp-out your ride."
But TriFusion does much more than customize IT systems. It transforms lives. Bell says he walks into the office every morning and looks around at all the lives his entrepreneurial start-up has impacted. "Seeing all the people whose lives are changed, wow. I've seen babies born, houses built, cars bought. I've seen people take vacations, trips. Marriages. It's just been a phenomenal thing to see: lives touched from some idea hatched around the dinner table."
And the people Bell has added to his company are busy touching lives, as well. Recently, TriFusion employees got together and rented an RV full of provisions to help out families affected by Hurricane Ike. "One of our core values is do the right thing," Bell explains.
There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but Bell takes them in his stride. "All of them are just building blocks." This grandson of a brick layer knows that even the hardest bricks are for building, not breaking. And that's exactly what he does.
Today, five years after its inception, TriFusion is looking at three fully-staffed U.S. offices, a global expansion and a $12-13 million per year income.
When asked what advice he has for young entrepreneurs, Bell is succinct. "That's easy. Entrepreneurship is about eliminating the word 'can't' from your vocabulary."
It is clear that Corey Bell has never let that slow him down.
Corey Bell is the Chairman and co-founder of TriFusion, a company that develops tailor-made hardware IT services for a variety of FORTUNE 500 companies and governmental agencies.